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How students in H.E. use their mobile phones for learning


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Presentation given at mLearn 2010 conference, Claire Bradley and Debbie Holley

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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How students in H.E. use their mobile phones for learning

  1. 1. How students in Higher Education use their mobile phones for learning Claire Bradley Research Fellow Learning Technology Research Institute [email_address] Dr Debbie Holley Principal Lecturer Learning and Teaching London Metropolitan University Business School [email_address]
  2. 2. Background to research <ul><li>Ongoing research into mobile learning with year one ‘new entry’ students </li></ul><ul><li>We have supported student groups using mediaBoard </li></ul><ul><li>Texted students ‘Learning tips’ </li></ul><ul><li>Carried out a pilot for CONTSENS, an EU context specific project where students went out ‘on site’ </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated ‘Textools’ a system where student text answers to questions in large lecture halls </li></ul><ul><li>And this project ‘learning on the move’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. The study <ul><li>Survey with students </li></ul><ul><li>Loaned flip video camcorders to 3 students to record their daily mobile learning use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 of these students also filmed video interviews with other students about their use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The 3 students were interviewed to explore their mobile learning practise in more depth </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews have resulted in 3 in-depth case studies or stories about their mobile learning practise and attitudes towards using their phones for learning </li></ul>
  4. 4. Survey results: The students <ul><li>74 1 st year undergraduates taking a core business module ‘Studying Marketing and Operations’ completed a questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: 73% female, 27% male </li></ul><ul><li>Age: </li></ul>Age range 18-20 21-25 25-30 30-35 % respondents 61% 33% 5% 1%
  5. 5. Survey results: Students’ phones <ul><li>Contract v ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>63% on contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>37% ‘pay as you go’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Range of handsets owned is diverse – 72 students cited 37 phone models from 9 manufac- turers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>80% of phones can be classified as being Smart Phones (i.e. Internet and email enabled) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Survey results: Mobile features
  7. 7. Do you currently use your mobile phone for learning? <ul><li>22 students - 29% - said they used their mobiles for learning </li></ul><ul><li>34 uses given (some students use their mobile for more than one task) </li></ul><ul><li>Uses reported have been grouped into 7 categories </li></ul>
  8. 8. Uses for learning Category Mobile phone use Total uses per category Conducting research/ Internet (4 students) 12 getting information Google (3 students) Research / search info. (5 students) Communicating Email (4 students) 6 Contacting group assignment members Fashion Facebook group Generating content/ Take pictures/photos (3 students) 4 artefacts Voice recording Using tools/ Calculator (3 students) 4 applications Microsoft Office Organising Putting reminder alarms for meetings 3 Check my exams Organiser Note-taking Write notes 1 Other Accessing learning materials 4 Presentations / r ecord presentations (2 students) Transport files (PDF, Word, PowerPoint …)
  9. 9. Case study: Sam <ul><li>Foundation year Art, Media and Design </li></ul><ul><li>Blackberry Curve, 18 mth contract </li></ul><ul><li>Uses his phone for these learning activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>S etting reminders in the calender, using the clock and alarm to organise his studying and schedule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>P hotos of images and things to remember </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R ecords lectures for later replay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C ommunicates with other students – phone, Blackberry Messenger (free between Blackberry users) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses the Internet and Google to look up information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Says his most common use is “probably the calendar, because that is really useful, because my organisational skills aren’t very good, so it does help to have a little buzz when you need to do something” </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Case study: Sam <ul><li>Why he uses his phone for learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because it is “convenient” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I mean I’ve got it in my pocket 24 hours a day, it’s always there, and now I can use the Internet” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When necessary” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At gallery visits and exhibitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>During lectures – records them and enters information such as dates and deadlines into the calendar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At home – checks notifications of forthcoming deadlines, tasks, etc. to see what he has to do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How the university could promote mLearning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Send reminder texts </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Case study: Shriya <ul><li>First-year Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Blackberry Curve, PAYG + £5 per mth for Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Bought Blackberry because it has Windows software </li></ul><ul><li>Phone uses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access university systems – Webmail, Evision (student record system), WebLearn (downloads materials from VLE) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicates with classmates – Blackberry Messenger is free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accesses Facebook for tutorial groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes notes using ‘Memopad’ (attach alarms to notes) and ‘Word to go’ to write notes in lectures and draft reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Her mobile use is overtaking use of her laptop! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Case study: Shriya <ul><li>Why she uses her phone for learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because it is easier, it is accessible (always connected to the Internet and other people), you can use it anywhere and everywhere, and you don’t have to carry a heavy laptop around with you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It really helps you because it saves on time and money” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In quiet places – her room, the local park, but not in the library because they are not allowed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not in front of a computer: mobile = freedom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How the university could promote mLearning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage students to use their mobiles, e.g. interactive learning sessions on how they could use them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She believes that using mobile phones can get students interested in the subject more, they are fun and help to create enthusiasm for learning </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Case study: Heidi <ul><li>First-year Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Sony Ericsson G502, PAYG, doesn’t use Internet (too expensive) </li></ul><ul><li>Phone uses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicates with other students – primarily by TXT because it’s convenient and cheap, or calls which can be faster and more effective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes pictures – of things to remember, to use in her coursework or that give her ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calculator (she’s studying statistics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes notes and takes down thoughts by saving them as TXT messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She relies heavily on TXT messages for communication and making notes </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Case study: Heidi <ul><li>Why she uses her phone for learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I know I have it on me always, and I can check it always, it’s better than writing in a small calendar book for me” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She would use her mobile more if she had a more sophisticated phone and cheaper Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Everywhere actually” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When it is appropriate. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How the university could promote mLearning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Produce an App. that would make it easy to access University systems because it is Internet-based, and it would save you time because you could access from anywhere </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Other students’ mobile learning practise <ul><li>3 Foundation Art, Media & Design students </li></ul><ul><li>Rion, Sony Ericsson CyberShot </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses the camera on his phone to take photos to use in his work. See video: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Isaac, Blackberry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses his phone as an alarm clock, to communicate with others via email and phone calls and for setting reminders for deadlines. See video: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tomasz </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listens to music on his phone whilst he works to help him concentrate. See video: </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>Students are savvy and creative about using the phones that they have and finding cheap solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Many are already using their mobiles for a range of learning tasks, largely on their own initiative </li></ul><ul><li>One way forward is to encourage students (and tutors) to make more use of the powerful devices they have for learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>This work provides insights into students’ mobile phone ownership and their mobile learning practise, making it easier to design mobile learning initiatives around what they already do and could do </li></ul>
  17. 17. Contact details <ul><li>Claire Bradley [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Debbie Holley [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>The full survey data, case studies and video clips are all on the project website: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>