AR Literature Review

Running head: Classroom Interactions with Personal Technology Devices           1

Classroom Interactions with Personal Technology Devices

Vonn Miller

EDLD 5315 Lamar University

Classroom Interactions with Personal Technology Devices             2


This paper will examine  the use of personal technology in the classroom, more specifically the effect on student-teacher and student-student interaction.  For this paper I will be using the definition of personal technology as being mobile devices, such as smart phone, tablet, or notebook (Thornton, 2011) These devices are easily connected to the internet permitting student access to the internet during class.  The primary review of the articles examines the question if a classroom allowing students to actively use personal technology in classroom activities increases student-teacher and student-student interaction greater than a traditional classroom with no student personal technology allowed.  In addition, this paper will also examine student and teacher perceptions on a classroom allowing the use of personal technology opposed to a traditional classroom.  While interaction may not be the focus of the references examined in the paper, it may be an obvious outcome.  


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We see students using mobile devices every day. Often almost every waking hour. Specifically Apple has sold more than 5 Billion iPhones and half a billion iPads.(Nations, 2021) Students are ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, and they look to institutions and instructors for opportunities and encouragement to do so (Dahlstrom et al., 2013). Institutions have embraced the idea of building programs and physical spaces around the improving technology of the personal technology devices like iPad. In recent years many colleges have addressed students’ expectations and opportunities for learning transformation by providing all faculty and students with an iPad (Cardullo & Clark, 2020). Several institutions have made these decisions to increase academic results and have achieved a greater benefit for their communities through better graduation rates, increased student job placement and interest from alumni and grants. (Northwest Kansas Technical College, 2012).

While many educators are excited by the use of these mobile and connected devices in the classroom and how multiple apps can enhance learning, Many teachers and administrators still have doubts. Some educators feel that devices like the iPad can become a distraction or disruption to a student centered classroom (Hu, 2011). Some still ban the use of any technology in their class (Santos I., et. al., 2018).

I intend to investigate the impact of the use of devices like iPhones and iPads in the college classroom. I will investigate how students perceive the influence of their personal devices on their learning and classroom participation. I will also explore the reactions of teachers using devices like iPads and iPhones in their classes.

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Literature Review

A study in the UAE of the perceptions of a large scale deployment of a mobile learning device – the iPad, used a SWOT analysis formwork  showing positive results where perceived strengths appeared to outweigh perceived threats. The most frequently reported uses of the classroom technology were to promote student-centered learning; as a communication tool (Hargis. et al. 2013) These devices can be used to transform in-class assessment. “Data indicates that students benefit from Personal Response Software or PRS because they are motivated to attend class and learning outcomes are significantly improved.

There is an initial time commitment to learn the software and create the PRS items. After that commitment is met, however, PRS gives instructors the ability to engage students, keep them motivated and focused, and enhance learning for little additional time and effort” (Shapiro A. 2009, pg. 23).  Another study performed at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis or IUPUI was performed with 209 undergraduate students in multiple programs. “The class was then given an activity that was intended to promote engagement through active and collaborative learning. Activities included the use of collaborative concept mapping, brainstorming, graphing apps using the built-in accelerometer, ear training apps, and mobile access to library resources. Using the iPads, the students were free to move about the room and/or pass the iPads around to view each other’s work. Following the activity, the students submitted their work to the instructor through email or a file-sharing application such as Dropbox. “(Diemer. et al. 2012, pg.15) It concluded that the iPad is generally effective in promoting active and collaborative learning. 

Lynn University’s experience since providing all students with iPads is that students are more engaged and “the things that we’re requiring from students from an outcomes standpoint was enhanced by all these tools” (Lynn University, 2019).  In this situation, engagement refers to how involved or interested students appear to be in their learning and how connected they are to their classes, their institutions and each other (Tong et al., 2018). Students need to do the work required to learn. We can help them by setting up conditions for active learning. By being active participants in their own learning, students build their own minds at the level of involvement required for engaged learning (Barkley, 2009). According to Anderson University, “students are empowered to take ownership of their learning, find their voice, and develop their creativity in their academic experiences. Through thoughtful instructional design and the integration of technology, students develop those skills through a wide variety of course- and content-specific apps and their iPad. ” (Deaton, 2017, p. 7) 

A London study “suggests that the adoption and use of iPads in and beyond the classroom allows students to augment and enhance their learning in ways that were previously not possible or not so easy to do.” and “The finger-driven iPad interface can motivate and engage students, keeping them interested in content for longer, and allowing groups to interact with the device at the same time and with the same object. This enhances and stimulates simultaneous opportunities for face-to-face social interaction in ways that desktop, laptop and even netbook computing with their mouse-driven screen, ‘individual’ peripherals, fixed location, weight and overall design do not.” (Clark, W., et. al. 2013 pg. 2)
 In a study from the Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology of student perceptions of classroom usage, “The students not only enjoyed using the iPads, but also believed that the iPads helped them learn. Students also believed that the devices facilitated  their participation and collaboration in class”. (Mango, 2015 pg.56)  

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Most of the articles on integrating personal technology devices into the classroom are overwhelmingly positive, some issue a number of concerns about the preparedness of the school and teachers (Crichton, 2012). Although early studies presented technical issues that have been eliminated since, there still seem to be some limitations ot the research (Culén, 2011) (Franklin T. et. al., 2008)


While there are a great deal of papers studying this subject, there are still some limiting questions that have not been addressed or may be ambiguous or passively mentioned. These limitations discussed will fall into two categories; technical and policy or procedural limitations.

