Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: Student perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads

Student Perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads #edtech

From my previous post about designing Blackboard courses for a mobile-first delivery, and the discussion I’ve been having with Peter Reed and friends on his blog, this paper came at a good time to further the question “do we need this?” – AJET: “Student Perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads”

Well, do we? The paper concludes in saying that the students “did not demand mobile learning and were in fact mostly neutral about the experience” and that “they did not perceive a notable improvement to their learning” (Kinesh et al, 2012). While the students did not report an opposition to the inclusion of the mobile App, they also are not reported to have had any prior experience of it, a preference to mobile learning that was not limited to Blackboard Mobile Learn, nor they opinions (positive or negative) to mobile learning in general. 

It’s also worth noting that the paper was written before the recent upgrade to the App, where the appearance was still the rather tacky ‘chalk on blackboard’ approach. I like the new interface, it’s clean and tidy, but it has some issues which I won’t go into here.

Perhaps it’s still too early to say whether an institutionally provided mobile learning infrastructure will appeal to students, or whether they will shun one in favour of the more open or public systems like Facebook , but the question still remains … “should we be designing our courses for a mobile-first approach?”

I do wholeheartedly agree with the final statement in that “educators are to be encouraged to use mobile learning in their suite of approaches to quality teaching and learning in higher education”, this is reflected in my contribution to the Improving Learning with Mobile Technology eBook last year.

Reference
Kinash, S., Brand, J. & Mathew, T. (2012). Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: Student perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(4), 639-655. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/kinash.html

Image source: University Life 30 (CC BY 2.0)