Special Issue "Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Curriculum and Instruction".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 8104

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kendall Hartley
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3005, USA
Interests: self-regulated learning; smartphones and learning; multimedia development; instructional design
Prof. Dr. Alberto Andujar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philology, University of Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain
Interests: CALL; MALL; mobile learning; virtual environments; technology-mediated learning; language testing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The smartphone has become the primary computational device for people, and the implications of this when it comes to teaching and learning are profound. The smartphone is distinct from other common mobile learning tools in that it is uniquely personal (i.e., not shared), flexible, powerful, and for most, indispensable.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to explore the role of the smartphone in teaching, learning, and educational research within the framework of learning theory. Important learning frameworks such as self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 2012), self-regulated learning theory (Schunk and Greene, 2018), and cognitive load theory (van Merriënboer and Sweller, 2005), among others, need to be utilized in support of our understanding of the role of the smartphone in learning (Mayer, 2020). It is our hope that this issue will provide a roadmap for educational research that explicates the challenges and opportunities from this ubiquitous device.

Of particular interest is the balance of supportive technology use (e.g., engagement in germane learning activities) with the potential for off-task behavior (e.g., monitoring social media during class).

We are seeking scholarly reviews or research related to smartphones and learning. We invite scholarly articles that explore from a learning theory perspective:

  • Implications for learning in the content areas (e.g., mathematics, languages, social sciences, physical science, health education, and others);
  • Mobile and distance learning (including opportunities for a rapid response necessitated by a global pandemic);
  • Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL);
  • Technical advances and affordances such as augmented and virtual reality;
  • Use in informal learning environments.

Much of the literature to this point has focused on mobile learning or m-learning (Bernacki et al., 2020; Fu and Hwang, 2018; Lai, 2020). This encompasses not only smartphones but also tablets and personal digital assistants (PDAs, e.g., Apple’s Newton). The smartphone is distinct in that it is not a shared device, and it has 24/7 connectivity. In addition, the fact that it is an easy-to-use tool for recording (audio and video) and sharing increases the authenticity of communications (Andujar & Salaberri-Ramiro, 2019). These attributes have implications for integration in education, and the aim of this Special Issue is to begin to address these implications.

Dr. Kendall Hartley
Prof. Dr. Alberto Andujar
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Smartphones and learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Learning theory
  • Language learning

