THE USE OF GSM AS A MEDIUM FOR LEARNING: A STUDY OF ABU STUDENTS

THE USE OF GSM AS A MEDIUM FOR LEARNING: A STUDY OF ABU STUDENTS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The world is fast becoming a global village and a necessary tool for the process of communication, which the telecommunication is a key element.  The recent development in the Smartphone communication in Nigeria has entirely changed the attitudes of the people. Most especially, the educated elite in our society are very much interested in adapting to new innovations that will enable then utilize their potentials better.  As such, these group of elite in the society, are now more inclined towards mobile technology in learning and other activities. (Etukudo, 2009).

            The use of Smartphone for learning is not only restricted to students. Notwithstanding, Smartphone is used for exchanging ideas, currency conversion, as calculator, as dictionary, to play games; to communicate with family members, friends and well wishers. Smartphone is now use for social networking among others.

            In most urban centers in Africa and the world at large, Smartphone is used for money transfer from one financial institution to another on behalf of their customers. The benefits of Smartphone cannot be quantified. These Smartphone handsets use to come with additional capabilities in which the owner can add more facilities to suits his or her need. for instance, these Smartphone carries mobile Bible and Quran, facilities for internet linkage such as FaceBook, Yahoo, Goggle and even use to record, save and music and videos. All these facilities make Smartphone as one of the most formidable learning tool. Phone Users can talk with one another; record some spectacular moments of life’ listen to music, install games, applications, videos, transfer data and files to other compatible devices and visit world wide web (www). These are few basic qualities of the most modern Smartphone, which makes it (Smartphone) faster and easy for learning and surfing the net for academic materials. Its impact and uses can both be positive and negative, particularly in university environment. (Ofonime, 2009).

            However, since the world is fast growing in technologies, Smartphone has continued to be a necessary tool for Communication. Development in the telecommunication industry all over the world is very rapid, as one innovation replaces another. A major breakthrough is the telephone system, which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the Smartphone communication. Smartphone handset technologies have greatly increased the efficiency of communication to the extent that the process can send and receive messages around the world and within the Space with maximum speed and efficiency (Bittner 1989).

            In the year 2001, the Nigerian communication sector took a new dimension. The Smartphone was introduced and Nigerians embraced it.  Smartphone came, as a welcome development in Nigeria, because the world is now globalized and information technology is one factor that is responsible for that. With these, Nigeria has joined the league of  nations in the track of economic prosperity associated with communication technology. According to   NCC (2012) report release by National Communication Commission indicated that about 90 million Nigerians have access to mobile phones. No doubt this is a great impetus in the tele-communication industry. 

            In that same report, the percentage of mobile telecommunication subscribers in Nigeria is over 90% and this percentage clearly shows how much the country have accepted Smartphone as a tool for communication. The Smartphone communication has no doubt impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians considering the fact that it enables effective communication not only in cities but also in rural areas.  Nigerian Smartphone subscribers can now use their mobile phones to do many things including making voice calls, sending short messages services (Texts) and other high level services like transmitting (sending) and receiving still and line images, watching live events from any part of the world (Kazoh, 2008).

            Many scholars, presenters and writers like cook (2010), O’Dell (2009) have researched and discovered that people use Smartphone to communicate business, texts and relevant information. As such even institutions of learning had identified a lot of significance of the Smartphone communication to knowledge.  Hence, they use mobile phones to browse for assignments, communicate messages like fixed class and to chat as well as make new friends.

            The use of Smartphone has today cut across various groups in the society and institutions of learning. Farmers, Market women, Labourers, administrators, bankers, teachers, lecturers and students among others; all use Smartphone for one reason or the other. It is use to increase knowledge and learning in all areas of discipline.  Notwithstanding its negative effect, the positive impact to knowledge is said to foster development and learning, across the nation as well as the whole world. (Ofonime, 2009).

