Posted by: MandyS | June 27, 2013

Students and mobile devices

Block 3, Week 19, Activity 2: Mature students using mobile devices in life and learning Kukulska-Hulme et al. (2011)

Mobile phones are not generally associated with learning but this paper suggests that widely held view that mobile devices ‘are of little use for academic study’ is perhaps yet another misconception about the role of technology in education. There is little point reiterating the findings but I think the paper raises two key points:

1. Students do not always realise the potential of new tools. If students shy away from using technology to enhance their learning it might be that they simply don’t perceive the benefit. Although the world of education may have moved to student-centred learning, the students themselves need to be aware of this. If they are, then they may find more novel ways to use the technology.

2. The importance of student experience in ‘informing practice’. This links back to the former point. If teachers are aware of the issues, they can seek to find solutions.

According to the findings in this paper, how if at all do the mobile practices actually contribute to the students’ learning?

Students use mobile devices in learning a lot more than they are perhaps given credit for. Simple things like just sending messages to one another about the materials or sharing materials all add to the learning process as does accessing the internet for news, weather reports etc. I find it interesting that the students view it as a secure way of maintaining notes; I do wonder sometimes if I am going to switch on my device and find I cannot access anything – as happened last week with my PC.

Where would you place your own use of mobile devices in comparison with those of the students in the paper above? I don’t mean, ‘Do you do more than them, or less?’ After all, they varied considerably, both within countries and between countries. But what are the similarities and differences?

I am permanently attached to my smartphone for work, study and leisure and I would say that my use is very similar. On the way to work I view the news, catch up with the forum post, check the weather, view my emails, respond where necessary, read some of the materials for the module and this last week, as I have had no PC, I have written my TMA on my phone. If I get bored with that I turn to Candy Crush and listen to my daughter singing…


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