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Results from Students

Regarding the use of Mobile Devices at BYU-Idaho, here are Pros, Cons, Uses, Potential Applications, and Concerns that were identified by students.

Pros:
  • Most students have mobile devices, and they are easily accessible anywhere. This allows for immediate 24/7 access to class materials. Most students have their mobile devices with them at all times.
  • Mobile devices are relatively inexpensive compared to laptop and desktop computers.
  • Using technology in the classroom would help students become more familiar with modern technology. Knowing how to effectively use mobile devices is real life training students need to learn now.  They will be expected to have these skills in their jobs after they graduate.
  • Some classes require students to use their laptops (or possibly mobile devices) in class.
  • The majority of the teachers are neutral and students can use laptops/mobile devices in class if they want to.
  • Digital copies of textbooks would be less expensive than physical ones.
  • Digital copies of textbooks would weigh less and be easier on students' backs.
  • Digital resources would be easily and quickly accessible.
  • Many students said participation would increase because they are kinesthetic/engaged learners. They said they would feel more involved in the lesson with a tablet in front of them as opposed to having a piece of paper in front of them. Students can easily visualize what is being taught.
  • When the students don't understand something the teacher says they could Google it and feel back in the loop. Also, when neither the teacher nor the students know the answer to a question, they can Google it and share with the rest of the class.
  • Laptops have big screens that stick straight up, whereas tablets can lay flat and students often times can't even tell their classmate is using one, creating less of a distraction.
  • Students would not be limited to using a computer for learning.
  • Many mobile devices can almost serve as a desktop or laptop replacement. Many programs are available.
  • Students who haven't used mobile devices felt that they would be quick and easy to use.  When they learned that training workshops would be offered, they were excited to attend the training.
  • Students would be able to choose how and when they learn.
  • It would allow for improved communication between teachers and students. They could technically communicate anytime, anywhere.
  • Mobile devices would provide for easier communication between students, allowing them to teach one another. Students could keep in touch easily for group work.
  • On the issue of devices causing students to be distracted during class, the students said that they were old enough and that they were in charge of their learning and should be responsible enough and will understand that they will suffer in the class if they don't pay attention. "We are old enough to know of the consequences that come from misuse of technology in the classroom."
  • Mobile technology is convenient and fast, and can be used for many purposes. It saves time.
  • The quality of notes taken by students would improve.
  • Mobile apps are often used by students to help stay organized (calendar, documents, e-mail, etc).
  • Improves student creativity.
  • Devices with a data plan don't need a wifi hotspot.
Cons:
  • They can create a potential distraction.  If students are checking their email or Facebook, then they may not be paying attention to the teacher and the class discussion.
  • Some of the students were discouraged at the idea of mobile devices because they didn't feel comfortable around them yet. This also creates a potential distraction, because the technology can get in the way of learning.
  • Some teachers are very against all technology and will take away points if a student uses a laptop or mobile device in class - the two most common for this were religion classes and foundations courses.
  • One of the things that bothered students were teachers who wouldn't let them take notes using technology, and they had to change how they took notes to appease the teacher rather than finding the best way for them.
  • Not all students know the capabilities/potential uses of a mobile device such as an iPad or tablet (such as using a word processing app or other various tools).
  • Most students said they would not use a tablet for note taking unless it had a separate keyboard as opposed to typing on the glass.  Using the screen to type was not a popular choice.
  • Small screens can be hard to read and work on.
  • For some students, mobile technology can be too expensive. Not all students have access to this technology.
  • It can be more difficult to record your thoughts - when using paper, you can write in the margin, but this is not as easy on mobile devices.
  • Using these devices anywhere can give the false idea that one is being productive anywhere, when they are actually most productive in the office.
  • Potential for "technical difficulties." Students may end up waiting a long time for something to load.
  • Not all websites work with all mobile devices, an example being the extensive use of iFrames.
  • Students could potentially use the mobile devices to cheat on test and assignments.
  • Not all learning materials are available in a digital format.
  • Mobile devices are more for leisure than for academic use.
  • They would still necessitate the use of a laptop or desktop, which would only add to the cost. Limited software capabilities.
  • Potential to destroy one on one communication. People may become so used to texting or chatting that personal communication may suffer.
  • Technology is constantly changing, and it may be difficult to keep up with those changes.
  • Dead batteries could bring learning to a complete standstill if students are too reliant on technology for their learning.
  • Not all students learn best by using technology.
  • Many students don't use I-Learn to its full potential, which limits how much work students are able to do on their mobile device.
  • Devices might ring in class, causing another distraction.
  • Mobile devices can be difficult to connect to the campus network. Inability to connect to the school's wireless printing system.
