TOOLS OF THE TRADE: CAN MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES ENHANCE THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN A TERTIARY ENVIRONMENT?

Darrell Fisher Snell Siddle, Sarah Snell, Darrell Fisher

Abstract


Mobile learning is fast becoming a global phenomenon, resulting in a change to the way education is being delivered. As society is now experiencing' mobility' in all spheres, it is unsurprising that mobile devices are being used by both learners and educators as a natural extension of the tools and technologies available to enhance the learning environment. Mobile learning aims to provide another layer of support to the students' learning experience, alongside other delivery methods to enhance and support the learning process. This paper describes the results of a study carried out in a New Zealand tertiary institution which investigated whether the learning environment could be enhanced through the use of mobile technologies and thereby enrich the student learning experience in a tertiary environment. Open-ended questions and focus groups were used to gather perceptions of the students' experiences of the mobile enhanced learning environment. The analyses confirmed that the mobile enhanced learning environment was a positive one and that the increased levels of communication relating to both the learning content and administrative matters was found to have made a difference to their learning experience. Students' responses also highlighted issues that educators need to pay attention to when using mobile technologies. The issues raised suggest that a consistent and planned approach is needed when designing, planning and implementing a mobile enhanced learning environment.

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