            Nowadays, even secondary school student have access to Smartphone.  These students used it to make calls, play games, browse information and engage in social networking among themselves. Nigerian University students such as Kaduna State University, University of Nigeria Students, University of Abuja Students and so on; make use of the Smartphone handset for diverse of purpose among which is used for acquiring of information for learning which is their basic reason of being in school.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

            Bones (1970) reported that technological explosion in communication has both great potential and great danger, the outcome depends on crucial decision making and on where and by whom they are taken.  Smartphone communication powered our access to information and enable new form of communication.  It also serves many online services in the sphere of education and provision of information.

            In a few pilot studies, (Hanaver, Dible, Fortin and Col, 2004), compared the relative effectiveness of three versions of hypermedia systems, namely, Text, Sound/Text, and Sound. The results indicate that those working with Sound could focus their attention on the critical information. Those working with the Text and Sound/Text version however, did not learn as much and stated their displeasure with reading so much text from the screen. Based on this study, it is clear at least at this time that such Web-based innovations cannot serve as an adequate substitute for face-to-face live instruction

            Ilo and Ifijeh, (2010), argue that schools should use funding to improve real education rather than invest in computer technology and rely on telecommunications for education. Furthermore they indicated that the computer was often a crutch that diverted time and resources from programs taught students to think and evaluate information. Online learning education does for knowledge what just-in-time delivery does for manufacturing: It delivers the right tools and parts when you need them. However, developing online learning is typically an intense process, which should take much of the faculty development time.

            Smartphone use in Nigeria has permeated all facets of activities in Nigeria. Everybody use the Smartphone to communicate and to learn. However, the use of Smartphone is more popular among students in higher institutions. This has led to an increased in the use of Smartphone for learning. Therefore, this study sets out to investigate the use of Smartphone as a tool for learning among students of Kaduna State University, Kaduna.

1.3       AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

            The aim of this paper is to promote a kind of social scientific understanding about the extent, efficiency and challenges in Smartphone use as medium for learning by students in higher institutions of learning. Therefore, in this regard, this study is to find out the following objectives;

1.         The level of usage of Smartphone communication by KASU students.

2.         To ascertain the impact of Smartphone on students learning process.

3.         To find out the factors which encouraged students to use the technology and imbibe it in their learning curriculum.

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

            In order to give the research a focus, the following research questions were raised;

1.         Do you have access to a mobile phone?

2.         Does G Smartphone aid learning among students?

3.         What is the level of Smartphone usage by students?

4.         What type or kind of learning can students gain from Smartphone usage?

5.         Is the usage of Smartphone affecting students learning habits?

6.         Is the use of Smartphone by students negative or positive?

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

            This research is significance because it is geared towards giving us a clear and concise understanding of the use of Smartphone among students of tertiary institutions to aid their learning process.

            It will also educate the students of KASU, Kaduna and students of other higher institutions of learning; on the best way to manage mobile phone in order to enhance effective communication and learning. It is in this context that this study hopes to contribute to the existing body of knowledge and also serve as secondary information to future researchers.

1.6       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

            The scope of this study is limited to the use of Smartphone as a medium for learning among students, a case study of Kaduna State University, Kaduna. The study will look into the uses of the Smartphone among Nigerian student of higher institutions of learning. It is narrowed down to students of Kaduna State University, Kaduna for the purpose of convenience.

1.7       LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

            This study is limited mainly for the general usage of Smartphone communication in Kaduna State University, Kaduna. The researcher will not be able to conduct a census study of all the users of Smartphone within the University, due to limited hands.  Financial constrain is another limitation, that is why the research is limited and carried out within the vicinity of KASU main campus here in Kaduna.

            Another limitation of this study as in the case of future use is the advancement of information and communication technology (ICT). Hence different companies and brand of Smartphone are coming out day by day.

1.8       DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS

Learning: This simply means to acquire knowledge or skills. In this context, it means how KASU students use Smartphone to learn.


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