The use of mobile phones is on the increase and the users are getting younger (Simsim, 2011). The mobile device is also evolving and getting better in terms of features, power storage capacity and access to different media.
There is a further shift of the cellular device from the simple basic mobile phone to smart phones which have high-speed internet access, downloadable applications, voice recording, mp3 playback, camera and basic word processing applications. This then means mobile phones provide a unique platform of information access that should be integrated into the education system (Charlton et al., 2002).
A peculiar aspect about the mobile phone is that it is now an all-in-one multimedia device and has important features that can prove important and effective in teaching language i.e. voice recording and mp3 playback (Hashemi and Ghasemi, 2011).
Recordings availed to students either by downloads or sharing (via Bluetooth for example) can help students have access to resources that help them with their pronunciation (Gromik, 2012).
Dictionaries too are available as applications on mobile devices and this would make for a good learning tool that is cheaper and less bulky. Other handy features like translation are also available over the internet and most mobile phones have access to the internet.
The use of mobile phones in pedagogy presents challenges inasmuch as it is a unique opportunity. The first issue is that not all pupils own a mobile phone and this brings in the challenge of uniformity in use of this technology. To effectively integrate the mobile phone as a learning tool would mean either the schools requiring that each pupil have a phone or schools providing the pupils with phones.
This could bring in an issue of cost thus hindering the use of mobile technology in teaching but contrary to this, Brown and Green (2012) noted that the mobile phone can be used as a cheaper replacement of the computer. The other major problem is the use of the mobile phone for activities that could prove counterproductive and disruptive in class such as accessing social media or texting during class (Gehlen-Baum and Weinberger, 2012).
The mobile phone has become a near-necessity to most people and is indispensable. Stakeholders in education should look for ways of integrating the mobile phone into the education system instead of demonizing the device as disruptive to learning (Kong, 2012).
A collaborative effort between educators and parents can ensure that the mobile phone is used to enhance learning and make school more fun for learners. This process should welcome the input of the learners themselves to help tweak the devices’ use to optimize learning and teaching (Goh and Kinshuk, 2006).
Brown, A., & Green, T. (2012). Issues and Trends in Instructional Technology: Lean Times, Shifts in Online Learning, and Increased Attention to Mobile Devices. Educational Media and Technology Yearbook, 67-80.
Charlton, T., Panting, C., & Hannan, A. (2002). Mobile Telephone Ownership and Usage among 10-and 11-year-olds. Emotional and behavioural difficulties, 7(3), 152-163.
Gehlen-Baum, V., & Weinberger, A. (2012). Notebook or Facebook? How Students Actually Use Mobile Devices in Large Lectures. 21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills, 103-112.
Goh, T., & Kinshuk, D. (2006). Getting Ready for Mobile Learning—Adaptation Perspective. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 15(2), 175-198.
Gromik, N. A. (2012). Cell Phone Video Recording Feature as a Language Learning Tool: A case study. Computers & Education, 58(1), 223-230.
Hashemi, M., & Ghasemi, B. (2011). Using Mobile Phones in Language Learning/Teaching. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 2947-2951.
Kong, S. C. (2012, March). Using mobile devices for learning in school education. In Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technology in Education (WMUTE), 2012 IEEE Seventh International Conference on (pp. 172-176).
Simsim, M. T. (2011). Internet Usage and User Preferences in Saudi Arabia. Journal of King Saud University-Engineering Sciences, 23(2), 101-107.