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Participants’ Attitudes toward the Use of SMS as an educational tool

Chapter 6: Discussion

6.5 Participants’ Attitudes toward the Use of SMS as an educational tool

the educational process should be accompanied with showing the students the positive benefits of such integration on their learning.

that students highlighted the motivational role of receiving educational SMS for their language learning.

Another reason for students’ positive attitudes toward the use of SMS was related to the positive perceptions of the usefulness of SMS in improving their connection to the class and to the instructor. In addition, some students ascribed their positive attitudes toward the use of SMS to the advantages of SMS in regulating their academic study time. A similar finding was reported in Lim et al.’s )2011( study. They reported that the students found educational SMS had helped them in managing the process of reviewing educational content. The students liked receiving information regarding the course content that helped them to review the course and to get through exams and homework. Such positive attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool were expected after its actual use for one semester. This finding aligned with experimental research studies that showed the positive effects of educational SMS on students’ learning )Cavus & Ibrahim, 2009; Zhang et al., 2011; Kert, 2011).

However, the participants reported some concerns related to their attitudes towards the use of SMS as an educational tool related to SMS ease of use and usefulness as an educational tool. In the first interviews, participants reported issues related to their attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool were associated to the way SMS was used and the type of information sent. Participants expressed concerns regarding the type of content and the frequency of receiving it. For example, they said they would not like

receiving too many SMS, or receiving SMS at inappropriate times. Educational content that needed to be memorised was viewed much more positively than information that needed to be comprehended, such as the main concepts of the class that did not need much

explanation. Combining timing and content, they did not like the idea of receiving

educational content before it was addressed in a lecture. This result aligns with the findings from other studies that show students preferred to receive a limited number of educational SMS at certain times (Hayati et al., 2013). The second issue was of phrasing the content of educational SMS. Since only text can be sent via SMS, the phrasing of the text was

important to attract students’ attention and make the use of SMS more fun. Participants also reported that they wanted SMS to be a tool for two-way communication between the

teacher and the students. This reflects their belief that SMS can increase the connection between teacher and students.

Overall, findings from the interviews showed that there were strong associations between students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool and their perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool. The reported beliefs that affected students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool were similar to the ones that contributed to students’ perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool. In addition, there were associations between students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use and their attitudes towards the use of SMS as an educational tool. For instance, students said they liked the use of SMS as an educational tool because it was an easy and convenient way to access educational content. Such relationships are aligned with TAM’s )Davis, 1986) assumptions and the questionnaire results (see Section 6.1), which indicate that students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool are strongly related to their perceptions of SMS ease of use and perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool. Besides the effects of students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness on their attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool. Participants reported that they liked the use of SMS as an educational tool because they liked using SMS in general, or because they liued the use of the technology in education. Therefore, students’ positive perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool, their positive perceptions of SMS ease of use, and their positive attitudes toward the use of technology in education contributed to their positive attitudes toward use of SMS as an educational tool.

Further, reported issues that would affect students’ attitudes toward the use of SMS as an educational tool were related to the issues that contributed to students’ perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool. For instance, the reported difficulties of using SMS due to the limited number of characters that can be included in one message made the students like its use in particular ways (e.g., to send simple educational content and short administrative information). Some participants disliked the use of SMS as an educational tool because they did not like the application of technology in education, and preferred traditional educational approaches such as paper based ones and face-to-face educational settings. Studies that have examined students’ attitudes toward the integration of different technologies have shown that there were always some students who had negative attitudes

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.