Mobile accessible education – A YouTube – Padlet combination (not AI-related)

The landscape of education has shifted significantly towards mobile learning (EDUCAUSE.2024), with an ever-increasing reliance on mobile devices for on-the-go education. This trend isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s a reflection of how deeply integrated smartphones and tablets have become in our daily lives. Studies have shown a marked increase in mobile device usage for educational purposes, indicating a shift towards more flexible learning environments that accommodate the busy schedules of students today.

Do students, at least at times, struggle to access the overall learning platform or LMS (learning management platform) from their mobile phones? In my experience, yes! Are subscriptions to highly valuable tools expensive and often out of reach for educational settings or individual educators, yes! (The financial cost and lack of access for some settings to innovative tools were raised at BETT 2024 recently).

Mobile responsiveness

Despite this shift in learning, not all educational tools have kept pace with the need for mobile responsiveness (Mobile responsiveness refers to the ability of a website or application to adjust seamlessly to the screen size and orientation of a device, providing an optimal viewing experience regardless of whether a user is on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop). There are varied reasons for this – one of the biggest ones is likely the cost and resources needed to align required criteria such as tracking, and data protection alongside the wide range of capabilities required to meet the needs of educational settings, educators and students. This lack of mobile responsiveness in some educational tools poses a challenge!

What do we know students use?

The success of podcasts in the educational sector highlights the appetite for accessible, on-demand learning resources (Ibrahim, 2022). Podcasts have gained popularity for their ease of use and the ability to engage listeners through compelling content, offering a testament to the effectiveness of mobile-friendly educational content. However, not everyone can learn by audio alone (Mayer’s 12 principles of multi-media in use).

Suggestion: A YouTube – Padlet – LMS combination 

A free, quick and simple solution to trial:

What educational tool is on almost every device worldwide? YouTube! How do we utilise this widespread easily accessible video platform to create on-the-go access to valuable learning content without taking the learner completely away from the structured course, their peers, discussions, critical thinking and required assessment? 

Well here is a simple idea! Utilise readily available platforms like YouTube and Padlet that are easily accessible on a mobile device. Create a YouTube channel with playlists (not a new idea, just bringing it back to the surface!). Creating a YouTube channel allows educators to upload their video content and curate relevant supporting material from across YouTube into playlists. These playlists can serve as comprehensive learning modules on specific topics. Educators can utilise the description section of each playlist to provide additional context, links to the collaborative Padlets, or documents/readings.

This approach leverages YouTube’s inherent mobile responsiveness and vast user base but also brings the content directly to learners, and links between the YouTube playlist and Padlet facilitate engagement and interaction that can, most importantly, be accessed easily on a mobile phone. By incorporating the Padlet, students can share their views and opinions, enhancing the learning experience with peer insights and discussions. 

Overall, this simple combination of YouTube’s video content and Padlet’s interactive boards creates a dynamic and accessible learning environment for the mobile learner. Links can then be made back to the LMS or to assessment requirements for when the student returns to full access on a laptop. 

The set-up

For those who are unfamiliar with YouTube playlists and Padlet, here is how the combination of these two tools can be set up:

  1. Create a YouTube channel.
  2. Find external complementary YouTube videos for your topic. 
  3. Add personalised learning videos to introduce the external videos (even really short introduction videos by the educator can personalise the learning, increase motivation and engagement, and build confidence in the learning journey).
  4. Create a playlist to group your personalised videos and external videos. Click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the videos you want to add, then click ‘Create new playlist’. Add a title and set privacy as ‘Unlisted’.

5.Create a Padlet with a column for each section or topic.

6.Use the description section in the YouTube playlist to create a pathway between the Padlet (discussion board) and the YouTube playlist. 

The benefits

The benefits of this are that students, particularly adult learners, can easily save these links on their phones, and can simply click play while they are out and about – in a waiting room or on a bus (no arduous restricted log-in to navigate on their phone, which generally required with an LMS). Ideally, the content challenges students’ thinking, so students are keen to participate in discussions, ask questions, and share other resources then and there. Which is where the Padlet board comes in. Padlet not only collates the lesson playlists but offers a space for collaboration that is less inhibiting than YouTube comments and collates comments all in one place. Can’t afford the new mobile responsive tech solutions? Let’s utilise what is available to bring the learning to our students on the go!

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