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Research Question 1: What are the perceptions of students at Kuwait University of the ease of use and

Chapter 7: Conclusions and Recommendations

7.1 Research Question 1: What are the perceptions of students at Kuwait University of the ease of use and

Different aspects of students’ perceptions of SMS were measured, including their perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool and their

perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool. Results showed that the participants believed that SMS was an easy-to-use and useful communication tool. Kuwaiti students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool ranged between slightly positive to moderately positive. Students’ experiences of using SMS contributed to forming their positive perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness. The findings showed that almost all the participants (97.7%, n=167) reported using SMS and that they had been using SMS for approximately five years. The analysis of the students’

responses regarding their use of SMS showed that they used SMS for mainly two purposes:

social interaction and receiving information.

After the use of SMS as an educational tool for one semester, questionnaire results showed that students continued to perceive SMS as an easy-to-use and useful

communication tool. At the end of the semester students also indicated that they now found it easier to retrieve old SMS messages on their phones. This may have been a result of students having more experience storing and retrieving old SMS in their phones during the use of SMS as an educational tool for one semester. The absence of significant changes in students’ overall positive perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a

communication tool can be ascribed to experiences using SMS before the use as an

educational tool in the current study. Further, the results showed that the engineering major students perceived SMS to be easier and more useful as a communication tool than did the non-engineering students. There was also a significant relationship between frequency of receiving SMS and students’ perceptions of the ease of use and usefulness of SMS as a communication tool.

The interviews provided a deeper explanation of questionnaire results regarding students’ perceptions of SMS ease of use. All the interview participants reported that the use of SMS was easy. Participants believed that SMS was easy-to-use because it required simple steps to send or to receive messages. While they felt SMS was easy-to-use, some participants reported problems that limited the effectiveness of SMS use. These perceptions

most commonly related to specific communication-related issues of typing text using old mobile phones or new mobile phones and the limited number of characters that can be sent in one SMS. However, these also affected issues related to interpreting message content such as understanding the received SMS, use of SMS for long conversations and

understanding the feelings of the sender of the SMS. In addition, the students had concerns regarding the use of Arabizi in SMS and the associated difficulties interpreting the received SMS. However, after the use of SMS for one semester, the students continued to mention the same negative issues except for the use Arabizi.

Interview data showed that participants believed SMS was a useful communication tool. In the first and second interviews, the repeated reasons for students’ positive

perceptions were primarily related to how SMS supported or enhanced the communication of content. Participants believed SMS was useful for convenient and direct communication.

In the second round of interviews and after one semester of use, participants provided more explanations and information regarding the perceived usefulness of SMS. Some felt SMS was useful for informal learning and that it may be useful in overcoming some cultural communication issues.

Extending perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as a communication tool, participants also believed that SMS was useful as an educational tool. Perceptions of usefulness of SMS as an educational tool ranged between neutral and slightly positive.

However, questionnaire results showed that participants’ overall perceptions of the usefulness of SMS as an educational tool did not significantly change after its use for one semester. However, there was significant change in students’ beliefs regarding the effect of educational SMS on their learning. The students had overly optimistic perceptions of SMS, and positive bias possibly resulting from personal experiences and positive beliefs about digital technologies, before its use as an educational tool. The students had positive

perceptions of the effect of SMS on their learning performance when they learnt about how it would be used as an educational tool. However, after its use for one semester, such perceptions were lower than their original perceptions.

The engineering major students perceived SMS to be more useful as an educational tool than non-engineering students. This is possibly a result of having more experience using difference technologies and/or general positive beliefs about technology use (e.g.

Margaryan et al., 2011). Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between

frequency of receiving SMS and students’ perceptions of the use of SMS as an educational tool. Most of the interview participants believed that SMS would be useful as an

educational tool. The results show three categories relating to positive perceptions of SMS as an education tool: i) access to educational content; ii) implications for learning

experience (e.g. allowing the students to utilise their short periods of free time, reminding and motivating the students to study, improving their connection to the class and instructor, regulating their study), ii) the role of SMS in reminding students of educational content and making them understand it; and iii) information type and learning, (e.g. allowing the

students to receive key points of the lectures and allowing the students to pay attention of small details related to the course).

However, some participants expressed concerns. These concerns can be grouped into two main categories: i) information type and learning, (e.g. sending complicated information needing comprehension rather than memorisation, sending administrative information and sending quizzes, and use as a complementary tool rather than as an educational delivery tool); and ii) aspects of sending educational SMS, (e.g. inappropriate time and frequency of messages and phrasing SMS in a way that would gain students’

attention). In the second interviews, students continued expressing their concerns regarding ways of using educational SMS in terms of phrasing messages in a way that would attract the students’ attention and they reported some new concerns regarding the usefulness of SMS in programming courses, the lack of synchronisation between SMS and lectures; and the use of SMS as a two-way communication tool.

Overall, the questionnaire and interview results showed that students had positive perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication and education tool.

However, the interview results showed that some students initially had negative perceptions of SMS as an educational tool. Their perceptions would be likely to change after positive experiences using SMS. Therefore, the reported affordances and limitations of SMS need to be considered when using SMS as an educational tool.

7.2 Research Question 2: What are the attitudes of students toward the use of SMS to