Mobile Devices in Education: A Literature Review Charlotte King ITEC 8133 Fall 2012
IntroductionMobile devices are ever-present in today’s society and schools are joining the trend. Devices such as iPods, iPads, MP3 players, mobile phones, and e-readers are being used across the world for educational purposes. The literature and research, while forthcoming as this is a fairly new topic, offers a variety of studies as well as recommendations for implementing mobile devices into the classroom. The literature reviewed will provide awareness into how and why mobile devices are being used in education and how they are enhancing learning.
Mobile Devices: IntroductionM-learning is the delivery of learning through mobile devices (Peters, 2007) – Also includes e-learningMobile devices allow learners to learn any time, anywhere (Caudill, 2007)Learners can easily carry and access reference tools in the real world withmobile devices (Koole, McQuilkin & Ally, 2010 )Students are already using these devices in their daily lives; applying themin the classroom can make learning more motivating – Students in Hooft, Kratcoski, Swan, and Unger’s (2005) study reported enjoying using the devices for educational purposes, especially because they could take the devices with them and access the information anywhere“Digital Natives” – Students presently in school – Have grown up in a world of technology – Are accustomed to communicating with others at any time and any place – Learners who, when faced with a question or obstacle in their everyday lives, find the answer immediately (through mobile technology); educators must utilize technology to apply this “demand to know” characteristic of digital natives in the classroom (McCaffrey, 2011)Mobile devices are allowing and encouraging students to learn outside theclassroom setting – “Ubiquitous computing”: mobile devices being used all the time and on a regular basis (Purcell, 2005)The use of these mobile devices begins with the teachers
Mobile Devices:How are schools using them? English Language Learners (ELL) – Language acquisition – Listen to podcasts, lessons, etc. with limitless replay; learn new vocabulary through listening, reading, and viewing pictures (Lacina, 2008) – Translation and dictionary applications; self-recorded reading for teacher feedback and self-monitoring (Demski, 2011) – Students receive text messages on mobile phones with English learning materials for use outside the classroom (Thornton & Houser, 2005) Special Needs Students – AT (Assistive Technology) Special needs students are more willing to use AT in the classroom because mobile devices are commonplace, for all students, not just those with special needs – Alleviate distractions by being able to hold the device and use headphones to block out environmental noise (Blaisdell, 2006) – Writing tools: easier for students to type than write if they have motor skill issues; students are also more willing to do the writing because it is physically easier (Vahey & Crawford, 2002)
Mobile Devices: How are schools using them?Curriculum Learning and Cognition – Dialoguing with teachers and peers, monitoring comprehension, self-assessing, and accessing information all the time, including outside the classroom and applying this knowledge in their everyday lives (Koole, et al., 2010) – Note-taking, test review, calculations—all which assist with organization skills (Hooft, et al., 2005) – Apply up-to-date information from numerous sources to learning and share that information in a variety of formats (McCaffrey, 2011) – Problem-based learning Playing simulation games with real-life scenarios in which students are required to conduct outside research to solve problems (Peters, 2007). – Staff utilization with iPads and iPods: monitor and assess students without direct observation (Koole, et al., 2010) and stay organized (Purcell, 2005) – Content sharing with iPads and iPods: students are able to use podcasts and other methods to share their knowledge and information with the entire world (Caudill, 2007; Lacina, 2008; Saine, 2012) – E-readers supply level-appropriate texts for students and include additional features such as dictionary, highlighting, and note-taking abilities – Mobile phones used for messaging (Rekkedal & Dye, 2007; Jones, Edwards, & Reid, 2009) Faster than e-mail—students were more apt to use messaging because of the fast response time – Mobile phones are used for online discussions, chatting, file transfer, and library access and usage (Kadirire, 2007; Rekkedal & Dye, 2007; Caudill, 2007)
Mobile Devices: How are schools using them?Motivation– Students are more motivated because they feel using the mobile devices (as opposed to pen and paper writing assignments) is “easier and more fun” (Hooft, et al., 2005)– Used as a reward (Price, 2011)– Students already know how to use the mobile phones; using them for educational purposes allows them to use the device in a new way (Vahey & Crawford, 2002)
Mobile Devices: Benefits Instructional – Students Organized; willing to collaborate and self-assess; more writing; engaged (Hooft, et al., 2005) Feel more connected to the course, classmates, and instructors (Kadirire, 2007; Jones et al., 2009; Vahey, Crawford, 2002) Motivated to use them, even after encountering problems (Couse & Chen, 2010 – Teachers Differentiate instruction (Crichton, Pegler, & White, 2012) – Able to send different text messages on mobile phones to different students based on ability level (Lim & Wang, 2005) – Easy navigation for people of all ages, including young children (Geist, 2011) – E-books cost less than traditional texts (Shurtz & Isenburg, 2011) Technological – Portability; social interactivity; connection to other technologies and networks; multiple inputs (keyboarding, drawing) (Hooft et al., 2005; Peters, 2007; Purcell, 2005) – Cost compared to computers; ease of carrying and accessing information (Crichton et al., 2012; Geist, 2011) – Anytime access Students reported language progress partially due to accessibility of information during everyday life (Cavus & Ibriham, 2009)
Mobile Devices: Drawbacks/IssuesInstructional – Cost; ubiquity (in remote areas) (Koole, et al., 2010; Purcell, 2005)Technological – Small screen size – Difficulty for input/output of text – Technology is ever-changing: the devices of today could be replaced tomorrow – When using multiple devices, syncing them together can be difficult (Crichton et al., 2012) – Internet connections are unavailable without Wi-Fi (Rekkedel & Dye, 2007) – Mobile phones: battery life and small screens and buttons (Milrad & Spikol, 2007; Rekkedal & Dye, 2007; Vahey, Crawford, 2002)
Recommendations for ImplementingMobile Devices into the Classroom Teacher Training – Need several course and numerous hours of training to use devices successfully (Blaisdell, 2006; Crichton, Pegler, & White, 2012; Demski, 2011; Geist, 2011; Koole, McQuilkin & Ally, 2010; Lacina, 2008; Purcell, 2005) – Need time after training to further familiarize themselves and plan for specific instruction (Lacina, 2008; Purcell, 2005) – Allow teachers to use the mobile devices outside the classroom, motivating them to find new ways to utilize them (Newton & Dell, 2011) Acceptable Use – Policies need to be established and maintained (Blaisdell, 2006) – Administrators and instructors need to explain digital citizenship, how to use the devices properly, and blocking necessary items from students (Crichton, Pegler, & White, 2012) Instruction – Use mobile technology as often as possible (Briggs, 2012) – Use in meaningful and justifiable ways, not just to “use” the technology (Crichton et al., 2012) – Encourage students to be creative and take ownership of learning and outcomes (Lacina, 2008) – Provide explicit instructions and modeling when appropriate (Lacina, 2008) – Observe other teachers utilizing the technology; integrate the use of technology when applicable to the instruction and when the instructor feels comfortable using the technology (Lacina, 2008) Other – Access to high bandwidth networks for unlimited, constant internet access for all users (Rekkedal & Dye, 2007)
ConclusionOverall, the research shows that using mobile devices in the classroom is beneficial. Conversely, there is not much research out there on this topic; most of the research that is available is qualitative in nature.More research needs to be completed in order for further conclusions to be made. This can only happen if teachers are motivated to use mobile technologies and researchers are willing to conduct studies.Mobile devices in education is a phenomenon that will continue to grow as the digital natives do; teachers must strive to meet the expectations and challenges of working with mobile technology in the classroom and fostering lifelong, meaningful learning in their students.
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