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2.2. CONCEPTUAL REVIEW
2.1 Need for Mobile Devices in Education
The scenario of the Ontario study carried out by Martins (2009) is based on at least three realistic observations: According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2004), mobile phone is a telephone that does not have wires and works by radio that can be carried with to use every where. According to Rich Ling (2003), the mobile phone has fundamentally affected our society, accessibility, safety, and security, co-ordination of social and business activities and use of public places. It has just become the part of culture of every region in the world.
The craze of mobile phone started after 1980’s in the world, but it has now touched the level of esteem. First it was just for a status symbol but now it has become a dire need of the day and is in the reach of everyone, even a person whose per month income is 2000 rupees.
According to a famous writer and researcher on mobile phone, Jon Agar (2005), until not very long ago, the mobile phone was expensive and preserve for a rich few. Today, the cell phone is everywhere and so common that it goes unnoticed. Mobile phone culture stepped in Nigeria in towards the end of the 20th century, but mobile phone got its fame after 2001 after the establishment of some cellular networks. Now, every one person out of two in the world and every one person out of three in Nigeria has a mobile phone.
According to the figures from Eurostate, the European Union's in-house statistical office (2006) the total number of mobile phone subscribers in the world was estimated at 2.14 billion in 2005. The subscriber count reached 2.7 billion by end of 2006, and 3.3 billion by November 2007, thus reaching an equivalent of over half the planet's population. Around 80% of the world's population has access to mobile phone coverage, as of 2006. This figure is expected to increase to 90% by the year 2010.
Over the last two decades educational 'technologists' developed and studied uses of computers for teaching and learning in general and specifically for accounting educationa1 purpose. While benefits become more obvious and results have encouraged some important changes in leading education systems (e.g.; Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and France are only a few countries where systems in which the use of graphic and symbolic software on PC or on handheld device are mandatory) availability is still an obstacle in major parts of the world for most teachers and students.
Although, desk computers are part of our daily culture, they are not portable and small enough to be a personal tool that each single student can use in school. Portable computers and PDAs are usually too expensive for use by all students. To address this problem a few leading makers, Casio and Texas Instrument (TI) among others, developed calculators providing specific applications for accounting learning. The most widely used applications are graphic and symbolic calculators (known also as CAS – computer algebra systems), number calculators and some geometry applications. Along the trends of current education and the improved capabilities of hardware, calculator makers invest in making the personal tool to function also as a communication device in class (The TI navigator for example) and to provide customizing options to users by allowing downloading new applications from the web or computers. They also improve the hardware by providing larger screens, larger keyboards and advanced input and data collection devices (such as temperature or light probes).
Obviously, such improved tools are far from cheap and require special investment for math class and reducing the chances of all school systems to benefit from it. The development of new uses and new hardware for mobile phones seem to move in the opposite direction: Starting from an always available personal device for verbal communication, functions have been added to create uses that would soon turn the phone to be the ultimate general purpose handbag and personal computer.
The education community has proved slow to explore the new reality that this device introduces. While there is still a lot to learn about uses of cellular phones for purposes other than phone calls, it becomes obvious that treating them only as a distraction to school and to the proper education is the wrong way to go (as we treated computers in school a generation ago). Mobile phones and mobile learning will allow students to learn anytime, anywhere and with any media. For example: the mobile phone already possesses the technological options that the industry of calculators is now seeking for pedagogical reasons. Thus mobility, availability and flexibility are the keywords here.
2.2 Trends in Mobile Phones Utilization
Mobile phones are highly popular all over the world: for example - in Hong Kong, the mobile phone penetration rate is 98.2% as of August 2003, and analysts predict that by the end of 2004, every Hong Kong person will own one mobile phone on average (Wong et al, 2004); In the UK it is estimated that 81% of 11-15 year olds and 96% of 16-24 year olds have a mobile phone (Lubega et al, 2004). If we add to the above the fact that people spend more than 50% of their time outside their office or classroom (Hayes et al, 2004), it is only understandable why mobile phone companies are working hard to develop the “3G” (3rd generation) mobile phones that will enable users not only to talk but actually do almost everything they now do with their PC.
The mobile phone market develops rapidly: the global mobile commerce market will reach 200 billion dollars by 2004; there will be more than 1 billion wireless internet subscribers worldwide by 2005; multi-purpose handheld devices (PDA and mobile phones) will outsell laptop/desktop computers combined by 2005 (Hayes, 2004). Besides its mobility, flexibility and availability, the mobile phone is also attractive because of its importance to teenage identity and friendship (Eldridge et al, 2001, at Attewell et al, 2003): Mobile phones are available and are part of the daily culture of almost every child.
The frequently offered content services offered on the cellular phone are:
SMS (short messaging services – text only),
EMS (enhanced messaging service – simple animation and sound)
MMS (multimedia messaging services – unlimited messages that contain graphics, pictures, and video)
POC (push to talk over the cellular) – direct connection without dialing, VoIP, Simplex connection.
Picturing video, sharing video, watching video on “real time” (video download, video streaming, video phone, and video on demand).
Games: Local and online games, Animation and 3D, Multi users games,
Online PIM (personal information management).
Tailored information & content presentation for different user interfaces (WCSS).
Emails and internet services.
Wireless village solution:
Presence: information about the user’s location, availability, state, connection mode and more.
Grouping and group definitions.
Sharing of content in a shared database.
Online information resources
TV and press online
Mob logging - Mobile ‘blogging’ websites offer an increasingly popular method for users to store & share their images by posting pictures, video and text from the mobile phone directly to the Internet, for free.
We therefore aim to probe how the availability of a common technology (not built for educational purposes) can become an effective part of learning and teaching and how mobile practices can have an impact on teaching and learning in general and specifically of accounting? How can we use the mobile phone as a smart mobile learning tool that students
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