Impact Of Handheld Devices On Postgraduate Students In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Impact Of Handheld Devices On Postgraduate Students In Nigeria


Abstract


Handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular among students, setting out a new way to communicate, collaborate and learn. The use of portable devices has the capability to inspire new approaches to learning. It is therefore important to examine the students‟ viewpoints about the educational use of mobile technology in supporting the learning process. The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of handheld devices for learning purposes by exploring the kinds of interactions that students in Nigerian universities have with their portable gadgets. A sample of 240 post graduate students participated in the study by completing the researchers‟ questionnaire. The results of the study indicate that students use their portable devices to exchange education-related messages and academic files with classmates, search the internet and library databases for academic materials, practice online quizzes or tests and hold discussions with classmates among others. The statistical analyses result show that there is no significant difference in the students‟ use of mobile devices based on gender.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

A handheld can simply be defined as any portable device that can be carried and held in one’s hand. A handheld can also be said to be any computing or electronic device that is compact and portable enough to be held and used in one or both hands. A handheld may contain cellular communication, but this category can also include other computing devices.

Mobile learning, the use of portable electronic devices to access and share information, is a trend in higher education that cannot be under estimated in achieving academic excellence, and is redefining the manner in which teaching and learning takes place and how instruction is delivered by teachers (Geist, 2011; Miller, 2012). Mobile learning presents students and professionals with the unique opportunity to access information instantaneously regardless of location and time (Rossing, Miller, Cecil, & Stamper, 2012). This means that learning can occur anywhere at any time through the use of these hand held devices. Hand held Devices commonly used are smart phones; scientific and non scientific calculators or tablet computers. More specifically, the iPad and note pads is currently at the forefront of tablet use accounting for 97% of all tablet based web traffic in 2011 (Arnet, 2012). Although the implementation of hand held device use is well documented in post graduate students ,there is limited research supporting the use of these tools in higher education (Kessler, 2012). However, literature related to hand held device use at the tertiary level of education is proving to be positive and influential on student learning and academic performance. Current research has validated the potential of these hand held devices as they have been found to facilitate engagement and participation in discussion when used in the classroom teaching and learning (Rossing et. al, 2012). Moreover, students report that use of Hand held devices allows them to adapt course content to fit their learning style and pace (Rossing et. al, 2012). Hand held devices have also been found to be efficacious in the consumption of information with one of its most notable capabilities being its utility as an e-reader. Students are choosing to buy e-books that they can easily download on their tablets, while professors are choosing to upload excerpts from texts as pdf files and sharing them with students (Geist, 2011). Publishers are seeking ways to stay viable in this new market and looking to exploit the capabilities of tablet-pcs by creating visual interfaces and multimedia built in to their e-books to make learning more interactive (“iPad in Education”, n.d.)This is particularly important as a study by Rossing et. al (2012) found that the visual and tactile learning opportunities presented by these devices made the learning experience more “hands-on”. Similarly, studies have found that tablet-pcs have applications that serve as study aides and productivity tools for students. Not only were students able to use “apps” to help create flashcards for studying, but they were also able to access and edit documents on Google docs for assignments (Miller, 2012). The design of tablet-pcs combines e-reading capabilities with web-browsing, as well as an assortment of applications, or ‘apps’ that facilitate the integration of information by making accessibility instantaneous (Rossing et. al, 2012). Due to these capabilities and their potential to revolutionize education, these tools are highly relevant to higher education.


1.2 Statement of Problem

The poor academic performance of students in Nigerian higher institutions in various disciplines has reached an alarming rate as it has negatively affected the educational sector. These poor academic performance of students as led to the graduation of half baked graduates annually from our Nigerian tertiary institutions which has an adverse impact on the human resource capacity of the nation since these are the leaders of tomorrow.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to assess the impact of handheld devices on post graduate student performance.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Ascertain the extent to which hand held devices are being utilized among post graduate students.
  2. Find out the extent to which the use of hand held devices will affect students’ performance post graduate studies.
  3. Comparison of under graduate and post graduate students using hand held devices.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the various uses of handheld devices in school?
  2. To what extent do post graduate students use these handheld devices?
  3. How different do post graduate students use house held devices from undergraduates?

1.4 Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant difference in the number of post graduate students using hand held devices and those who do not.
  2. There is no significant relationship in the extent to which the use of hand held devices impact students’ performance in the post graduate level.
  3. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students using hand held devices in undergraduate and post graduate Schools.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The would be of immense importance to government at all levels, Nigerian tertiary institutions and relevant stakeholders as it would examine the impact of handheld devices of students academic performance. The study would also benefit researchers, students and scholars who are interested in developing further works on the subject matter.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The work is restricted to the impact of handheld devices on the academic performance of post graduates in Usman danfodio university Sokoto State.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of the Principal Findings

This study focused on the impact of hand held devices on the performance of post graduate students in Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria.

However, the following findings were made from the study:

  1. Ninety Seven 97 (%) of post graduate students have access to hand held devices either through their parents, friends or personal.
  2. The performance of post graduate students.is not significantly affected by their access to hand held devices.
  3. There was no significant difference in the performance of both under graduate and post graduate students

5.3 Conclusion

In conclusion, hand held devices which are in different types/models each for specific tasks/functions are essential gadgets possessed by an average school student. This concluded research has strongly showed there was no vast influence on post graduate students’ academic performance.


5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this work, the following recommendations were formulated:

  1. Post graduate students need to be re-orientated on the need to set their priorities right. This drive towards reorientation must be championed by the school management in conjunction with the parents/guardians of the students. While the usage of hand held devices by students cannot be outlawed drastically, they need to be continuously informed on the positive and negative impacts of their usage and of the problems deriving from the over-dependency and unregulated use of their mobile phones.
  2.  Similarly, the school management must be more alive to their responsibilities by ensuring conformity to the school laid down rules and regulations on student’s use of mobile phone device during class session.

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