Is Mobile Technology in the Classroom a Helpful Tool or a Distraction? A Report of University Students’ Attitudes, Usage Practices, and Suggestions for Policies

By Lorraine D. Jackson.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mobile devices capable of accessing the Internet have become ubiquitous, creating both challenges for educators, as well as opportunities for students. Faculty members have various policies concerning mobile technology, ranging from laissez-faire policies in which students do as they wish, to complete bans on the use of mobile technology in the classroom. Still other instructors design learning environments integrating the usage of smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Yet, few studies have examined students’ attitudes toward mobile technology usage and policies. This research describes university students’ perceptions concerning mobile devices in the classroom. Based on a survey conducted at the California Polytechnic State University, the following topics are reported and discussed: 1) How do students use technology in class, including habits and web sites visited? 2) Do students experience self-reported distraction from mobile devices, laptops, and tablets? 3) What issues concerning technology and test security are students aware of? 4) What are students’ perceptions of the benefits of technology? and, (5) What classroom policy suggestions do students offer? Recommendations concerning mobile technology policies in the classroom and issues for educator consideration are provided.

Keywords: Technology in the Classroom, Educational Technology, Mobile Devices, Policies Concerning Technology, Laptops, Cell Phone Use

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.129-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 256.763KB).

Dr. Lorraine D. Jackson

Professor, Communication Studies Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Dr. Lorraine D. Jackson’s current research interests include health communication and communication technologies. She published Health Communication Research: A Guide to Developments and Directions (with B.K. Duffy). Her scholarly work appears in journals such as Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, Communication Teacher, Academic Exchange Quarterly, The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, as well as several books. She is the recipient of grant awards from Cal Poly’s Center for Teaching and Learning for enhancing the Health Communication course with technology. She is listed in the 2008–2009 Marquis Who’s Who in American Women 50th anniversary edition and is a member of the Western States Communication Association, the American Association of University Women, and the National Communication Association.


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