Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Use, Impact, and Unintended Consequences of Mobile Web-Enabled Devices in University Classrooms

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Use, Impact, and Unintended Consequences of Mobile Web-Enabled Devices in University Classrooms

Article excerpt

Introduction

There is a fair bit written and spoken about the impact of mobile web-enabled devices on the lives and social behavior of people (Ley et al., 2014; Morgan & Ravindran, 2014). Gerpott and Thomas (2014, p.291) reviewed "175 scholarly empirical publications on mobile Internet (MI) usage intensity levels and potential determinants of respective usage behavior at the individual subscriber level." Several papers have been written on the use of mobile devices for learning (Alarabiat & Al-Mohammad, 2015; Coldwell, Craig & Goold, 2011; Jovanovic & Chiong, 2012), and teaching (Barjis et al., 2012; Jovanovic, Chiong & Weise, 2012). Many university students consider the use of Social Network Systems (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter as part of their daily routine (Alarabiat & Al-Mohammad, 2015; Johnston, 2013). University students used their mobile web-enabled devices on campus for a variety of activities, which included Information gathering, Socializing on Facebook, Academic work, Course related administration, and Recreation such as playing games, listening to music, and watching videos (Alarabiat & Al-Mohammad, 2015; Johnston, 2013).

One of the educational paradoxes is that university students see and use mobile web-enabled devices everywhere in their lives but in the classroom (Johnston, 2013). Many of the teaching and learning models used in classrooms have remained unchanged; there are however instances where mobile web-enabled devices have been used successfully in classrooms (Carter, 2014; Johnston, 2013).

Rather than follow a traditional research approach of examining the literature, developing a methodology, and so on, this paper examines and reports on observations on two post graduate courses which insist on the use of mobiles in the classroom. The observations were made at two universities: one in South Africa, and one in Germany.

The purpose of the research was to investigate the usage, impact, and unintended consequences of mobile web-enabled devices in the classroom. The research aimed to gain familiarity and new insight into the usage and impact of mobile web-enabled devices among university students while in the classroom.

Literature Review

Literature was sourced from academic journals and Google Scholar, using the Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management as a starting point. The literature review covers three main themes: the use, the impact, and the unexpected consequences of mobile webenabled devices in the classroom.

Use of Mobile Web-Enabled Devices in the Classroom

There is a growing expectation for academics to learn and include mobile web-enabled devices within teaching, learning, and administrative spaces (Johnston, 2013). "Survey research and public polling data indicate that the majority of college students not only have mobile phones, but also bring them to class and use them in class on a regular basis" (Kuznekoff, Munz, & Titsworth, 2015, p. 345).

Several papers have covered the use of mobile web-enabled devices for learning (Alarabiat & AlMohammad, 2015; Coldwell et al., 2011; Hwang & Chang, 2011; Jovanovic & Chiong, 2012), and teaching (Baijis et al., 2012; Jovanovic et al., 2012; Ruggiero & Mong, 2015). Many students expect and would like to use technology whilst in class (Johnston, 2013), and some teachers believe students should be allowed to use mobile web-enabled devices in class (Ruggiero & Mong, 2015).

Coldwell et al. (2011) provide a useful categorization of technologies and applications which could be used by mobile web-enabled devices in a course and in a classroom. The categorization (Coldwell et al., 2011) and some examples of applications are shown in Table 1.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Moodle and Sakai have a range of applications and fit into several technology categories. …

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