The Use of Mobile Phones in K-12 Education

The Use of Mobile Phones in K-12 Education

Peña L. Bedesem (Kent State University, USA) and Amanda Harmon (Kent State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch048


Today there is widespread ownership of mobile technology, including mobile phones among school-aged youth. To wit, researchers report that nearly 70 percent of 8- to 18-year-olds own a mobile phone. In parallel with increased accessibility and usage, researchers in various fields of education have begun to explore how mobile phones can impact teaching and learning. In this article, the authors discuss the work of pioneering scholars in the area of emerging technology in K-12 education. Next, the authors describe the current scientific knowledge on the ways in which mobile phones are used for students in K-12 classroom settings. The authors then review important research that highlights the added effects of mobile phones to support students with disabilities. Recommendations for future lines of investigation and further reading are provided.
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Pioneering Scholars

Marc Prensky, Mark van ‘t Hooft, and Liz Kolb were among the first educational researchers to advocate for the use of technology to meet the needs of the new learner in K-12 classrooms. While these researchers focus on different aspects of technology integration, collectively they account for important conceptual and empirical contributions that led to the acceptance of mobile phones as instructional tools.

Marc Prensky is credited for coining the terms digital natives and digital immigrants. According to Prensky (2001), digital natives are of the generation born after 1980, whereas digital immigrants are of the generation born before 1980. Digital immigrants have to learn to adapt their environment and work at integrating technology into their daily lives. On the other hand, Digital natives are characterized as immersed in technology such as computers, videogames, digital music players, and mobile phones, and can seamlessly integrate technology into every aspect of their lives. Prensky posits that as a result of being exposed to a technologically rich environment and the sheer volume of students’ interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally different from digital immigrants. Thus, to stay engaged during learning activities digital natives have come to expect the same level of technology integration in the classroom as in their personal (Martin, & Ertzberger, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Technology: Any portable electronic device that accepts, processes, and stores data at high speeds (e.g., smart phone, tablet computer).

Assistive Technology: Any type of equipment that can be used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of student with disabilities.

Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities are students who have been identified, assessed, and determined to be eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Mobile Phones: A telephone that uses cellular towers so that it can be used anywhere.

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