Comparative Study of Elementary and Secondary Teacher Perceptions of Mobile Technology in Classrooms

Comparative Study of Elementary and Secondary Teacher Perceptions of Mobile Technology in Classrooms

David De Jong (University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, USA), Trent Grundmeyer (Drake University, Des Moines, IA, USA) and Chad Anderson (Tracy Area Public Schools, Tracy, MN, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJMBL.2018010102
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More and more schools are implementing a 1:1 mobile device initiative for their students because the future of learning will have technology embedded within the curriculum. Teachers are often given the direction to utilize mobile devices in the classroom, but quite often educators do not understand the significance of this technology or agree with its purpose. The purpose of this study was to explore elementary and secondary teacher perceptions of mobile technology in the classroom. According to the survey results, elementary and secondary teachers feel positive about the uses and the importance of mobile technology in the classroom. These positive perceptions by teachers regardless of gender, age, and training indicate that schools should continue to allocate resources to purchase mobile devices for all students.
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Mobile technology in the K-12 classroom is rapidly moving from an idea to a reality. Student access to mobile devices is increasing at an exponential rate and educators’ attitudes towards bringing mobile devices into the classroom are changing along with technology (Adhikari, Mathrani, & Parsons, 2015; Gaved, Collins, Mulholland, Kerawalla, Jones, Scanlon, & Twiner, 2010). There has been an increase in the number of mobile devices available and many believe these mobile devices have the potential to make a large impact on education (Chen & Huang, 2010; Gaved et al., 2010; Liu, 2007). This technology has significant educational benefits for students and can broaden the learning opportunities in a society where information is available anytime, anywhere (Chen & Huang, 2010; Liu, 2007; Looi, Seow, Zhang, So, Chen, & Wong, 2010). Mobile learning is allowing opportunities to “create, own, transform, discuss, discard, share, store and broadcast ideas, opinions, images and information, and to create and transform identities and communities” (Traxler, 2016).

The literature has shown that perhaps the most significant academic gains from 1:1 device initiatives are related to students’ writing skills (Bebell & Kay 2010; Silvernail & Gritter, 2007). Additional studies have measured student growth in other content areas like math and reading. The results from these studies provide evidence that learning increases in these subject areas for students with access to a 1:1 initiative (Lei & Zhao 2008; Shapley, Sheeha, Sturges, Caranikas-Walker, Huntsberger, & Maloney, 2006).

The benefits of the 1:1 initiative is not solely academic. Multiple studies have also reported that student engagement increases when students are engaged with technology (Bebell, 2005; Lemke & Martin, 2004a; Lemke & Martin, 2004b; Mouza, 2008; Russell, Bebell, & Higgins, 2004; Shapley et al. 2006; Warschauer & Grimes, 2005; Zucker & McGhee, 2005). A 2010 study by Bebell and Kay confirmed that five middle schools in Massachusetts reported higher levels of engagement due to technology engagement. Teachers reported that students were motivated overall to get tasks done when using a laptop in that study.

There are also benefits for teachers with a 1:1 initiative: Dawson, Cavanaugh, and Ritzhaupt (2008) reported that Florida teachers utilizing a 1:1 laptop program had an increase in the use of project-based learning and collaborative learning. Despite varying degrees of training and implementation, teachers’ perceptions and practices change when students are provided with 1:1 technologies.

It should be no surprise that as technology advances and the costs decrease for most devices more and more students have access to smartphones and other devices. A survey was conducted by Speak Up research project in 2010. They surveyed over 350,000 K-12 students, parents, and administrators from 5,757 schools and 1,215 districts, and found that high school students’ access to smartphones had more than tripled since 2006. The number has only gone up since then. Many school administrators also believe that mobile devices can increase student learning and engagement (Eisele-Dyrli, 2011). Uzunboylu and Ozdamli (2011) cited Lau and Woods (2009) and Madeira, Sousa, Pires, Esteves, and Dias (2009) by saying that mobile technology has opened doors for new educational opportunities and is changing the way teachers use this technology in their classrooms to teach children.

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