About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2890-2897
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain


T. Ndlovu, N. Morule

North-West University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Information Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets like tablets and smartphones have become regular items in the standard stationery kit of students in higher education today. A decade ago this kit consisted of a highlighter, ball point pen, tipex, a notepad and in some cases a flush-stick. These were acceptable items in a learning/teaching environment - the basic stationery that was needed. To this kit Goundar & Clear (2012) added ‘the brain and attention without any distraction’.

According to (Berlin, 2009) ICT can be a vital tool for teaching and learning, however some ICT gadgets like smart phones and tablets are banned in classrooms because they are perceived as causing distraction for both students and lecturers.

In the North West University (Mafikeng Campus) students have access to unlimited Wi-Fi on their smartphones and tablets. Such access often becomes a distraction during lectures. This is because there is no restriction to what students can access on the internet which is attainable through the use of login scripts. There is no policy in the university that addresses what students can/not access in a classroom setting. This opens up a learning environment to possible intrusions and disturbances which renders it ineffective as a learning environment.

This study explores possibilities of turning what constitutes a distraction into something beneficial within the classroom setting. Its main aim is to highlight the value in the otherwise forbidden gadgets in a classroom environment. The investigation also seeks to identify factors favourable to the use of tablets and smartphones.

This study employed both quantitative and qualitative research methods (mixed method) for the research design and methodology. This interpretive study employed interviews and questionnaires for collection of data. 20 lecturers were interviewed and 200 students randomly selected, responded to un-structured questionnaire. Statistical Analysis System (SAS) version 9.3 was used for data analysis. Within SAS statistical technique called Discriminant Analysis was employed.

The study concludes that lectures need to review their belief systems about what makes a conducive classroom environment for learning. In addition, if not properly managed the well-intended in-class ICT gadgets might delay or inhibit the learning process. The enquiry also concluded that in-class ICT gadgets are not suitable for all faculties or modules.

The recommendations emanating from the study are that (a) the institution should have a policy on the use of ICT gadgets in a classroom and the modules using these technologically rich environment should have well-structured processes and procedures of the lesson proceedings to ensure meaningful use of time allocated to such modules. Lecturers and students should be trained on issues relating to self-directedness, autonomous learning/teaching to make sure that the lesson does not become a laissez faire.
author = {Ndlovu, T. and Morule, N.},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {2890-2897}}
AU - T. Ndlovu AU - N. Morule
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 2890
EP - 2897
ER -
T. Ndlovu, N. Morule (2015) TEACHING TO DISTRACTION, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 2890-2897.