Learning in the smartphone era: Viewpoints and perceptions on both sides of the lectern

  • Yaron Ariel
  • Vered Elishar-MalkaEmail author


This study examined the viewpoints of lecturers and students regarding the roles of smartphones in the classroom: how legitimate is it to use them in class, and in what ways? Does the usage of smartphones impair in-class learning processes, and if it does, can we tie specific uses with specific disruptions to the class? Conversely, could it be that using smartphones in class might benefit learning processes? Our inspection sought to uncover the possible existence and nature of attitudinal gaps between students and lecturers by comparing viewpoints and perceptions from both sides of the lectern. The study was conducted among lectures (n=236) and undergraduate students, most of whom between the ages 20-30 (n=336), from seven academic institutions in Israel. Respondents answered an online questionnaire that included questions about their smartphone usage patterns, perceptions regarding the legitimacy of using smartphones in class, and assessments concerning the smartphone’s potential contribution to and disruption of learning processes in the classroom.


Smartphones Academic institutions Students Professors Perceptions Learning processes 



  1. Avidov-Ungar, O., & Eshet-Alkakay, Y. (2011). Teachers in a world of change: Teachers’ knowledge and attitudes towards the implementation of innovative Technologies in Schools. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 7, 291–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality at University (3rd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, B., Green, N., & Harper, R. (Eds.). (2001). Wireless world: social and interactional implications of wireless technology. London: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, S. W. (2013). Mobile media and communication: A new field, or just a new journal? Mobile Media & Communication, 1(1), 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corbeil, J. R., & Valdes-Corbeil, M. E. (2007). Are you ready for mobile learning? Educause Quarterly, 30(2), 51–58.Google Scholar
  6. Elliott-Dorans, L. R. (2018). To ban or not to ban? The effect of permissive versus restrictive laptop policies on student outcomes and teaching evaluations. Computers & Education, 126, 183–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elishar-Malka, V., Ariel, Y., Avidar, R., & Cohen, A. A. (2017). Reconceptualizing uses and gratifications vis-à-vis smartphone applications: the case of WhatsApp. In P. Vorderer, D. Hefner, L. Reinecke, & C. Klimmt (Eds.), Permanently Online, Permanently Connected: Living and Communicating in a POPC World (pp. 43–50). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. End, C. M., Worthman, S., Mathews, M. B., & Wetterau, K. (2010). Costly cell phones: The impact of cell phone rings on academic performance. Teaching of Psychology, 37(1), 55–57. Scholar
  9. Hartnell-Young, E., & Vetere, F. (2008). A means of Personalising learning: Incorporating old and new literacies in the curriculum with Mobile phones. Curriculum Journal, 19(4), 283–292. Scholar
  10. Hayes, A. F. (2017). Partial, conditional, and moderated moderated mediation: quantification, inference, and interpretation. Communication Monographs, 85(1), 4–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The wired generation: Academic and social outcomes of electronic media use Among University students. CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(5), 275–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jones, S. & Madden, M. ( 2002). "The Internet goes to college," at, accessed 25 Jul 2005.
  13. Katz, J. E., & Aakhus, M. (Eds.). (2002). Perpetual contact: mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Katz, J. E. (2006). Magic in the Air: Mobile communication and the transformation of social life. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Kay, R., Benzimra, D., & Li, J. (2017). Exploring factors that influence technology-based distractions in bring your own device classrooms. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 55(7), 974–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kraushaar, J. M., & Novak, D. C. (2010). Examining the effects of student multitasking with laptops during lecture. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21(2), 241–251.Google Scholar
  17. Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2005). Mobile Usability and User Experience. In J. Traxler & A. Kukulska-Hulme (Eds.), Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (pp. 45–56). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2007). Mobile usability in educational contexts: What have we learnt? The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(2), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2010). Learning cultures on the move: Where are we heading? Educational Technology & Society, 13(4), 4–14.Google Scholar
  20. Kumar, M. (2011). Impact of the evolution of smartphones in education technology and its application in technical and professional studies: Indian perspective. International Journal of Managing Information Technology (IJMIT), 3(3), 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kuznekoff, J., & Titsworth, S. (2013). The impact of Mobile phone usage on student learning. Communication Education, 62(3), 233–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lawson, D., & Henderson, B. B. (2015). The costs of texting in the classroom. College Teaching, 63(3), 119–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ling, R., & Helmersen, P. (2000). It must be necessary; it has to cover a need: the adoption of mobile telephony among pre-adolescents and adolescents. Paper presented at the Social Consequences of Mobile Telephony, Oslo, Norway.Google Scholar
  24. Malka, V., Ariel, Y., Avidar, R., & Levi, E.C. (2013). “Mehubarim,” The Academia Version: The Role of the Smartphone in the Lives of Undergraduate Students. The 9th Annual MEITAL Conference: The World of Open Information-eLearning in Higher Education. 20 May 2013, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem.Google Scholar
  25. Mueller, J. L., Wood, E., De Pasquale, D., & Cruikshank, R. (2012). Examining Mobile Technology in Higher Education: Handheld devices in and out of the classroom. International Journal of Higher Education, 1(2), 43–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., & Sharples, M. (2004). Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning (Futurelab Series Report 11). Bristol: NESTA Futurelab.Google Scholar
  27. Ng, S. F., Zakaria, R., Lai, S. M., & Confessore, G. J. (2014). A study of time use and academic achievement among secondary school students in the state of Kelantan, Malaysia. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 21(4), 433–448. Scholar
  28. Norris, C., Hossain, A., & Soloway, E. (2011). Using smartphones as essential tools for learning. Educational Technology, 51(3), 18–25.Google Scholar
  29. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Purcell, K., Heaps, A., Buchanan, J., & Friedrich, L. (2013). How Teachers are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms. Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (28 February 2013). Retrieved from
  31. Rice, R., & Katz, J. E. (2003). Comparing internet and mobile phone usage: digital divides of usage, adoption, and dropouts. Telecommunications Policy, 27, 597–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ritzhaupt, A. D., Liu, F., Dawson, K., & Barron, A. E. (2013). Differences in student information and communication technology literacy based on socio-economic status, ethnicity, and gender: Evidence of a digital divide in Florida schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45(4), 291–307. Scholar
  33. Salajan, F. D., Schönwetter, D. J., & Cleghorn, B. M. (2010). Student and faculty inter-generational digital divide: Fact or fiction? Computers & Education, 55(3), 1393–1403. Scholar
  34. Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2007). A theory of learning for the. Mobile age. In R. Andrews & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The sage handbook of Elearning research (pp. 221–247). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tindell, D., & Bohlander, R. (2012). The use and abuse of cell phones and text messaging in the classroom: A survey of college students. College Teaching, 60(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tossell, C. C., Kortum, P., Shepard, C., Rahmati, A., & Zhong, L. (2015). You can Lead a horse to water but you cannot make him learn: Smartphone use in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(4), 713–724. Scholar
  37. Traxler, J. (2009). Current state of mobile learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education and training (pp. 9–24). Athabasca University: Au Press.Google Scholar
  38. Wang, Y. S., Wu, M. C., & Wang, H. Y. (2009). Investigating the determinants and age and gender differences in the acceptance of mobile learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(1), 92–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. White, J., Thompson, C., Turner, C., Dougherty, B., & Schmidt, D. C. (2011). Wreck watch: Automatic traffic accident detection and notification with smartphones. Journal of Mobile Networks and Applications, 16(3), 285–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationMax Stern Yezreel Valley CollegeEmek YezreelIsrael

Personalised recommendations