Mobile learning perspectives from the United States: Three superintendents share their experience and insights

Mr Shawn Gross, Mr Terry Grier, Mr Tim Baird and Ms Lesley Eason

University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Centre, Onslow County Public Schools, Houston Independent School District, Encinitas Unified School District

(80 minute session)


The University of San Diego's Mobile Technology Learning Centre is honoured to host and sponsor a session that includes its researchers and three of the top district leaders in the field of mobile learning from the United States. Together these leaders and their districts represent a multi-dimensional cross-section of mobile learning in the United States. Their perspectives include three different regions of the US, three different size school districts and three different points along the mobile technology integration continuum. Their perspectives as mobile technology innovators will resonate with policy makers, implementers and practitioners. 

Participants will be able to engage these leaders as they provide an overview of their mobile learning programs covering the following themes:

  • Garnering student, parent and administrator support.
  • Student and teacher training.
  • Device selection versus Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
  •  IT infrastructure and processes for managing bandwidth. Selecting instructional content.
  • Management and monitoring.
  •  Developing an acceptable use policy. 


Participants include:

Ms Lesley Eason, Assistant Superintendent, Onslow County Public Schools (OCPS), Jacksonville, North Carolina.

  • Demographics: 37 schools covering PK-12; 23,365 students: 50% economically disadvantaged.
  • Technology Integration: In 2007, OCPS was the first district in the United States to undertake a mobile learning initiative. Students in this math intervention received smartphones with unlimited data access.
  • The initiative is in its 5th year of implementation.
  • Noteworthy: 2013 recipient of The Wireless Foundation’s VITA Achievement Award. OCPS is the first education organization recognized by The Wireless Foundation for innovation in mobile technology innovation. OCPS is a district member of Digital Promise.
  • NOTE: Digital Promise supports comprehensive research and development to benefit lifelong learners and provide Americans with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global economy. Member districts are peer-nominated and accepted into the League of Innovative Schools.






Mr Terry Grier, superintendent, Houston Independent School District (HISD), Houston, Texas.

  •  Demographics: 7th largest district in the US; 210,047 PK-12 students: 80% economically disadvantaged; 92% non-white.
  • Technology Integration: In Fall 2013 HISD is planning 1:1 technology integration project
  • scheduled to begin in spring 2014. When complete the program will provide devices to all 46,000 HISD high school students.
  • Noteworthy: Winner of 2013 Broad Prize as the top urban school district in the US. HISD is a member of Digital Promise (See Note above).




Mr Tim Baird, Superintendent, Encinitas Unified School District, Encinitas, California.

  • Demographics: 5500 K-6 students: 13% economically disadvantaged; 30% non-white.
  • Technology Integration: In Fall 2013 EUSD is in the third year of its 1:1 iPad initiative.
  •  In years one and two EUSD issued devices to Grades 3-6, year three will include all other students.
  • EUSD has adopted digital curriculum in three of four core subjects.
  •  Noteworthy: All EUSD schools have earned the California Distinguished School Award and four schools are National Blue Ribbon Schools.
  • These policy leaders will be joined on the panel by researchers from the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Centre (MTLC) who will add their knowledge of emergent trends in mobile technology.







 This proposal was produced by the Mobile Technology Learning Centre (MTLC), a research entity operating under the auspices of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego. MTLC is designed to establish the university research environment of the future, while concurrently fuelling innovation in K-12 education. Research projects focus on the applications of mobile learning devices to learning and test new solutions in real-world contexts—schools. The MTLC involves collaborations with local PK-12 districts to test research findings and provide future teachers with unique teaching and research opportunities. Additional information about MTLC is available at


Mr Terry Grier is Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Mr Tim Baird is Superintendent of Encinitas Union School District (EUSD).

Ms Lesley Eason is Associate Superintendent for Instructional Services and Continuous Improvement of Onslow County Schools.

Scott Himelstein is Director of the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Centre.

Shawn Gross is Director of Technology and Innovation in the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Centre.

Mr Michael Corke is a Senior Research Associate in the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Centre.


Twitter: @USDMTL


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