Two case studies on the influence of mobile computing on student learning behaviour

Shortis, M, McGovern, J, Berry, M and Farrell, M 2006, 'Two case studies on the influence of mobile computing on student learning behaviour', in G. Rowe (ed.) Creativity, Challenges, Change: Partnerships in Engineering Education, Auckland, New Zealand, 10-13 December 2006, pp. 1-10.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Two case studies on the influence of mobile computing on student learning behaviour
Author(s) Shortis, M
McGovern, J
Berry, M
Farrell, M
Year 2006
Conference name 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Engineering
Conference location Auckland, New Zealand
Conference dates 10-13 December 2006
Proceedings title Creativity, Challenges, Change: Partnerships in Engineering Education
Editor(s) G. Rowe
Publisher Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Place of publication Auckland, New Zealand
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Abstract In 2004 RMIT was a recipient of a Hewlett-Packard Mobile Technology for Teaching Grant Initiative comprising equipment and a small development fund. RMIT selected a combination of 23 Tablet PCs and 50 iPAQ PDAs to conduct trials associated with two sub-projects to investigate the application of mobile technology in higher education. Students in the second year of a multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Design program used the Tablet PCs to facilitate the design process. The study used qualitative ethnographic methods to explore the impact access to mobile computing had on student learning and everyday work practices. These students used design applications in concert with web logging and other communication tools to support individual and group design projects across the full academic year. The design students used their Tablet PCs for wireless access, as well as in standalone operation and in some cases wired access. It was found that mobile computing had a substantial impact on their everyday work practices. Second year students in a Bachelor of Nursing program used the iPAQs to access standard applications as well as specialist pharmacological databases. The nursing students used the iPAQs primarily in standalone mode whilst on clinical placements. Both trials used qualitative methods to assess the impact of the new technology on the student experience. The nursing trial also used quantitative methods in a quasi-experimental design to assess changes in pharmacological knowledge. The results showed there was a modest improvement in both groups of nursing students on the post-test assessment. Students using the PDAs increased their mean score by 1.3 marks, and although this was not statistically significant, it was double the increase in the mean score of the comparative group. Overall students reported positively on their experience using mobile technology. The technology improved the efficiency of their study time, and improved their overall learning experience, although no definitive conclusions can be drawn about any improvement in learning. Students also had little difficulty in using the technology. From a university perspective, the trials indicated that wider adoption of mobile technology could be supported, but it may create a load on support and systems, and require more seamless integration of wired and wireless technologies. The experience gained from this project is broadly relevant to all science and engineering disciplines.
Subjects Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) mobile computing
learning experience
work practice
ISBN 9780473118815
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