The Laptop, the Tablet, and the Smartphone Attend Lectures

The Laptop, the Tablet, and the Smartphone Attend Lectures

Hagit Meishar Tal (The Open University, Israel & The Center for Academic Studies, Israel) and Gila Kurtz (The Center for Academic Studies, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6343-5.ch011
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Abstract

A large number of students bring laptops and other mobile instruments to their lectures. This chapter presents findings of a study that investigated the habits of mobile technology use in class among students. The study probes relations among four elements: (a) mobile technologies available to students in class; (b) students' use of these mobile technologies in class; (c) students' perceptions of these uses (i.e., how they estimate the contribution or damage of the use of these devices during the lecture); and (d) how intensively lecturers engage students via the mobile devices in the students' possession. The findings indicate that the use of mobile computers promotes learning-supportive activities while the use of smartphones encourages distractive activities. The lecturers might not be fully aware of the new phenomenon and, accordingly, do little for their students.
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Bring Your Own Device To The Lecture Hall

The mobile devices that students bring to campus are, in most cases, intended to be surrogates for traditional pens and notebooks (Gehlen-Baum and Weinberger, 2012). They give students an advantage by enhancing the temporal and spatial flexibility of learning processes. By providing access to the university's computers, course sites, and other academic information systems, they allow students to connect with learning resources both on and off campus, assuring the continuity of the working and learning process. Instead of having to switch from one computer to another, students can manage and store their information on their personal devices. They can also organize information by themselves, streamlining the personal information management process that accompanies learning.

The availability of mobile devices also maximizes students’ access to information that may be supportive of teaching in class. The fact that students can access online resources continually makes it possible to enrich the range of illustrative and experiential learning aids in class, diversify sources of information, generate activity by referring students to authentic and relevant information during class, and create an interesting and involvement-intensive learning experience (Campbell and Pargas, 2003). The integration of mobile technologies into classroom learning has a salutary effect on learning motivation (Rau et al., 2008) as well as on active learning (Barak et al., 2006).

It is common knowledge, however, that students put their mobile equipment to uses that are not always consistent with the topic of the lesson (Gehlen-Baum and Weinberger, 2012). The presence of these devices in class subjects students to powerful temptations. Students can, at any moment, visit sites that have nothing to do with the lesson in progress, check and send email messages, chat on social networks, check the news, play games, and run other “apps” that distract them from classroom activity by luring them to the profusion of possibilities that the computer and Internet offer.

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