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CTL experiments with mobile technology in teaching and learning
2016-05-23

Description: CTL experiments with mobile technology  Tags: CTL experiments with mobile technology

On the left is Nokukhanya Nkosi, Researcher and Project manager at the Centre for Teaching and Learning presenting Annah Nggoepe her brand new laptop as part of the project which assesses the impact of personal mobile devices on teaching and learning.
Photo: Supplied

Video clip

Same curriculum. Add technology. Wait and see what happens. This research project which is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) seeks to understand the impact of personal mobile devices (PMD) in teaching and learning.

The University of the Free State (UFS), in conjunction with the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Johannesburg, and Sol Plaatje University, was approached by the DHET to spearhead this national collaborative project. Investigating whether the financial investment of a PMD on either the part of a university or of students adds value to the teaching and learning experience is the overall objective of the project.

Contemporary education
The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the UFS have been taking an active part in the project since 2015, focusing specifically on the use of personal mobile devices in teaching and learning by both staff and students.

At the student level, the study will focus specifically on not just the obstacles that first-generation students face in terms of using technology in teaching and learning, but how institutions can support these students through access to these devices.  “In 2015, the CTL conducted the Digital Identity Study of students which highlighted the view that students at the UFS deemed laptops to be the most important PMD in their studies,” said Nokukhanya Nkosi, Researcher and Project manager at the CTL.   

In April 2016, thirty students were presented with laptops funded by the project grant. For the next two years, the CTL will assess whether these laptops enable greater flexibility and effectiveness of teaching and learning, both inside and out of the classroom for these students.  

Rise of the digital classroom
Annah Ngoepe, a second-year Geography and Environmental Management student taking part in this study, commends the shift from using only textbooks in the past to incorporating technology. “The laptop has the latest applications and programmes, which are convenient for me as a student, because they help in my learning. I can also download textbooks, get summaries of the textbooks, and even other people’s views on a particular subject online.”

Tiana van der Merwe, Deputy Director at the CTL, anticipates that, after two years, the Centre would be able to make not only institutional recommendations, but also recommendations to the National Department of Higher Education.

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