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

Kevin A. Johnston
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 13  •  2016  •  pp. 025-046
The impact that mobile web-enabled devices have had on the lives and behavior of university students has been immense. Yet, many of the models used in the classrooms have remained unchanged. Although a traditional research approach of examining the literature, developing a methodology, and so on is followed, this paper’s main aim is to inform practitioners on observations and examples from courses which insist on and encourage mobiles in the classroom.
The paper asked three research questions regarding the use, impact, and unintended consequences of mobile web-enabled devices in the classroom. Data was collected from observing and interacting with post graduate students and staff in two universities across two continents: Africa and Europe.
The paper then focuses on observations and examples on the use, impact, and unintended consequences of mobile web-enabled devices in two classrooms. The findings are that all students used mobile web-enabled devices for a variety of reasons. The use of mobile devices did not negatively impact the class, rather students appeared to be more engaged and comfortable knowing they were allowed to openly access their mobile devices. The unintended consequences included the use of mobiles to translate text into home languages.
Mobile web-enabled devices, Usage, Impact, Unintended consequences, University Students, Social Network Systems (SNS).
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