Technical Limitations 

Almost all of the information provided in the literature involve the use of iPad or iPod devices. This brings the limitation of data on different types of devices from a different manufacturer.

All devices are presented to be the same, but some may be better than others. Most of the literature implies that the devices are provided. The Bring Your Own Device or BYOD policies of some schools could effect the student usage in the classroom (Santos I., et. al., 2018) and limit the ability of the teacher to integrate it into activities. 

Policy Limitations 

Since the literature overwhelmingly implies the technology devices were provided or required, at least one study mentions that received ownership of the device could be a negative variable (Culén, A. 2011). Even if the devices are provided, not letting the students continue their usage outside of class could limit usage and activity. The most important limitation is the detail of the practices and applications used in the classroom practices, specifically did an app replace an existing product or process? Did it replace textbooks? (Benton 2012)

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Conclusion and Future study

Clearly students are using mobile devices like iPad more frequently and for more diverse and personal learning experiences. The technology is getting stronger and encompassing fields at the high end of creative works. It’s an important time to be an education leader, and the opportunity for making a positive impact on your classroom is greater than ever. (Apple, 2020).  The innovative use of personal technology devices like iPads in the classroom can enhance critical thinking, student collaboration, and classroom participation (McBeth et al., 2015).

As I move forward with my action research I will want to address the following questions;

For Teachers

As a teacher, to what level do you embrace Personal devices in the classroom?

Did your school provide PL for incorporating devices into your classroom activities?

Do you and your students have an understanding of how much personal devices can be used in class?

For Students

Does your classwork specifically require the use of a personal technology device?

Do you feel better connected to your instructor through your personal device?

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Apple, Inc. (2020). Excerpt: Designing for the Future of School. Apple, Inc., p.1 Retrieved from

Barkley, E. F. (2009). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass., p. 23

Benton, B. K., (2012). The iPad as an instructional tool: an examination of teacher implementation experiences. Theses and Dissertations. 462. Retrieved from 

Brooks, D. (2106). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2016. (Research Report Summary) Louisville, CO: ECAR, October 2016. , pp. 8-10

Cardullo, V. M. & Clark, L. L. (2020a). Exploring Faculty and Student iPad Integration in Higher Education. In Management Association, I. (Ed.), Mobile Devices in Education: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice, pp. 752-772

Clark, W. & Luckin, R. (2013). What the research says: iPads in the classroom. London Knowledge lab. Retrieved from uploads/sites/51/2015/08/2013-iPads-in-the-Classroom-Lit-Review-1.pdf

Crichton, S., Pegler, K. White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an iPod touch/iPad project. Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 10(1), pp. 23–31

Culén A., Gasparini A. (2011). iPad: a new classroom technology? A report from two pilot studies. INFuture2011. Retrieved from

Deaton, B. (2017). Anderson University: Mobile Learning Initiative. Anderson University, p. 7 Dahlstrom, E. (2012). ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology, 2012. (Research Report) Louisville, CO: ECAR, September 2012., pp. 9-16

Diemer, T., Fernandez, E., & Streepey, J. (2012). Student perceptions of classroom engagement and learning using iPads. Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, December 2012. 1 (2). pp. 13 – 25 

 Franklin, T., & Peng, (2008). Mobile math: math educators and students engage in mobile learning. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 20(2), pp. 69–80. Retrieved from 

Hargis, J., Cavanaugh, C., Kamali, T. et al. (2013). A federal higher education iPad mobile learning initiative: triangulation of data to determine early effectiveness. Innovative Higher Education (39), pp. 45–57. Retrieved from s10755-013-9259-y

Hu, W. (2011, February 04). Math that moves: schools embrace the iPad. The New York Times. Retrieved from 

Lynn University. (2019). Engage. elevate. expand. Lynn University, Introduction video. Apple Books. Retrieved from id1488122854

Mango, O. (2015) iPad use and student engagement in the classroom. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – TOJET, 14(1), pp. 53–57.

McBeth, M. K., Turley-Ames, K., Youngs, Y. L., Ahola-Young, L., & Brumfield, A. (2015). The iPad pilot project: a faculty driven effort to use mobile technology in the reinvention of the liberal arts. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 4(1), pp. 1-21

Nations, D. (2021) How many iPads have been sold?, Retrieved from

Northwest Kansas Technical College. (2012). Northwest Kansas Technical College – Self Study. pp. 115-123 Retrieved from NT-Self-Study-February-2012.pdf 

Santos, I. M., Bocheco, O., & Habak, C. (2018). A survey of student and instructor perceptions of personal mobile technology usage and policies for the classroom. Education and Information Technologies, 2018 23(2), pp. 617–632.  Retrieved from

Shapiro, A. (2009). An empirical study of personal response technology for improving attendance and learning in a large class. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2009 9(1), pp. 13–26.

Thornton, B. (2011) Personal technology in the classroom. Elearn, 2011(4) Retrieved from

Tong, V., Standen, A., Sotiriou, M. (2018). Shaping higher education with students ways toconnect research and teaching: UCL Press, p.3

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