mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

Technology Preferences

As part of the exit surveys staff and students were asked what their technology preferences were and what should be mobile. This was done in an effort to understand the areas that CSU should focus on in order to develop a more user-focussed approach for future planning and projects. We also analysed the feedback from students in other areas of the survey to investigate further how they have been using the device, and for what purpose, so as to provide a richer perspective.

Staff and students commented that the device could not replace their laptop/desktop. The lack of a physical keyboard was prohibitive for many students, in particular for writing longer articles, essays and reports. The lack of like-for-like applications was also significant in this area, as was the unconventional file management system the iPad uses, which made it difficult to move and transfer files without a reliance on other devices or Cloud services.

Staff and students were asked directly what their technology preference (laptop, desktop, paper, tablet & Smartphone) was for a number of tasks related to teaching, learning and research. Student Group 1 (SG1) participated in the first set of trials in Session 1 and Student Group 2 (SG2) continued through till the end of the year.

The combined totals are quite one sided:

Laptops are the preferred technology for

  • writing an essay
  • using PebblePad

Tablets are the preference for the remainder:

  • writing blogs/wikis
  • accessing Interact
  • accessing student.csu
  • accessing staff.csu
  • reading learning materials
  • taking to class
  • taking to practicum
  • taking to conferences
  • taking home

If the university were to supply a device it should be a tablet.

One task had a preference for paper, which was “Read your Textbook”.

However there are some areas where there are significant differences in responses:

  • using PebblePad on the laptop was only SG1’s preference; SG2 and the staff were evenly split
  • results for writing blogs & Wikis were varied between student groups – SG1 preferring laptops and SG2 preferring tablets.
  • SG2 overwhelmingly preferred to access Interact and read learning materials on the tablet compared to SG1 and staff responses
  • staff and SG1 were much more inclined to read textbooks on a tablet but SG2 were overwhelmingly preferred paper
  • 100% of staff and 80% of SG2 preferred a tablet to take to class, significantly higher in comparison with the 54% from SG1
  • 80% of SG2 students who went on work placement during the trial preferred the tablet to take to practicum
  • 78% of staff going to conferences preferred the tablet compared with the 22% who chose their laptop
  • 89% of staff chose the tablet as their preferred technology to take home
  • In the final question “If the university were to supply a device it should be a…”, the SG1 participants were split, 46% for both laptops and tablets. However, in contrast, the SG2 and staff responses had a more consistent split of 80/20% and 78/22%

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