A significant increase in the technological use of observes in higher education because educational technology has an impact on the ways nurses could learn and take care of patients (Merrill, 2015). Technological tools could help students with patient-centered care including self-directing, time-saving, and cost-saving details, skill-building, and increased proficiency. However, educational technologies could dehumanize patient care and replace such skills as critical thinking and problem-solving. Therefore, nurses have to understand the essence of every educational technology. In this paper, mobile learning technology in the form of smartphones will be discussed.
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Nowadays, a variety of devices could be used to deliver tasks and assessments for students. Test takers could find the required portion of information via such devices as desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, or smartphones (Popp, Tuzinski, & Fetzer, 2016). Smartphones introduce a new type of educational technology with several expanded functions including the possibilities to use the Internet at any time (Phillippi & Wyatt, 2011).
Billions of people use smartphones around the whole world. Many institutions do not find it necessary to use smartphones as the main educational technology in classrooms. Some tutors do not appreciate the idea of using smartphones by students because of the inabilities to think critically and analyze the required portion of material independently. Still, smartphones have several positive outcomes of nursing education. Therefore, several discussions on the topic of smartphones in nursing education occur today.
Many people believe that the first smartphones appeared at the beginning of the 2000s and were offered in the form they have today. The history of smartphones is longer than the majority of people think. Simon, the first smartphone, combined the features of personal digital assistants and cellular devices and was offered by BellSouth in 1994 (Krajci & Cummings, 2013). However, the idea of smartphones had even deeper roots and was discussed by the developers in the 1970s. In 1996, the first Nokia communicators appeared. In the early 2000s, several smartphone models were introduced to consumers.
Nowadays, thousands of smartphone models are available to people worldwide, and many of them are used in education and nursing education, in particular. Blackberry devices were introduced to the field of nursing in 2002 so that the era of smartphones in nursing education began that year (Doswell, Braxter, Dabbs, Nilsen, & Klem, 2013).
Mobile Learning in Nursing Education
Mobile learning is frequently used in nursing education because it is cheaper and more universal than the idea to use PDAs (Zhan, 2014). Students use smartphones to get quick access to a variety of educational materials and guidelines offered and updated by tutors in a short period. A learning process could be facilitated considerably with the help of numerous downloadable applications and subscriptions (Zhan, 2014).
It does not take much time to find an e-book and read it via a smartphone. Students and tutors could exchange important information for several minutes. Sometimes, people do not have enough time or do have some personal reasons for why they cannot meet each other, share the required portion of information, ask questions, or make some clarifications. Smartphones could be used from anywhere where access to the Internet is present.
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Parker (2014) points out that, in the sphere of health care, the use of smartphones has grown considerably, and bring-your-own-device policies are supported by many organizations in different states. Nursing education could benefit a lot with smartphones in case tutors and students are provided with the information about how to use smartphones, how to avoid risks, and how to develop personal skills with the chosen educational technology.
Mobile Learning as a Benefit or Detriment to Nursing Education
Several organizations and institutions try to re-visit their policies and standards to clarify the role of smartphones. Some students cannot define the boundaries when it is beneficial to use smartphones and when it is unnecessary or even harmful to use smartphones. There are many ethical and security considerations that students pay no attention to. For example, one two out of five people use some security precautions to avoid criminal hackers or other threats available online (Parker, 2014). Several tutors, students, and other users of smartphones, who are involved in health care and nursing, admit that face-to-face interactions and communication have been considerably changed and worsened when people started using smartphones (Doswell et al., 2013).
However, mobile learning in the form of smartphones has several benefits that cannot be neglected by people. First, access to the Internet is a very helpful option. In case students ask some questions that cannot be answered by tutors or just want to check the correctness of the answer, they could surf the web with ease and get the answer in several seconds. Smartphones also replace the necessity of huge screens and unnecessary techniques to observe the video.
Each student can turn on the video and watch it in the most comfortable position. Finally, social learning via smartphone is one of the latest achievements of students. Nursing education could be improved in case students, tutors, and nursing experts could share their experience, ask questions, and get answers on a required subject.
People, who try to evaluate the worth of smartphones in nursing education, could find several options to consider. On the one hand, there are many challenges and concerns about the ways of how students could use smartphones in classrooms. On the other hand, tutors have to spend much time to clarify how to use smartphones and control students’ activities in classrooms. To evaluate the impact of smartphones in nursing education, it is possible to interview students and tutors, create questionnaires, and develop special topics on forums online. Such activities could help to gather opinions from different parts of the world and clarify how smartphones are or could be used in nursing education.
In general, mobile learning is widely spread in nursing education. Many students and tutors find it interesting and effective to use smartphones in the classrooms and benefit from the opportunities available. Though there are some concerns and challenges for people to deal with, the benefits prevail and make developers focus on new functions of smartphones that could be used by nursing students and educators.
Doswell, W., Braxter, B., Dabbs, A.D., Nilsen, W., & Klem, M.L. (2013). mHealth: Technology for nursing practice, education, and research. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 3(10), 99-109.
Krajci, I., & Cummings, D. (2013). Android on X86: An introduction to optimizing for Intel ® architecture. New York, NY: Apress.
Merrill, E.B. (2015). Integrating technology into nursing education. ABNF Journal, 26(4), 72-73.
Parker, C.D. (2014). Evolution or revolution? Smartphone use in nursing practice. American Nurse Today. Web.
Phillippi, J.C., & Wyatt, T.H. (2011). Smartphones in nursing education. Computer, Informatics, Nursing: CIN, 29(8), 449-454.
Popp, E.C., Tuzinski, K., & Fetzer, M. (2016). Actor or avatar? Considerations in selecting appropriate formats for assessment content. In F. Drasgow (Ed.), Technology and testing: Improving educational and psychological measurement (pp. 79-103).New York, NY: Routledge.
Zhan, J. (2014). Evaluating and designing smartphone applications for nursing education. International Conference on Computer, Communications and Information Technology: Advances in Intelligent Systems Research, 87, 209-212.