Mobile Device

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1 Mobile Device

Karen Campbell, Memorial University of Newfoundland

2 Definitions and background

Devices such as smartphones, digital media players, tablets, or personal digital assistants can be considered mobile devices (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013 ). A typical device has a telephone, Internet connectivity, a camera, email, SMS [short message service], a calendar, a notepad, audio, video, a clock with alarm and an address book (Walker, 2013).

Mobile devices are such an integral part of a students’ day that students are uncomfortable when without the device for an extended period (Kee & Samsudin, 2014). Mobile devices are social, cultural, and educational phenomena in today’s world (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013 ). The majority of the participants in a study by Kee and Samsudin (2014) agreed that owning a mobile device is a need in the 21st century. Students spend so much time using, customizing, and choosing their mobile device, that it reflects their values and identity (Traxler, 2010).

This type of affordable, efficient, technology is playing a larger and larger role in education and supporting student learning (Kee & Samsudin, 2014). It is reported that students will learn more using mobile devices than from traditional methods (Nouri, Cerratto-Pargman, Rossitto, & Ramberg, 2014).

3 Affordances

Because of the prevalence of mobile devices in our society, there is great accessibility to informal learning at learners’ fingertips (Kee & Samsudin, 2014). The easy access and seamless connectivity of mobile devices offer great possibility to education (Hsu & Ching, 2012). The connections between instructors, classmates, and area professionals provided by mobile devices can boost engagement and understanding (Walker, 2013). Mobile devices provide access and connectivity without challenge, which allows learners to do tasks and apply knowledge in authentic contexts (Hsu & Ching, 2012).

Mobile devices can help language learners have more learning experiences by using their device to associate photos or audio to aid comprehension (Joseph & Uther, 2009). Cheng (2010) observed that pupils learning the English language approach learning contexts on their own using mobile devices, which can result in new learning methods. The learners in Cheng’s (2010) study found the activities stimulating, useful, enjoyable and interesting. Tuttle (2013) found that the use of mobile devices promoted authentic language communication instead of discrete learning. Yang’s (2014) evaluation of the traditional science book compared to a mobile device supported book showed that the mobile device supported method was significantly more helpful to the students in terms of learning success than the traditional book (Yang, 2014).

The Ipod touch enhanced many aspects of learning, including the learner’s ability to understand information, aid student initiated learning, and personalize educational experiences (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013 ). Teachers were able to track, evaluate, and refine their work. Teachers commented that quick feedback provided motivation to students when completing challenging problems.

Nouri, Cerratto-Pargman, Rossitto, and Ramberg (2014) found that mobile technologies can be configured to provide directions in a timely, orderly way. This method of providing directions made guidelines and instructions clearer for users. Teacher mediation was unnecessary and student engagement in this activity was greater with students using the mobile device than those using traditional methods.

“Most smartphones also incorporate ‘‘apps’’ (applications or small programs with varying functionality), which potentially extend hugely the functionality of the device as they can be used for a wide variety of purposes, dependent on the user’s needs and interests.”(Walker, 2013, p. 2). In a study using the mobile device support in a cooperative learning scenario, mobile devices “helped students cooperate and thus appears to benefit not only the development of estimation skills in elementary students, but also that of metacognition knowledge of estimation strategies (Lan, Sun, Tan, Lin, & Chang, 2010).

4 Constraints

Available social media and games on mobile devices may distract from learning and make it difficult for student to focus on their learning (Kee & Samsudin, 2014). “Non- learning activity performed by the participant is slightly higher than the learning activity using mobile devices among the participant.” (Kee & Samsudin, 2014, p. 35). Despite the evolution and technology standards of mobile technology, Keengwe, Pearson, and Smart (2009) found that there are few apps that actually scaffold teaching and learning.

