Implications of Mobile Devices in a Bachelor of Education Program

Implications of Mobile Devices in a Bachelor of Education Program

Norman Vaughan (Mount Royal University, Canada) and Kimberley Lawrence (University of Calgary, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8246-7.ch021
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The purpose of this chapter is to describe a study that investigated if and how mobile devices could be used to support the required program outcomes in a blended Bachelor or Education (B.Ed.) program. All students enrolled in an educational technology course during the Fall 2011 semester were provided with a ViewSonic Tablet. Through faculty interviews, student online surveys, and a post-course focus group, the study participants indicated that mobile devices could be useful for supporting future professional responsibilities (e.g., career-long learning, collaboration) and facilitating student learning but less effective for planning, assessment, and managing the classroom environment.
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The idea of blending different learning experiences has been in existence ever since humans started thinking about teaching (Williams, 2003). What has recently brought this term into the limelight is the infusion of web-based technologies into the learning and teaching process (Allen & Seaman, 2010; Clark, 2003). These technologies have created new opportunities for students to interact with their peers, teachers, and content.

Blended learning is often defined as the combination of face-to-face and online learning (Sharpe et al., 2006; Williams, 2002). Ron Bleed, the former Vice Chancellor of Information Technologies at Maricopa College, argues that this is not a sufficient definition for blended learning as it simply implies “bolting” technology onto a traditional course, using technology as an add-on to teach a difficult concept or adding supplemental information. He suggests that instead, blended learning should be viewed as an opportunity to redesign the way that courses are developed, scheduled, and delivered through a combination of physical and virtual instruction, “bricks and clicks” (Bleed, 2001). The goal of this redesigned approach to education should be to join the best features of in-class teaching with the best features of online learning to promote active, self-directed learning opportunities for students with added flexibility (Garnham & Kaleta, 2002; Littlejohn & Pegler, 2007; Norberg, Dziuban, Moskol, 2011). This sentiment is echoed by Garrison and Vaughan (2008) who state that “blended learning is the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face-to-face and online approaches and technologies” (p.148).

Most of the recent definitions for blended courses indicate that this approach to learning offers potential for improving the manner in which we deal with content, social interaction, reflection, higher order thinking and problem solving, collaborative learning, and more authentic assessment in higher education (Graham, 2006; Mayadas & Picciano, 2007; Norberg, Dziuban, Moskal, 2011). Dziuban and Moskal (2013) further suggest that “blended learning has become an evolving, responsive, and dynamic process that in many respects is organic, defying all attempts at universal definition” (p.16). For the purpose of this research study, blended learning is defined as the intentional integration of classroom and field-based learning experiences through the use of digital technologies such as mobile devices (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Bachelor of education approach to blended learning


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