Information sought on mobile device use in teaching and learning

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JOHNSON CITY (April 3, 2013) – One student checks the availability of a book at the library from an iPad before trekking across campus to check it out, while his roommate uses the calculator function on his smartphone to complete an equation.  Still another student is reading a textbook on her tablet.  And a professor stands in front of a class, occasionally glancing at the notes stored on the tablet in her hand as she lectures.

The use of technology in education has grown significantly in recent years, and the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) at East Tennessee State University is coordinating an effort to assess how, how often, and for what purposes faculty and students throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents system are using mobile devices in teaching and learning.  The ETC is working in cooperation with Dr. Robbie Melton, TBR associate vice chancellor for Mobilization and Emerging Technology.

“Using Mobile Devices for Teaching” and “Using Mobile Devices for Learning” online surveys will be conducted at half of the TBR institutions this spring and the other half during the fall semester. 

They launched at ETSU this week on the university’s home page ( and will run for approximately three weeks.  All faculty and students will receive an email with instructions and links to the surveys, and notifications regarding the surveys will also be posted on ETSU’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Each student who participates in the survey may enter his or her eMail email address for a chance to win one of three power banks for mobile devices to be given away by ETSU’s Office of eLearning.

These surveys were developed based on a pilot survey the ETC conducted at ETSU in 2011.

“That was early on, when the use of mobile devices in teaching and learning was just starting to catch on,” ETC Director Carolyn Novak said.  “I presented the results that summer to the Regents Online Degree Program statewide conference, and everyone was fascinated with the results.  Out of that came the plan to survey all of the TBR institutions, and the TBR contracted with the ETC to coordinate the system-wide effort.

“The surveys contain a set of core questions, and each institution is allowed up to five questions specific to their own institution.  We’ll analyze all the data, and everything will be combined at the end of the survey.  Each institution will receive its own report.”

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