Home » education, information literacy, mobile, research


17 December 2008 5 Comments


My report is finished - to final proof-reading stage anyway and I am feeling good! I thought I would pop my abstract up here for people to have a look at… The report will be made available through the efellows website in the next few weeks and no doubt I will pop a copy up on this website too.

18463461_3a74ff3be6_o1Ubiquitous Information

An eFellow report on the use of mobile phones in classrooms to foster information literacy skills


The technological capabilities of mobile technology such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are developing at a furious pace. These incredibly advanced pieces of hardware are available readily and for most as must have consumer items, particularly amongst our youth – genY, the iPod generation, the “prod-users”. This technology has seen a fundamental change in this generation from those before. These students are always connected and always available.

This report considers the impact ‘anytime’ access to information via access to the mobile internet will have on teaching and learning in the future. It explores the potential applications for mobile phones in the classroom and the skills that our students will need in order to cope with the mass of information on-demand that is available to them.

The research conducted for the purpose of this report involved a class set of 30 3G mobile phones being made available for a single unit of work by three different classes; a Year 12 Media Studies, Year 9 Social Studies and a general Year 8 class. Each unit of work ran for approximately 5-7 weeks. The teachers involved in the study were given support to learn how to use various functions of the mobile phones and to plan their unit of work.

The findings of this report indicate the following:

  • applications and tools available for use via a mobile phone, including access to the world wide web, have a great deal of potential for use in schools. Currently cost of data is the single biggest factor in limiting this use.
  • while as teachers we are constantly being told our students are ‘digital natives’, many of our students are not as au fait with technology as teachers are led to believe. Students are being labelled the ‘net-gen’ and teachers who have been told that they are ‘digital immigrants’ often do not see that the skills they believe their students to have are not always present. While students may seem very ‘tech savvy’ they still need to be taught the skills to deal with the world that their use of technology gives them access to, namely the world wide web and information overload.
  • key factors identified by secondary school teachers as impacting their ability to teach information literacy included limited access to resources (particularly technologies for accessing the world wide web), access to professional development and the impact of timetabling leading to a highly segmented curriculum.


  • Mel Gibb said:

    Congratulations on finishing your report. Enjoyed the snippet (abstract) can’t wait to read the full report!

    Totally agree with your statements about our digital natives not being as au fait with technology. While Mark Prensky has written some great material, more and more I dismiss the terms digital native and digital immigrant because they are so misleading.

    Look forward to reading more!


  • Shane said:

    Congratulations. I have been following you keenly since hearing your interview with Chris Betcher on the Virtual Staffroom. I look forward to being able to read the full report. Thansk for the inspiration and information.

  • Dorothy said:

    What a relief for you to be at this stage! Your abstract sounds great and like Mel I will be watching out to read the report now. I think the NZ context is very different from the US one that Mark P writes in. When he was at L@S a couple of years ago I asked him about kids in my community (decile1) and told him that the teens weren’t as au fait as he writes about AND that they don’t have the access to devices. He poo-hooed me and said of course they do, even at malls. Now I was recently back from the USA and knew what he was talking about - all the booths in malls where kids line up to go online with cell phones, gaming devices etc so I told him that we don’t have that access here in NZ. He thought I was being an old duffer who didn’t know what our kids are doing and basically told me to get out more…. Reinforced my thinking that what comes out of the US is not necessarily what is happening in real life here :)

  • Jamin Lietze said:

    Hi Toni

    An exciting abstract! Well done. I too will be looking forward to reading your report as we hear too much about overseas stuff. Go the Kiwi research!

    I would be interested to hear from you if Vodophone or Telecom, etc are interested in creating a phone for school use like that school in New York you shared about on an earlier post. Have you had any causal discussion regarding this with anyone??

  • Craig Steed said:

    WaHoo! & way to go for finishing your report. I agree with the others - the abstract looks great and I can’t wait until the final report comes available. You’ve probably seen the article* that @easegill was involved with about GenY not being as familiar with the technology as we assume, this supports these findings. It challenges those assumptions.


Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.