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Know Your Audience

As when you roll out any new school- or district-wide initiative, It is extremely important to know the audience for your mobile learning initiative. How will your teachers react to another technology initiative? How familiar are they with implementing technology in their classrooms? Do they own a smart phone? How do they use it? What professional development will they need to feel ready to take advantage of the potential of mobile devices? What kinds of technology are your students using? What are students using across the country, and what are they doing with it, and what would they like from you? Here are a few resources to help you find the answers, and we're including links to a couple of survey questions you can ask to get to know your own audience as you plan for mobile learning in your school or district.

National Statistics

ECAR recommends investigating your students' technology needs and preferences and then creating an action plan to better integrate technology into courses and information systems.

Pew Internet and American Life Project:

Getting to Know Your Own Audience

Knowing Your Audience

The two paragraphs pulled from this resource provided a quick overview. 

"To know your audience you need information on them, either qualitative or quantitative.
  • Qualitative research is an open-ended method of acquiring information about the consumers' product requirements (what they want) or product perceptions (what they think about what you've got). While the variations are limitless, this type of research typically takes the form of focus groups, user testing, or e-mail feedback. While qualitative data is very accessible and often leads to never-before-considered results, it falls short in the realm of reliability and tends to be biased. Therefore, it becomes essential to interpret results while keeping in mind the context in which they were gathered.
  • Quantitative research is usually conducted via surveys or behavioural tracking (e.g., log file analysis). It's based on the principle that the characteristics of a randomly selected group of people will closely reflect the characteristics of the entire group from which the sample was taken. So, when site developers need to know, with relative certainty, the answers to specific questions, they should turn to quantitative methods of research."

Defining Audience & Goals

This article states that "an integral part of defining your goals and objectives is determining your target audience(s). You can't define one without the other. In fact, you must have a well-defined target audience in order to know what content to develop and how best to get it to those you want to reach." It then goes on to describe some questions to ask before proceeding.

Web Sites for Advocacy and Community Organizing: Basics, Essentials, and Best Practices

Many of the questions and examples this presentation covers are the same that mobile learning implementation designers should consider. What are the users' goals? What are your goals for your users? etc.

Tools to Gain Information

ECAR National Study of Under graduate Students and Information Technology, 2011, Survey Questionnaire

Consider modifying questions from this survey to reach your students

[Add a teacher survey here]

Reaching Out to Your Audience

Parent Tech Toolbox (Forsyth County Schools, Georgia)

Understanding that parent support and engagement are integral to the success of an instructional technology initiative, Forsyth County Schools prepared this website describing 15 different technologies used in the education of their students.