Perceptions of Using Smart Mobile Devices in Higher Education Teaching: A Case Study from Palestine
Smart mobile devices (SMDs), especially smartphones and tablets, are becoming increasingly ubiquitous among educators and students in Palestine. While their use is on the rise, many academics are not effectively incorporating this technology into their teaching, which may be attributable to their negative perceptions of these devices. This study therefore examined academics’ perceptions of the value of integrating SMDs into their teaching activities. A questionnaire survey collected data from 56 academic staff of the Palestine Technical University - Kadoorie, eliciting perceptions of the physical attributes of SMDs, participants’ self-efficacy, the pedagogical affordance of mobile devices and challenges to their use in teaching. The findings show that participants were still at the stage of actively experimenting with smartphones and iPads, trialing their use at different levels and for different purposes. In general, although participants were unaware of the full potential of their functionalities, they viewed positively the various pedagogical affordances of integrating these devices into their teaching activities. The most important affordances were linking formal and informal learning spaces by providing anywhere-anytime learning opportunities, and developing interest in the subject matter, thus making learning experience more enjoyable, meaningful, and accessible. The results also identify various challenges including lack of experience and knowledge, finding the time to design and implement such integration, and selecting appropriate apps for the content being taught. Participants also expressed concerns with the limited connectivity and unreliability of Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks in Palestine.