Mobile devices have positive and negative impacts on learners while used as learning tools. Applications available in the mobile devices determine the usability of devices to the student.
Mobile devices had a positive impact on learners during their field trip. Learners claimed on this trip; they learned more than the previous groups. The motivational factor will ensure that students take the learning process as a good thing but not a punishment or task.
Mobile devices are able to hold the concentration of students to what is happening in and around the learning process. This is ensured by the student’s desire to know how the devices are working and their capabilities. The teaching of IT to students using the tools makes the learning process captivating and enjoyable. This is vividly seen when I ask students to carry out specific tasks using the devices. The realistic environment of seeing what they are taught makes them concentrate and have the urge to explore more on the current topic.
The sharing of data and learning materials among students is made easier. The mobile devices are Bluetooth enabled, which is a wireless network that can be used as a communication between two devices. Earlier groups had to compare notes by providing all the other groups with a written copy of their findings. In the class, wherever I share a soft copy of the text with one student, all the other students will get the book by connecting to the device holding the original copy of the text. Sharing data using mobile devices reduces the time taken to complete a task in class while minimizing the chances of distortion of the message while being copied manually by each group (Retta, 2010).
Field learning using mobile devices increases the number of data students collect in the field. The ability of the tools to take photos without the need of the students drawing makes sure they take as many photographs as possible (Churchill, Kennedy, Flint & Cotton, 2010). The limitation to the amount of data collected is the size of the SD card within the mobile device. Classes that were drawing pictures using paper and a pen had a higher probability of leaving out some details. In a case when I ask students to make sketches using a pen and paper, they tend to miss some details. When I teach them how to use the drawing tools, they provide comprehensive graphics.
Mobile devices speeded up the process of data analysis. A case study is when I offer students assignments on data that need calculation and drawing of graphs. Students, once they feed details into the excel sheet, they are able to carry out almost every type of analysis using the mobile devices. They carry out the calculation with little knowledge of the spreadsheet software (Hansmann, 2003). The graphs generated by the mobile devices look presentable to the students and me. The mobile device reduces the time I take in teaching students such activities as making graphs. The use of the tools in the information technology class gives students chances to confirm things over the internet wherever they face difficulties.
Ubiquitous learning through mobile devices has increased in the 21st century leading to a paradigm shift in the way education is offered in higher education institutions (Jason, 2011).
One of the significant changes is the ability of students to learn from any location of the globe without traveling physically to their campus. Students working may be kilometers away from their campuses and take lectures through their mobile devices wherever they have free time (Linus, 2010). This has led to an increase in the number of students taking master’s programs while they are under full employment.
The mobile devices are sometimes used by students to access social networks instead of educational sites. In the class, students try to visit places like Facebook and Youtube to watch their favorite musicians than educational sites whenever I connect them to the internet. Such traffic creates a constraint on the institution network, making it slow for those using it for learning purposes. This has a negative impact on the learning process using mobile devices.
The anonymity created by mobile devices increases the involvement of students in classes in providing reviews (Kennedy, nd). When I ask students to post comments or thoughts about their peers without providing their personal details, they mostly give correct reviews without fear of victimization from others or me. The ambiguity created by mobile devices sometimes may be misused by students. Misuse comes up when students post inflammatory messages while I ask them to give opinions. To avoid such situations, I teach students the need to provide constructive comments.
Mobile device availability in classes has sometimes interrupted lessons proceedings (Issham, Siti, Mohd & Rozhan, 2010). Some of the interruptions are when students start texting or chatting with their friends while I am teaching them. Some students do not put their mobile phones in silent mode while they are attending classes causing the devices to make noise while they are called in the middle of sessions. Such a negative impact lowers the concentration of students in grades.
The success of handheld devices is being hampered by the different learning capabilities among students. Some students have knowledge of the tools before joining learning institutions, while others have none. Those students without any experience will always lag behind in carrying out simple tasks using the devices. In a case, whenever I am teaching the English pronunciation class, some students are aware of the pronunciation application and know how to download it. The students will be better placed in learning using the application. Another student within the same class without knowledge of the application will remain behind on pronunciation within the English lesson. Such learning disparities have been created by the use of mobile devices in studies (Williams, 2009).
Mobile devices have changed the ways students submit their assignments to lecturers. Institutions have created web-based systems where students can submit their works in soft copies. The web-based system makes students submit assignments even when they are outside the university, reducing chances of lateness in the submission of assignments. The web-based systems are able to carry out automatic plagiarism checks on appointments reducing chances of copying (Ally, 2009).
Autonomy created by mobile devices is increasing the chances of impersonation among students. Impersonation arises where individual students take tests using mobile devices on behalf of their peers (Parscal, Sherman, Heitner & Lucas, 2012). Lack of one-to-one involvement of students and teachers makes it hard for a teacher to assess if the students answering the questions are who they claim to be. Situations have arisen where some students use other students’ login credentials to post inflammatory messages in school forums.
Ally, M. (2009). Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training. Edmonton: Au Press.
Churchill, D., Kennedy D., Flint D., & Cotton, N. (2010).Using Handhelds to Support Students’ Outdoor Educational Activities. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong.
Hansmann, U. (2003). Pervasive Computing: The Mobile World. New York: Springer.
Issham I., Siti S., Mohd J., & Rozhan. (, 2010). Acceptance of Mobile Learning via SMS: A Research Model Analysis. Malaysia: University of Sains Malaysia.
Jason W. (2011).Ubiquitous Computing. Omaha: University Of Nebraska.
Kennedy, D. (n.d). Changing Cultures, Changing Practices: Use Mobiles Tools, the Cloud, and Eportofolios for Authentic Assessment. Hong Kong: Lingnan University.
Linus, M. (2010). The impact of Mobile access on Motivation: Distance education student perceptions. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University.
Parscal, T., Sherman, K., Heitner, K. & Lucas, G. (2012). A New Model to Measure Student Engagement with a Mobile Learning Tool Integrating. New Orleans: AACE.
Retta, G. (2010). Mobile learning: Pilot Projects and Initiatives. California: Informing Science Press.
Williams, P. W. (2009). Assessing mobile learning effectiveness and acceptance. Washington: George Washington University.