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Chapter 6: Discussion

6.6 Conclusion

toward the integration of technology in education (Dørup, 2004; Simsek, 2008; Kubiatko, 2010; Safar, 2012(. In addition, studies that have investigated students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool have shown that there is always resistance to the use of mobile phone applications in education. For instance, Brett (2011) found that 32.2% out of 207 participants agreed that they did not like the use of mobile phones in their learning.

The association between students’ perceptions of the usefulness of SMS and their attitudes suggests that it is important to inform student users of the specific useful aspects and consequences of integrating SMS in their learning. Institutions of higher education could make students aware of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool through

different ways such as seminars, brochures and presentations. Implementation of SMS as an educational tool should consider students’ underlying reasons for their attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool. For instance, the use of SMS as an educational tool would be most effective when aligned with students’ preferences regarding the way SMS is used, its implications for their learning and type of educational content that would be sent via SMS. The findings regarding students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an

educational tool showed that in implementing SMS learning it was useful to understand students’ reflections of such implementation. The integration of SMS, including

educational SMS, should be accompanied with showing the students the potential benefits of using technology and SMS in education. The ways of integrating SMS in the educational process, as well as the types of educational content sent via SMS should align with

students’ beliefs regarding the implementation of SMS to support teaching and learning.

The positive attitudes toward the use of SMS in education would suggest that students are expected to use SMS in their education once it becomes available to them.

educational tool and their attitudes toward its use as an educational tool was also evident in the qualitative data. In the process of the implementation of SMS as an educational tool, the findings suggest that institutions of higher education should consider positive and negative beliefs related to SMS ease of use and usefulness as an educational tool.

Kuwaiti students were more likely to have access to a mobile smartphone than a laptop, which suggests use of the mobile and SMS would be a strategy for more students to access learning outside of lectures and the university. Further, they had positive perceptions of SMS ease of use as a communication tool. The use of SMS in education does not require special expensive infrastructure for the students of the institutions of higher education, as the students have the required software and hardware in their hands all the time. This is critical in developing countries, in which students have often limited access to other expensive ICTs that might be used to support higher education.

Interview data confirmed this. The findings suggest that institutions of higher education can integrate SMS without training students. However, the integration of SMS for educational purposes should consider the nature of the courses in which SMS can be used to support teaching and learning. The educational content in these courses should align with affordances and limitations of SMS communication. Examples of such courses include foreign language and programming language courses, where foreign language tips or a code statement and its explanation can be sent in one SMS message. The educational content of SMS should be carefully selected, it should be short, fit in one message, and it should be clear and understandable. In addition, the use of SMS as an educational tool should avoid using the Arabizi alphabet, as not all students are familiar with the SMS abbreviations involved. Educational SMS can be used to send messages with a limited number of characters (e.g. one programming statement) that could stand alone and retain meaning.

Participants had positive perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as a communication tool. Students believed SMS was useful for sending important information, which could be related to educational content or possibly administrative and time sensitive information.

Students felt SMS was convenient, quiet, available, one-to-many, and cheap. Given students’ positive perceptions, institutions of higher education could use SMS as a

communication and educational channel. The relation between students’ perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as a communication tool and the usefulness of SMS as an educational

tool was evident in the findings. The results showed that students believed SMS was a useful way to promote learning through sending educational content. Students felt SMS helped them make the best or most effective use of their free time and motivated them to study, kept them connected to the class and instructor, regulated their academic study time, and helped them remember and understand educational content. However, they felt strongly that the content of the educational SMS needed to be carefully selected. The criteria for selecting educational content included sending important stand-alone educational content that supplemented face-to-face instruction, and simple educational content that needed to be memorised rather than complicated educational content that needed to be comprehended.

However, the content of the educational SMS should not be trivial but should include significant details related to the educational content. Beside educational content, SMS can be used in higher education to send important administrative information and quizzes.

SMS should be sent at appropriate times and frequencies and the SMS content should be synchronised with lectures content. In addition, SMS should be phrased in a way that captures students’ attention such as starting with questions or indicating importance.

The findings regarding students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS suggest positive beliefs and perceptions towards use of SMS for educational purposes, and that students would like to use SMS in their learning. Participants seemed to ascribe their attitudes toward educational SMS to their general attitudes about use of technology in education, as well as drawing on to their perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a

communication and an educational tool. However, the results also showed that some students initially had negative perceptions of SMS as an educational tool. While their perceptions would be likely to change after positive experiences using SMS, this does highlight that students’ attitudes were not uniform. This is an important consideration for the university, to understand that not all students would be prepared to adopt SMS as an educational tool. However, these beliefs can change. For instance, in the second interviews, students no longer complained about some aspects of using SMS as an educational tool (e.g., timing and frequency of using SMS). It is likely students will adopt more positive attitudes when they understand how SMS can be useful.

The findings showed that TAM can be used to understand Kuwaiti students’

acceptance of using SMS as an educational tool. Students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use

and usefulness would affect students’ acceptance of its use as an educational tool. In order to improve students’ acceptance of the use of SMS as an educational tool, several

considerations in relation to the way of using SMS, the implications of SMS for learning, and the content of SMS should be decided in light of students’ expectations and concerns.