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Teenagers’ Smartphone Use during Homework: An Analysis of Beliefs and Behaviors around Digital Multitasking
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 713; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11110713 - 05 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
Although research suggests that phone usage during academic activities is problematic for learning and performance, little is known about high school students’ digital multitasking during homework. This exploratory descriptive study surveyed 135 students from four public U.S. high schools to investigate teenagers’ attitudes [...] Read more.
Although research suggests that phone usage during academic activities is problematic for learning and performance, little is known about high school students’ digital multitasking during homework. This exploratory descriptive study surveyed 135 students from four public U.S. high schools to investigate teenagers’ attitudes towards digital distraction, smartphone use during homework, cell phone dependence, and motivations for digital multitasking. Our findings suggested that teens were distracted during homework about 38% of the time, and both mind-wandering and the use of digital devices contributed to this distraction. Of the students surveyed, 64% believed that they should focus more during homework than they currently did, and most were willing to try strategies such as silencing their phone or putting it out of sight. However, many were not currently using such strategies, and our data suggested that students may be spending approximately 204 h per year trying to complete homework but unintentionally distracted from it. We explored their current motivations and beliefs as a necessary first step for the creation of future interventions to help teens reduce their digital multitasking during homework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
Smartphone Handwritten Circuits Solver Using Augmented Reality and Capsule Deep Networks for Engineering Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 661; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11110661 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
Resolving circuit diagrams is a regular part of learning for school and university students from engineering backgrounds. Simulating circuits is usually done manually by creating circuit diagrams on circuit tools, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. We propose an innovative method of [...] Read more.
Resolving circuit diagrams is a regular part of learning for school and university students from engineering backgrounds. Simulating circuits is usually done manually by creating circuit diagrams on circuit tools, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. We propose an innovative method of simulating circuits from hand-drawn diagrams using smartphones through an image recognition system. This method allows students to use their smartphones to capture images instead of creating circuit diagrams before simulation. Our contribution lies in building a circuit recognition system using a deep learning capsule networks algorithm. The developed system receives an image captured by a smartphone that undergoes preprocessing, region proposal, classification, and node detection to get a Netlist and exports it to a circuit simulator program for simulation. We aim to improve engineering education using smartphones by (1) achieving higher accuracy using less training data with capsule networks and (2) developing a comprehensive system that captures hand-drawn circuit diagrams and produces circuit simulation results. We use 400 samples per class and report an accuracy of 96% for stratified 5-fold cross-validation. Through testing, we identify the optimum distance for taking circuit images to be 10 to 20 cm. Our proposed model can identify components of different scales and rotations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
The Use of Mobile Applications in Higher Education Classrooms: An Exploratory Measuring Approach in the University of Aveiro
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 484; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11090484 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
The proliferation of mobile devices and mobile applications has changed the way people communicate, work, and study, namely in higher education contexts. However, users have very different application usage habits from each other, and the data collecting instruments that typically support the studies [...] Read more.
The proliferation of mobile devices and mobile applications has changed the way people communicate, work, and study, namely in higher education contexts. However, users have very different application usage habits from each other, and the data collecting instruments that typically support the studies usually rely on the perception that users report on their use. Hence, the reported user perception may not match the actual usage. Based on an exploratory approach, this article aims to analyze the use of mobile applications by students at the University of Aveiro. The study has a mixed approach that contemplates non-participant observation, the application of a survey, and log analysis. The triangulation between log records, the obtained data from the non-participant observation, and the surveys allows for a more objective assessment of the user profiles and will help to identify potential discrepancies between self-perception and actual use of mobile devices. The main conclusions show that the usage is quite significant and there is a huge tendency for the use of social media during classes. The most used applications are social networks which had a more intensive use than reported in the surveys. The methodology is also an important output of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
Design, Validity and Effect of an Intra-Curricular Program for Facilitating Self-Regulation of Learning Competences in University Students with the Support of the 4Planning App
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11080449 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Background: Smartphone applications have the potential to support university students for the benefit of learning in higher education. Objective: To design and evaluate the effect of an intra-curricular program using a mobile application on self-regulated learning strategies in university students. Method: The 4Planning [...] Read more.
Background: Smartphone applications have the potential to support university students for the benefit of learning in higher education. Objective: To design and evaluate the effect of an intra-curricular program using a mobile application on self-regulated learning strategies in university students. Method: The 4Planning mobile application was designed following a systematic literature review, expert judgement and application. The instrument to assess the effect of the intervention was the SRL Readiness Practices Scale, with a one-factor structure (CFI = 0.98; TLI = 0.97; RMSEA = 0.05) with reliability of α = 0.89. The design was quasi-experimental with pre- and post-test measures and experimental and control groups. The sample consisted of 473 first-year university students (37.02% male) from seven Chilean universities with a mean age of 19.35 (SD = 2.49). Statistical analysis was an ANOVA performed in R software version 4.0.3. Results: Statistically significant differences were identified in the levels of self-regulated learning between the experimental group compared to the control group. Conclusion: The development of the 4Planning app proved to be effective in promoting the development of self-regulated learning strategies in university students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
Smartphone Use among Undergraduate STEM Students during COVID-19: An Opportunity for Higher Education?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 417; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11080417 - 10 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students worldwide have continued their education remotely. One of the challenges of this modality is that students need access to devices such as laptops and smartphones. Among these options, smartphones are the most accessible because of their lower [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students worldwide have continued their education remotely. One of the challenges of this modality is that students need access to devices such as laptops and smartphones. Among these options, smartphones are the most accessible because of their lower price. This study analyzes the usage patterns of smartphone users of undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This cross-sectional descriptive study included 365 students: 162 (44.4%) women and 203 (55.6%) men from a Chilean university. The results revealed that students often accessed the learning management system (LMS) with their computers rather than with their smartphones. Students were connected to the LMS for more hours on their computers than on their smartphones. However, they spent more hours simultaneously connected on their computers and smartphones than just on their computers. During the day, students accessed the LMS mainly from 13:00 to 1:00. The number of connections decreased from 1:00 to 8:00 and increased from 8:00 to 13:00. The LMS resource that students accessed the most using smartphones was discussion forums, while the one they accessed the least was wiki pages. We expect these results to motivate faculties to schedule their activities during the hours students tend to be online and promote discussion forums. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
Mobile Learning in Pre-Service Teacher Education: Perceived Usefulness of AR Technology in Primary Education
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11060275 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Mobile learning is a resource that can enhance the teaching-learning process of students and improve the training of future teachers. Specifically, augmented reality (AR) technology allows for immersive and experiential learning without the need to leave the classroom. The purposes of this paper [...] Read more.
Mobile learning is a resource that can enhance the teaching-learning process of students and improve the training of future teachers. Specifically, augmented reality (AR) technology allows for immersive and experiential learning without the need to leave the classroom. The purposes of this paper were to apply AR technology in the training of future Primary Education teachers and to analyze the perceived usefulness of AR in the classroom by future teachers. A quantitative approach was used based on a design with a control group and two experimental groups with a post-test using a sample of 171 second-year students studying an education degree. The results showed that experimentation with AR promoted a slight increase in student motivation. However, no significant differences were found between the control group and the experimental groups. Finally, the findings allowed us to establish that the implementation of resources such as AR does not differ in the opinion of future teachers about the inclination to implement AR in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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Article
An Augmented Reality-Based Mobile Application Facilitates the Learning about the Spinal Cord
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 376; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci10120376 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Health education is one of the knowledge areas in which augmented reality (AR) technology is widespread, and it has been considered as a facilitator of the learning process. In literature, there are still few studies detailing the role of mobile AR in neuroanatomy. [...] Read more.
Health education is one of the knowledge areas in which augmented reality (AR) technology is widespread, and it has been considered as a facilitator of the learning process. In literature, there are still few studies detailing the role of mobile AR in neuroanatomy. Specifically, for the spinal cord, the teaching–learning process may be hindered due to its abstract nature and the absence of three-dimensional models. In this sense, we implemented a mobile application with AR technology named NitLabEduca for studying the spinal cord with an interactive exploration of 3D rotating models in the macroscopic scale, theoretical content of its specificities, animations, and simulations regarding its physiology. To investigate NitLabEduca’s effects, eighty individuals with and without previous neuroanatomy knowledge were selected and grouped into control and experimental groups. Divided, they performed learning tasks through a questionnaire. We used the System Usability Scale (SUS) to evaluate the usability level of the mobile application and a complimentary survey to verify the adherence level to the use of mobile applications in higher education. As a result, we observed that participants of both groups who started the task with the application and finished with text had more correct results in the test (p < 0.001). SUS results were promising in terms of usability and learning factor. We concluded that studying the spinal cord through NitLabEduca seems to favor learning when used as a complement to the printed material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smartphones: Challenges and Opportunities for Learning)
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