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Smartphones as a tool for school & college education

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March 29, 2014

Nowadays, thanks to the incredible versatility and Internet capabilities of smartphones, teachers have the opportunity to use the ICT including smartphones during classes. In the emerging learning environment, a student interacts with both information resources and technologies, and with the lecturer. Innovative educational technologies (in particular, the integration of smartphones in the educational process) provide students with powerful tools and opportunities to gain access to extensive information resources, cooperation with other people, consultations with the lecturer, knowledge sharing, as well as the transmission of opportunities in the form of multimedia objects (text, image , graphics, sound and video). However, research on the integration of technologies over the past 20 years shows that this integration is a slow and complex process and depends on many factors, which include organizational factors (availability of equipment), teacher’s factors (proficiency in modern technologies), and factors related to technologies.

Organizational support. Educational institutions are sufficiently resistant to changes that put pressure on their existing practices. Therefore, aspects of organizational support for ICT integration include:

•    An educational institution culture that promotes the use of smartphones and the application of new teaching methods (in particular, educational podcasts and programs available via smartphones);

•    Technical support from the administration (availability of wireless internet, possibilities for charging a mobile device when needed);

•    Pursuing a policy of modern technologies (for example, regarding the use of cell phones/tablets/laptops/computers/multimedia devices and the availability of access to Internet resources), which allows teachers to use all the wealth of technological resources where teachers work with students and learn how to more effectively use smartphones during the educational process to achieve higher intended learning outcome;

•    Digital assessment systems.

Lecturers. The attitude of teachers to the use of smartphones is defined as the main factors for the successful use of smartphones in the classroom. Existing positive pedagogical beliefs and teaching practices shape the manner in which smartphones are incorporated into work with the audience. In order to effectively use technology for educational purposes, teachers must not only be familiar with how to work with equipment, but also understand how these tools are effectively used in the broadcast of this course and how to incorporate resources into the audience’s activities to achieve important learning goals. While many teachers use technology in their private lives and know how to work with them, they often lack more of the professional knowledge and skills needed to support teaching and learning in information content. Teachers should continue their professional development in order to keep up with the times in order to better understand the essential role that technology plays in supporting the educational process and generating knowledge in these subjects. Scientists believe that only 23 percent of teachers feel well prepared to integrate technology into their work.

Despite the fact that contemporary education cannot include smartphones fully into educational life, students and lecturer cannot deny the advantages of smartphones as a tool of the educational process. A smartphone is a most often used device to get on the Internet. Having such an opportunity, students are able to find any information they are in need of to conduct their own research or to simply look up to the new fresh ideas to support their papers with. Essay writing help is crucial for every student now. It is a great way to fix the grammar or to simply find the answers to urgent issues.

Technological integration as a process. The study shows that the integration of technology into the educational process goes a certain way. Initially, teachers include new technologies in existing practices. After they observe such changes in student learning as “improving interaction, behavior, and learning, teachers gradually begin to experiment with the use of technology to develop their own, unique style.” This process can take about four years, depending on the individual skill of applying the technologies and the various factors for realizing the interaction.

Thus, teachers, their beliefs, pedagogical and educational process, cultivate the process of integrating technology and technological skills gradually build up each other and evolve. Technology is being introduced and assimilated into the culture of an educational institution. Use and integration of technology in the educational process assume that the technology itself cannot participate in educational reform, but can become a powerful tool for teachers if it becomes a part of a comprehensive and systematic desire to change the educational environment.

Being against the background of the constant presence of gadgets in students’ lives, schools and colleges do not notice the useful features of mobile devices. Such conservatism affects three critical aspects of school life:

•    The attitudes of students and teachers suffer, students are less likely to perceive school as an authority and less willing to learn. Bans on smartphones, in fact, demonstrate the separation of school from reality, unwillingness to be engaged in dialogue with students. Students, on the other hand, are getting used to ignoring school rules. Their alienation from school is growing.

•    Innovation in education is slipping. Teachers who use new teaching technologies are considered as “rebels”. It is hard to keep up working in an environment that does not support innovative ideas;

•    Education cannot rapidly change to the better.

Anyway, each day new fast-paced life dictates its rules so lecturers and students more often use e-mail for communication, lecturers set homework to be done online or using the Internet, and ICT is gradually being involved into the everyday life of people.

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Darpan Dodiya
Raleigh, NC, USA

Hi! I'm Darpan. 24 yr old Software Engineer, now pursuing Masters in Computer Science at NC State University, USA. This is my personal blog to share my interests in travelling, photography, programming and life. Glad to see you here, have a look around the website, you'll enjoy. Drop a comment or reach out to me or get connected via links below. Have a good day! :)

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