  • Allows "lazy research."
Uses:
  • Access class literature and readings as well as online textbooks. The majority of the students said it would be nice to have a digital copy of their textbooks to bring with them to school instead of lugging it around all day, but they said they would also like to have a hard copy at home.
  • There is a new app where teachers can make their own textbooks that are interactive and students can download the book for free.
  • Mobile dictionaries and thesauruses. Many interactive dictionaries are available for studying various languages. There are also some foreign language apps where students can practice and learn the language through free games.
  • Students can stay in contact with their teachers more easily, and could even communicate with a tutor over the internet.
  • Communication with class members, allowing students to stay in touch and teach each other.
  • Do group projects in class and submit them.
  • Students can check their e-mail from anywhere.
  • Remote learning. Many devices have a built-in camera, allowing for face to face interaction.
  • Apps can be used to record lectures so students can go back and review what they might have missed. Students could also use the tablet to take notes during class. After the lecture, students could take a picture of the notes on the board as a summation of the lecture. Students could then have their lecture notes and study aids available to them anywhere.
  • An app that helps students keep all of their schoolwork organized. Calendar and scheduling apps also allow students to stay organized.
  • I>Clicker replacement apps. Use tablets in class polling sessions. Students could also potentially text answers to their teachers.
  • Improved research capabilities.
  • Mobile apps that allow students to access tutorials, information, and grades on the go.
  • Allow students to take quizzes on I-Learn.
  • Solutions and apps such as Drop Box would allow students to work on an assignment from any computer or device.
  • Mobile library website access.
Potential Applications:
  • http://www.apple.com/education/ipad/ - Shows how to incorporate iPads into the classroom.
  • http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-teaching-learning-apps-ben-johnson - Lists some great ways to use an iPad in the classroom.
  • http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/19/tech/mobile/apple-ibooks-2/index.html - Three apple products that aim to get students and teachers to use the iPad's touchscreen interface to read, write, plan classes, and communicate with each other.
  • http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/ - Software that enables users to create their own e-books to be viewed on an iPad.
  • Stellarium is an app that allows students to study about the solar system.
  • Various productivity apps - Evernote (taking notes), Pages (writing papers), Numbers (spreadsheets), Sketchbook Pro (graphic design), Dropbox (store and transfer files), Garageband (music creation), and many more. QuickOffice is also an excellent solution, and interfaces well with Google Docs and Dropbox.
  • Aldiko - Works as an easy to use PDF reader.
  • Naxos Music Library app - Allows students to access thousands of recordings of classical music through the school's subscription to the Naxos service.
  • IMSLP.org app - Allows students to view and download copyright-free classical music scores.
  • ColorNote - Helps to keep track of "to-do" lists and other miscellaneous information.
  • There is an interactive app of a DNA molecule that you can move around and study with all of the parts labeled.
  • TeamViewer - Allows remote access to a laptop or desktop from a tablet device, allowing full functionality and productivity on the go without having to carry the laptop around.
  • Many graphing calculator apps are available.
  • There are several apps which students can use to create flashcards and then use them to memorize terms, descriptions, and relationships.
  • Design BrainHoney to be completely accessible from mobile devices.
  • Sync the student's BrainHoney (I-Learn) calendar with Google Calendar, which in turn can be synced with a calendar app on the mobile device.
  • Potential Grad Plan app.
  • Adobe Connect on the go.
Concerns:
  • Devices can be distracting to students in class.
  • Large learning curve for professors and students.
  • Technology may take away from some of the learning process if students rely too heavily on technology.
  • Potential for cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty. There could also be copyright and plagiarism issues.
  • Possible privacy issues. Many mobile devices are not properly secured.
  • Teachers would have to make sure the course was still complete for those students who don't use mobile devices.
  • Many different mobile devices. Not everyone would have the same experience on their device.
  • Mobile devices are constantly changing, and it may be difficult for students to keep up with these changes.
  • Small screen sizes can make the devices difficult to use.
  • "There is no replacement for a good ol' book."
  • Potential for "technical difficulties." Not all devices will open all files. Mobile devices often malfunction, causing another distraction. If the device malfunctions, all of the student's information could be lost, including important homework assignments.
  • May cause students to learn from the technology instead of from their professors.
  • Decreased human contact.
  • Laptops are easier for most students to use and have increased functionality compared to mobile devices.
  • Students might not use their time wisely.
  • Possible disconnect between what is being learned and why the students are learning it.
  • Undesirable content could easily appear on the screen.
  • Students could become victims of cyber bullying.
  • Mobile devices share many of the same concerns as laptop and desktop computers.