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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 secondary and tertiary education ,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. STATAMENT OF THE GENERAL 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 effect on the human resource capacity of the nation since these are the leaders of tomorrow.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of handheld devices on academic performance of undergraduates. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the level of use of handheld devices in tertiary institutions.
2. To determine the impact of the use of handheld devices on the academic performance of students.
3. To know if teachers/lecturers support the use of handheld devices in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
4. To recommend ways of improving students academic performances.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of use of handheld devices in tertiary institutions?
2. What is the impact of the use of handheld devices on the academic performance of students?
3. Do teachers/lecturers support the use of handheld devices in Nigerian tertiary institutions?
4. What are the ways of improving students’ academic performances in our tertiary institutions?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: The use of handheld devices does not influences academic performance of undergraduates.
H1: The use of handheld devices influences academic performance of undergraduates.
1.6. 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.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The work is restricted to the impact of handheld devices on the academic performance of undergraduates in Usman danfodio university Sokoto State.
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.
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