Children are learning by doing rather than listening thanks to the influence of smartphones and tablets, according to Pearson head of mobile and gaming Alina Vandenberghe.

Speaking at the Guardian Mobile Business Summit 2012 conference in London this morning, Vandenberghe explained that in the US more than 50% of young children have access to a touchscreen smartphone or tablet and this is having a significant effect on the way they learn.

“The most interesting thing that happened in 2012 is the way content is used is changing, and this happens especially with the textbooks that are leading the way,” she said (via The Guardian). “In some private schools, the teachers say ‘no longer with this book-filled backpacks, we’re going to make the iPad mandatory.’”

As a result, she said the education timetable had changed from the standard 9 to 4 school day to “the ubiquity of education”, with students effectively surrounded by education all day.