A qualitative exploration of teachers’ perspective on smartphones usage in higher education in developing countries

Shakeel Iqbal, Zeeshan Ahmed Bhatti

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    Recently, Smartphone sales have surpassed the sales of all other computing devices including desktops, laptops and tablet PCs. Moreover, Smartphones have become a primary device to access the Internet as well as the most commonly used infotainment gadget among the Generations Y and Z (those born in 80s and 90s). Despite this widespread adoption of Smartphones among the youth, its usage in higher education is still a novice idea specifically in developing countries. This study is aimed at capturing the views of faculty members regarding usage of Smartphones for promoting learning at the tertiary level. In-depth interviews of 22 faculty members from different academic departments were conducted for this purpose. Responses of the interviewees were recorded which were later transcribed and analyzed to draw inferences. Results of this study indicate that the faculty members considered Smartphones to be an effective medium for off-campus learning and communication with peers and students. They also considered Smartphones suitable for explaining complex topics to their students as audio-visual content available over the Internet can easily be shared. However, majority of the respondents were skeptical about using Smartphones for educational purposes as they considered them to be a source of distraction, wastage of time, technostress, and emotional detachment. Moreover, they reported small size of both the screen and keyboard as an important limiting factor undermining the effective use of Smartphones in education. Lack of training and support, lack of technical knowledge and background, excessive work load and lack of incentives for using technology in education were reported as major barriers in adoption of Smartphones in higher learning landscape.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number29
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020


    • smartphones
    • higher education
    • m-learning
    • teachers' perceptions
    • barriers


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