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Are Mobile Phones a Learning Tool or a Distraction?


Concerns have been raised about students’ use of mobile phones to obtain non-educational content, impacting student engagement. On the other hand, this kind of distraction is not exclusive to mobile learning. Mobile learning offers students and instructors the option to access knowledge, no matter where they are instant. Students can adjust coursework to their learning style and pace. There are several benefits to using e-readers on mobile learning devices and their ability to help students retain knowledge. In addition, students may utilize “applications” to design flashcards for learning and edit assignments on Google documents. There is a variety of software, or “applications,” available for use on tablet-pcs that allow for flawless integration of information and provide easy access. Since students may work on their own devices, online classroom tools and apps are a great way to enhance lectures. Thus, this essay will focus on how mobile learning provides a considerable benefit to students and instructors that can be regarded as a bit of distraction that does not affect the overall quality of education.

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Access to information

Mobile learning has the effect of making the learning process more democratic, as students assume more responsibility for their education rather than being passively fed knowledge by an instructor. Mobile devices help students learn more effectively, allowing them to grasp a topic deeper than memorize enormous data and then utilize that understanding as a foundation for future learning. Students are provided with diagnostic and formative input during the learning process using mobile devices that enable assessment-centered learning feasible, allowing them to improve or learn new things (Nikolopoulou et al., 62). Students have relied on these gadgets during lectures to do research. Student-instructor interaction may be enhanced by the chance to review current evidence-based practice in scholarly journals and see real-time videos of clinical assessments in reality.

In this way, students are allowed to have a more active role in their education and become more involved in the process. A discussion about student-created online communities, such as Facebook groups, may provide light on the concept of sharing and cooperation among students using mobile devices. Students may utilize this online resource to create an open forum where all cohort members can post and respond to each other’s messages. Students’ assignment due dates, lecture topics, and web-based material and films can be discussed in the Facebook group. Hence, mobile devices’ processing speed and simple access to information have made such applications more convenient as students may monitor and reply to posts from their mobile devices.

Self-paced learning

Teachers are well informed that students learn at varying paces throughout their educational careers. Students frequently get frustrated when they are forced to learn a subject or lesson in a certain amount of time in a traditional classroom setting. Mobile learning solves this problem by enabling students to study at their own pace, thus acquiring relevant and up-to-date material for their assignments and projects without going to the library (Christensen et al., 115). Technology-integrated educators perceive more advantages from mobile learning, prefer online or blended instruction, and acknowledge external effects on implementation. Because of eLearning, students may learn whenever convenient for them, without feeling obligated to finish a course or assignment instantly. It also allows students to read ahead before class to understand what they will be learning in the course. The applications available for download on these devices allow students to engage with knowledge visually without interfering with other students learning experiences

Discovering the most effective ways to deploy mobile devices to increase learning effectively is an essential issue that requires rigorous study. If one compares this to traditional schools, where pupils are subjected to too many constraints, this is a significant advancement (Christensen et al., 115). This is because focused professional development may guarantee that mobile learning is successfully integrated into classroom settings to allow students to learn at their own pace. Also, professional development for teachers is essential if they use mobile devices in the classroom effectively. With the proliferation of new e-learning platforms, students can have the freedom to study whenever and wherever they wish.

Counter Argument

Students are particularly vulnerable to the types of distractions that cell phones may present. When a mobile phone is used in the classroom, it may rapidly transition from “classroom learning aid” to “classroom distraction.” Students who use their mobile phones to check messages or text their friends cause distractions for themselves and their classmates in class. Using third-party applications in the classroom might be risky due to the lack of compatibility across different devices. The built-in functionalities of smartphones and tablets allow for a wide range of communication and multimedia applications (Wang et al., 922). Teachers need to be mindful of possible differences in device compatibility among students and thus may have to share gadgets in some instances. Additionally, the limited screen size of mobile devices in the classroom may impede functionality in both reading and writing. Although the most popular applications are usually accessible for iOS and Android, this is not always the case.

The use of concordance software, which provides students with examples of words, phrases, and idioms used by proficient speakers, is also problematic for learning a new language. However, depending on the site, the touch screen may not appear optimally on a tiny screen when accessed through a browser on mobile devices (Wang et al., 922). It is also worth noting that specific applications are free while others are not. When an app is published as “freemium,” certain features or functionalities are provided free, but others must be paid for.

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Counter argument refutation

One strategy to improve the dynamism of classroom learning is to allow students to contribute through mobile devices. Students can collaborate more effectively while doing assignments digitally since they can communicate online. Students better learn when they are taught in forms they are familiar with, not only at an appropriate pace. For example, some students are auditory learners, while others are visual learners. Mobile learning helps students’ learning styles and preferences to be seldomly considered in the classroom (Kumar et al., 11). Teachers may use slideshows, images, audio files, and YouTube videos to accommodate different learning styles and reinforce what was taught in their classroom or virtual classroom. Learning systems continually add gamified components, so even taking an online exam may be more entertaining and engaging (Kumar et al., 11). Students are less prone to become distracted if their interests and creativity are piqued from the start. Mobile learning can support a wide range of media and eLearning elements, allowing for a dynamic and engaging learning environment.

Works Cited

Christensen, Rhonda, and Gerald Knezek. “Readiness for Integrating Mobile Learning in the Classroom: Challenges, Preferences and Possibilities.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 76, 2017, pp. 112-121.

Kumar, Bimal Aklesh, and Priya Mohite. “Usability of Mobile Learning Applications: A Systematic Literature Review.” Journal of Computers in Education, vol. 5, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-17.

Nikolopoulou, Kleopatra, et al. “Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt Mobile Learning in Classrooms: A Study in Greece.” Technology, Knowledge and Learning, vol. 26, no. 1, 2021, pp. 53-77.

Wang, Cixiao, et al. “Learning Performance and Cognitive Load in Mobile Learning: Impact of Interaction Complexity.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 34, no. 6, 2018, pp. 917-927.

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