Mobile Devices and Apps, Characteristics and Current Potential on Learning

Mobile Devices and Apps, Characteristics and Current Potential on Learning

Laura Briz-Ponce (University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain) and Juan Antonio Juanes-Méndez (University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/JITR.2015100102
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Mobile devices and apps are placed in a prominent position in the daily routine of all people. The ubiquity and mobility are their main advantages. They are really becoming tools available for students and professionals in order to be totally connected anywhere and for consulting and accessing information of any field. In fact, the use of these devices has sparked a positive impact on medical sector as they allow implementing and including new technologies to make students more prepared for their future work. The goal of this paper is to describe the main characteristics and the use of mobile technologies in this field. The mobile technology's scope covers tablets and Smartphones. To achieve this goal, a survey was conducted in the University of Salamanca and the participants were undergraduate students of Medical Schools and medical professionals. Results reveal that the usage of mobile devices and apps are spread out among them. However, it is still necessary an in-depth analysis of the potential and the use of specialized apps for medical education.
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Currently, there are 50,76 million of mobile lines in Spain (CMT, 2014). Step by step, people have got used to these devices, which have provided new ways of communication, interacting each other, getting information or even learning.

The number of these lines has been increasing dramatically since the last decade. Not only that, this trend has sparked the appearance of mobile devices more sophisticated as Smartphone and tablets where it is possible to run mobile applications or apps on them. In fact, according to the study conducted by Fundación Telefónica (Fundación Telefónica, 2015), there is roughly 4 million of downloads of apps daily in Spain. Smartphones have, on average, 29 apps installed on it per user, whereas tablets have around 33 apps.

Thus, these figures reveal their popularity and success. These apps can be found in the marketplace, available since different mobile devices. In fact, according a report (Statista, 2014), there are currently more than a million of apps in Google Play and more than one million in App Store.

On the other hand, there is a study conducted by Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) (Eden Dahlstrom, 2012) that has published an article about the use of mobile technology in higher education. One of the results claim that around 67% of surveyed students reported that mobile devices are very important in their academic success and their activities in the University. In fact, one of the upward trends of the last years is precisely the application of new technologies within the educational context and specifically of mobile devices and its educational use, which is known as mobile learning (Prieto, Migueláñez & García-Peñalvo, 2014a; Prieto, Migueláñez, & García-Peñalvo, 2014b). Therefore, higher education and consequently and specifically, medical education, are highly impacted by this trend.

There are many reports related with the use of mobile devices (Nielsen, 2014; MillwardBrown, 2014; Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2014, Mobile Marketing Association, 2013; Salesforce Marketing Cloud, 2014) in general and the use of students in particular (Eden Dahlstrom, 2012). One of the reports (Fundación Telefónica, 2014) affirmed that around 90% of medical professionals has accessed Internet during 2013 and 51% of them has used Smartphones to access medical information. However, the studies centred on the use of mobile devices are oriented for a commercial use, specially designed for market analysis to analyse the behaviour of users and identify their demands from a marketing or commercial point of view (Nielsen, 2014; MillwardBrown, 2014; Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2014, Mobile Marketing Association, 2013; Salesforce Marketing Cloud, 2014)

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