Mobile Technology as a Learning Tool: Use and Effects

Mobile Technology as a Learning Tool: Use and Effects

Fawzi Ishtaiwa (Al Ain University of Science and Technology, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicte.2014100101
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Abstract

This study investigated students' actual use of mobile technology (MT) as a learning tool and identified their perceptions towards the effects of using MT on the learning process. It also examined the impact of students' academic major on their use and perceived effects of MT. The relationship between MT use and its effect on learning was explored as well. To this end, a quantitative study of professional diploma students' perceptions of MT was carried out. The results revealed that students use MT in a variety of ways, and they perceive it as primary valuable tools to supplement their learning. However, the nature of MT use is unpretentious in scope. The results also indicated that students' academic major significantly impacted their use and perceived effects of MT. In addition, significant correlation was found between the use and effects of MT.
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Literature Review

The near ubiquitous access of MT has attracted the attention of educators to seek ways to become more efficient and effective in their efforts to prepare their students for the demands and challenges of a globally competitive society through utilizing MT as educational tools (Clough, Jones, McAndrew & Scanlon, 2008; Sachs & Bull, 2012). Mobile technologies enable learners to learn anytime, anywhere, transforming e-learning into mobile learning (m-learning) that has emerged as an innovative learning approach which takes advantage of the unique features of mobile devices to improve teaching and learning and create and sustain communities of learners (Garrison, 2011).

MTs are spontaneous, informal, contextual, portable, ubiquitous, pervasive, and personal. These features of MTs have the power to support learning that is more situated, experiential, and contextualized within specific domains (Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Kukulska-Hulme, 2009). If appropriately employed, MTs can benefit students by providing instant instructional materials and interaction (Corbeil & Valdes-Corbeil, 2007). Even on school campuses, the traditional classroom can be transformed into a digital laboratory with available and cost effective mobile devices (Chen et al., 2012). Klopfer et al., (2002) describe several features of MT that produce unique educational benefits, namely; portability – can carry or move the device with ease; social interactivity – can use the device to collaborate and exchange information with others; context sensitivity– can use it to collect and gather real or simulated data that is appropriate to a specific location, environment, and time; connectivity – can use it to connect to data collection devices, other devices, and to a network; and individuality –can provide scaffolding for learners that is customized to the individual’s need.

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