Blended High School Expands 3G Smartphone x Digital Textbook Project

Qualcomm Incorporated, through Qualcomm Wireless Reach™, and Renaissance High School have announced the expansion of their 3G Smartphone x Digital Textbook collaboration with the inclusion of tablets to all students enrolled in the program. The collaborators also announced that they will be integrating mobile educational content developed by Renaissance Academy that uses National Geographic educational materials.

Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Renaissance High School initially launched the project in 2011 with the introduction of smartphones into their learning curriculum. With a new grant from Wireless Reach, nearly 200 Renaissance Academy students will receive a tablet with built-in 3G/LTE mobile connectivity. This expansion provides students the same access to always-on, anytime and anywhere learning via tablets as it did for those in Phase I with smartphones—with additional benefits including increased functionality, sophisticated graphics and a larger screen allowing students to read large amounts of text easily.

In addition, students are now able to use the tablets to access National Geographic content that is designed to enhance their English language learning experiences. The application features an electronic dictionary and also has a feature to allow students to highlight specific phrases or insert their own notes.

In its first phase, the 3G Smartphone x Digital Textbook Project was launched as part of Renaissance High School’s first offering of a smartphone-based coursework for credit. This mobile learning initiative used smartphones, 3G wireless connectivity and educational content to help high school dropouts, habitual absentees and students seeking vocational training attain their high school diplomas while, in many cases, holding jobs. The Qualcomm Wireless Reach-funded project provided 500 students with Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ smartphones, an Android-based English language learning application developed by the high school and 3G wireless connectivity. The mobile technology enabled students, many of who work during the day, to complete online coursework, study, take tests, collaborate with each other, access their teachers when it was most convenient for them.

Students surveyed as part of this project reported the increasing importance of integrating mobile devices into learning as it allows students to learn at their own pace. Survey results show:

  • The number of students using multiple devices for learning is high. Those who own and use a smartphone, tablet and PC account for 48.7 percent—almost half—of the total.
  • 52.7 percent of students answered that they always use either a smartphone or a tablet for learning. The ability to immediately power on and use mobile devices, as well as the convenience of being able to learn anywhere at any time have both been cited as advantages.
  • When comparing a PC to a smartphone or tablet, most students (53.1 percent) answered that the use of a smartphone or tablet would help improve their academic achievement.

Renaissance High School was founded in 2006 in Daigo-cho, Ibaraki, and established a new school in 2011 in Toyota-shi, Aichi, both in a government-approved Special Zone for Education, and provides classroom and online lessons to students via PCs and mobile devices.