The perception that mobile devices have minimal processing strength, limited screen size and few input capabilities dampens student and educators interest in using them (Ting, 2012). In a study where the students could choose to use either the mobile device or web system to read messages, Cheng (2010) found that the users did not usually opt for the mobile device, but used a computer to read messages because the screen of the mobile device was too small. Users who compared a mobile device to a desktop computer for watching a narrated slideshow rated the desktop as, “more faithful, stable, concentrative, and essential.” (Sung & Mayer, 2012, p. 1333). Unlike desktops, mobile devices sometimes have Java issues, technical obstacles, and other device issues that limit functionality of apps and diminish learning potential (Joseph & Uther, 2009).

Ciampa and Gallagher (2013) posited that the resources required to train teachers to use mobile devices in their classrooms and to monitor students using mobile devices may put a strain on district means. Educators need modeling and coaching in order to be able to integrate technology properly. (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013)

So, Seow, and Looi (2009) report that the students were not engaged by the mobile device supported activity in their study. The students concentrated on completing on-device forms and did not extend their knowledge or intereact with their group as noted in traditional activities.

Mobile device voice recognition language learning users argued that the interactions were not natural the technology was not useful for longer sentences (Nakaya & Murota, 2013). Participants in Ting’s (2012) survey reported having a negative impression of mobile device supported language learning before they tried learning via mobile device.

5 Links

Five Lessons for Mobile Device Implementation

Students Want More Mobile Devices In Classroom

Mobile Devices in Education: A Comprehensive Management Approach

Mobile Devices for Learning: What You Need to Know

Mobile Devices in Special Education

10 Ways To Use Mobile Devices in the Classroom

6 Works Cited

Cheng, S.-C., Hwang, W.-Y., Wu, S.-Y., Shadiev, R., & Xie, C.-H. (2010). A mobile device and online system with contextual familiarity and its effects on english learning on campus. Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 93–109. Retrieved from

Ciampa, K., & Gallagher, T. (2013). Getting in touch: Use of mobile devices in the elementary classroom. Computers in the Schools, 30, 309-328.

Hsu, Y.-C., & Ching, Y.-H. (2012). Mobile microblogging: Using twitter and mobile devices in an online course to promote learning in authentic contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13 (4), 211-227.

Joseph, S. R., & Uther, M. (2009). Mobile devices for language learning: Multimedia approaches . Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 4 (1), 7-32.

Kee, C. L., & Samsudin, Z. (2014). Mobile devices: Toys or learning tools for the 21st century teenagers?. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13 (3), 107-123.

Keengwe, J., Pearson, D., & Smart, K. (2009). Technology integration: Mobile devices (iPods), Constructivist Pedagogy, and Student Learning. AACEJ, 17 (4), 333-346.

Nakaya, K., & Murota, M. (2013). Development and evaluation of an interactive english conversation learning system with a mobile device: Using topics based on the life of the learner. Research & Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 8 (1), 65.

Lan, Y.-J., Sung, Y.-T., Tan, N.c., Lin, C.-P., & Chang, K.-E. (2010). Mobile-Device-supported problem-based computational estimation instruction for elementary school students. Educational Technology & Society, 13 (3), 55–69.

Nouri, J., Cerratto-Pargman, T., Rossitto, C., & Ramberg, R. (2014). Learning with or without mobile devices? A comparison of traditional schoolfield trips and inquiry-based mobile learning activities. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 9 (2), 241-262.

So, H.-J., Seow, P., & Looi, C. K. (2009). Location matters: leveraging knowledge building with mobile devices and Web 2.0 technology. Interactive Learning Environments, 17 (4), 367-382.

Ting, Y.-L. (2012). The pittfalls of mobile devices in learning: A different view and implications for pedigogical design. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46 (2), 119-134.

Traxler, J. (2010). Students and mobile devices. Research in Learning Technology , 18 (2), 149-160.

Tuttle, H. G. (2013). Transform modern language learning through mobile devices. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 42 (1), 39-42.

Walker, R. (2013). ‘‘I don’t think I would be where I am right now’’. Pupil perspectives on using mobile devices for learning. Research in Learning Technology, 21, 1-13.

Yang, C-C., Hwang, G.-J., Hung, C.-M., & Tseng, S.-S. (2013). An evaluation of the learning effectiveness of concept map-based science book reading via mobile devices. Educational Technology & Society, 16 (3), 167–178.