The smart phone as a teaching tool

A study on coverage and educational uses cell with students and teachers at two campuses of UABC presents. A random sample with 12% of students and 24% of teachers, who were applied a survey to ascertain the possession of cell, its technical characteristics, the educational uses made and the advantages and disadvantages of their use in university courses selected . Possession of cellphone is about 97% for both students and teachers. The main educational uses were for communication, information management and organization. The disadvantages mentioned were, among others, distracting and expensive connection. The mostly mentioned advantages were the goodness of having communication and access to information anytime, anywhere. Undoubtedly, the smartphone has great educational potential; however, further studies are necessary for proper incorporation into the university educational process.

It is an undeniable fact that modern Western society is experiencing a phenomenon of exposure and increasing use of cellular technology in virtually all areas of human endeavor. In large part, this is due to the decreasing cost of cellular telephone equipment and increasing their technological capabilities. In particular, the convergence of two technologies: mobile and ubiquitous computing, has led to the development of a portable device that fits in the palm of your hand, and whose acceptance is due to its strong communication skills, processing and storage , the management of multimedia content and the ability to integrate wireless networks (Cruz and Lopez-Morteo, 2007).

Tal, known as smart-phone smartphone or handheld device has interesting technical capabilities that have led to its acceptance, among which we can mention its small size, personal and, especially, great connectivity that allows you to access all time and place information sites and social networks. According to the information displayed by Canalys Research (Cooper, 2012), for the first time worldwide in 2011, more devices than computers sold smartphones. This fact realizes the magnitude of the technological phenomenon of cellular telephony.

In the context of Mexican universities, including their academic communities, it is anticipated that most of its teachers and students are often exposed to some form of digital technology, which will certainly have a cultural impact on them. Preliminary results show that most university students and teachers reach their schools with some kind of cell phone in your bag and with certain skills to handle information technology and communication. This condition opens up a range of opportunities to display the cell phone as an important educational tool for any educational approach. For this it is necessary to have reliable information that accounts for the type of device cell phone possessing academic, major educational uses they perform and the benefits and limitations of this technology when incorporated into the educational process (Organist and Henriquez, 2012 ).


The cell phone is considered a technological possession that ever has greater coverage among Mexicans. This device comprises a wide range of equipment, ranging from conventional voice devices and text messages even greater technological capabilities. To a large extent, this phenomenon is due to lower costs and infrastructure available for wireless communications. In this context, it is logical to anticipate certain effects in almost all areas of knowledge and everyday activities, mainly by the possibility of having communication and access to information anytime, anywhere (Kukulska-Hulme, 2009).


While the cell phone is considered in many cases an educational distraction, it is also true that offers applications capable of supporting any type of education. Furthermore, it offers alternatives able to use student mobility. By the potential riches offered as a teaching tool, several authors have provided theoretical elements that paid to a characterization of the educational process mediated cellular devices. Thus, for Brown (2005), the learning process of individuals with portable devices mediation conceives it as an activity directly related to the management of information and communication available. The success of this process is achieved when individuals are able to solve application problems in real life, to communicate information and knowledge found, as well as collaborating with other individuals in their learning process. This perspective is the preamble to propose a new educational paradigm that the author calls navegacionismo, whose pillars are the management of information and interaction or communications media.


Regarding the management of information, Brown (2005) noted that the large amount of information freely available on the Internet involves the adoption of a perspective that favors the appropriation of knowledge through the selection, integration and manipulation of such information in a context of navegaciónpermanente. For its part, the interaction or communication facilitates the formation of social networks, which generates infinite possibilities of interaction between students, between students, tutors and experts. This condition allows the student to feel important part of a virtual academic community (Sharples, Taylor and Vavoula, 2009).


It is convenient to point out that the term cell phone there is a wide range of devices with different technological capabilities. Of interest to this research is the phone known as “smart” or smartphone. This device is characterized by an increased ability to process information and better connectivity than a conventional mobile phone, which has aroused the interest of researchers worldwide to explore the educational potential of such devices.


In early 2011, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico presented the “Statistics in connection with the World Day of the Internet” (INEGI, 2010) report, which shows some data about the current technological landscape in our country. It shows that in 2010, one-third (33.8%) of the Mexican population was Internet user, of which 50% were young people aged between twelve and twenty-four. Still a long way to go if it is considered that in countries such as Germany or Denmark coverage possession of domestic Internet reaches 80% of its population. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the mobile penetration nationwide the first quarter of 2012 reached values of 85%, according to Media Telecom MR Strategic Information (recovered from These data indicate a wide coverage of such devices among the Mexican population.


In the case of Mexico, more and more formal investigations in the institutions of higher education around cellular technology as an educational tool. One aspect of interest has focused on exploring the educational potential of smartphones and specify their advantages and limitations. Crovi et al. (2011) show the practices of students from three public universities: National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM) and National Pedagogic University (UPN), on cell phones, specifically as their levels of use and ownership of this technology. This study is particularly interesting because it tries to characterize the new type of student entering public universities.

In another study with university students in Tijuana, Baja California, Aguilar-Barceló and Ramírez-Angulo (2007) point out that the degree of penetration and spending on computer and cellular technology depends largely on the income level of technological skills and sex of students. Similarly, the Tecnológico de Monterrey has turned his research interest in the development of cognitive skills of students with mediation of mobile devices (Ramos Herrera and Ramírez, 2010; Marcos, Tamez and Lozano, 2009) and characterize the pedagogical components , technology and content necessary actions to incorporate mobile learning in educational settings (Ramirez, 2009). According to Herrera, Lozano and Ramirez (2008), the use of mobile devices does not replace any learning environment, but to provide an additional resource to support teaching and learning processes.


An interesting perspective on the use of cell phones, the present Trevino and Millan (2007), who note the growing influence of such devices in the social environment of the young university in Tampico, Tamaulipas. In particular, highlighted the advantage of maintaining contact with the young as a precaution and alert, because of the atmosphere of social insecurity prevailing in that region of northeastern Mexico.


It is worth noting that, based on the literature reviewed, some formal research is found in institutions of higher education in the country for various purposes, ranging from possession estimate the coverage of cellular equipment to explore the benefits and limitations of use or the development of educational applications for viewing from this type of portable devices. It should be noted how difficult it was to agree problematic situations related to the use of cell phones, perhaps by the diversity of contexts and learning environments that take into Mexico.


Based on the above, in this article the main findings of the educational use of smartphones in two university campuses of the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) are presented. The idea was to identify the main advantages and limitations of these devices in the context of university courses through feedback from students and teachers of the academic community. From this information, you can view the educational potential of cell phones in the different educational modalities currently have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *