A curriculum in your pocket: Measuring gratifications of handheld computers
Timothy F. Brown, University of South Carolina, United States
University of South Carolina . Awarded
This study examined the use of handheld computers in a beginning broadcast journalism reporting classroom, focusing on the gratifications obtained from using the devices as portable computers and as study aids for grammar tests. Students were given Dell Axim Pocket PC handheld computers, along with attachable keyboards and grammar study aids. Results from surveys administered at the beginning and end of each semester showed that use of the Pocket PC did lead to more positive evaluations of gratifications obtained from the device. In addition, the more students saw the functionality of the external keyboard the more they used the Pocket PC. Student use of the Pocket PC did not lead to more use of the grammar quiz supplements, but those students who did use them were more likely to obtain gratifications from the supplements. Students' technology fluency level, defined as their self-reported abilities in using various forms of technology, directly influenced students' use of the Pocket PC. However, while students expected to use technology in some form or another in their classrooms, those expectations did not lead to substantial use of the Pocket PC, nor did their prior use of communication technology for either social or academic purposes.
This pilot study extends research in uses and gratifications by adding the concept of technology fluency into the model. By understanding not only what gratifications students obtain from technology use, but also the fluency level they hold in using new media, scholars will have a better understanding as to why students use particular media in the way that they do in the educational setting. With that knowledge, further research can be conducted into how to better entice students to use the technology at their disposal in order to enhance their education. In addition, educators will have a solid tool to assess what technology students use regularly and which gratifications they seek to obtain from that technology. With that knowledge, educators can then determine efficient ways to deliver educational content.
Brown, T.F. A curriculum in your pocket: Measuring gratifications of handheld computers. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Carolina.
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