Prevalence of mobile phone use in academic and social life of students and educators

by
 Lazarus Ndiku Makewa1*, Isaac Magaleta2 and Jesse Role1
 
 School of Education, School of Science and Technology, University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Kenya.
Department of Education, Malawi Adventist University, Malawi.
Corresponding author. E-mail: ndikul@gmail.com
 Accepted 16 December, 2016

Malawi started enjoying the fruits of technology in its educational sector in 2006 (Masperi and Hollow, 2008). Sharples (2000) made mention of the fact that the information and communication tools recognized by the Department for International Development (DFID) as having  developmental  potential  are  becoming increasingly portable, flexible and powerful. Hence, at primary level, handheld devices were introduced to enhance the teaching and learning process as a pilot project. The introduction of such gadgets was done in districts of Karonga in north Malawi and then in Mulanje and Phalombe in the Shire Highlands Education Division, southern Malawi.

At secondary school level, this development saw the introduction of computer studies in a number of schools in the academic year 2000-2001. In the year 2005, computer study was introduced as an optional subject. Following its introduction, the Malawi Government started supplying some computers as part of what is called the Textbook and Learning Materials (MoEST, 2012). The reasons behind the introduction of computer studies include but are not limited to developing a highly competitive ICT education sector, a fast growing competitive, innovative and knowledge based education sector and developing the physical communication infrastructure. Accessibility of technology and its introduction in secondary schools and infusion of mobile phones have contributed to the various innovations in many classroom activities (Edutopia, 2008; Ekanayake et al., 2015). Among the many reasons technology is being introduced in schools is that it enhances and enriches teaching and learning (Edutopia, 2008; Ekanayake et al., 2015). In addition, the accessibility of mobile phones with the disappearance of telephones and need for parents to communicate with their children in schools, mostly in boarding schools, has seen an increase in the number of the devices in schools.

 Prevalence of mobile phones

      According to the International Telecommunications Union (Franklin, 2011), there were about 5 billion cell phones globally and, by October, 2011, there were 6 billion subscribers worldwide and approximately 85 billion text messages sent per month, a 450% increase in text messaging from two  years before (Franklin, in Walsh, 2012). With the wireless market on the rapid rise and the persistent improvements and enhancements of the cell phone, it only stands to cause those students attending school each day with one of these portable devices in their pockets. Attached with the wireless manufacturing industry offering huge number of capabilities, there is much research and development in creating more powerful and capable cell phones or rather, the latest term, smart phones demonstrated by new models hitting the market almost daily (Gromik, 2012).

     According to studies conducted by Gromik (2012) and Cockrane and Bateman (2010), mobile phones now permit users to take pictures, write notes, and make voice recordings or short videos, listen to music, watch audio- visual material, use bilingual dictionaries or language study software, play games, receive radio, send text messages, engage with social-networking and make regular calls. Cockrane and Bateman (2010) contend that mobile technologies are the means of preference for both work and play and are quickly becoming a way of proclamation of the younger generation, a device of personal expression. Robertson and Hagevik (2008) pointed out that smart phones and mobile phones provide the “ability to customize ring tones, skins, photos, songs, to interact via voice and text” and “being seen as an extension of one’s personality”. Hence, it follows that reinforcing the idea that mobile phones are not just a fashion associate, but also the feeling that it truly is an extension of oneself, a reason why mobile phones are so prevalent in school settings, and why they are directly and indirectly influencing education (Robertson and Hagevik, 2008).

     Johnson  and  Kritsonis  (2007)  further  contend  that, given the fact that mobile phones are the most accessible technological tool by both teachers and students and also found in both rural and urban areas, effort should be made to investigate its use in schools. Nielson Company (in Goad, 2012) observed that a cut off was revealed in the data that 77% of teens own their own mobile phone and an additional 11% had to access by borrowing one. Young adults made use of their phones to text at an average  rate  of  2,899  times  per  month.  These  same teens reported that 93% of their schools had restrictions on their mobile phone use.

     Hence, studies carried out in Kenya and South Africa are an insight for they propagate the fact that mobile phones, when used in learning, are as effective as a computers  (Traxler  and  Kukulska-Hulme,  2005;  Ford, 2007; Ford and Bachelor, 2007). The two studies alluded to  above  revealed  that  students’ learning takes  place through incorporation of text messages, FM radio, calls and camera available on the mobile phones.

Ford (2007) indicated that a mobile phone offers the most easily reached computing devices in the developing world for accessing information resources. Based on this fact, therefore, using mobile phone, a learner will be able to have access to information resources by simply sending a text message (SMS) to the service provider from an indispensable mobile phone. In the same vein, mobile  phones  are  common  even  in  areas  where schools, books, and computers are scarce (UNESCO, 2012; Librero et al., 2007). It follows that mobile devices provide an excellent passage for extending educational opportunities to students who may have not had access to  excellent  education.  Put  differently,  mobile  phones have the potential of improving educational equity by introducing new media for learning and adding value to the present educational contributions.

     According to Robertson and Hagevik (2008), mobile phones have penetrated almost every part of today’s society; and it is fast turning into an essential part of people’s everyday lives. With the portability and versatility of the cell phone, its reception is growing at a remarkable rate. The smart phone is set to outnumber computers by 2014 at which point in time they are expected to reach 30% of the cell phone market (Cockrane and Bateman, 2010) and over 75% of high school students, one third of elementary and middle school own and use a cell phone (Robertson and Hagevik, 2008). These devices are being used for almost all areas of work and social activities such as to organize appointments and personal contacts, take and store pictures and video, browse the Internet, email,  short messaging  service  (SMS),  play  music, access radio, make use of global positioning system (GPS), provide access to games and entertainment and, of course, make phone calls (Cockrane and Bateman, 2010; Gromik, 2012; Librero et al., 2007).

Prevalence of utilization of mobile phones on students’ life Academic life

     Hollow (2008) contends that, when suitable technology is combined with quality curriculum-based content, it has the potential to have a positive impact on primary education in the developing countries. It has been argued that, when properly deployed, mobile phones have a significant influence on students and these include but are not limited to increased school attendance, reduced dropout rates and improved student/teacher enthusiasm. Further, Hollow (2008) indicates that interactive learning techniques offer potential pedagogical benefits in combining learner centred- and outcome-based activities with continuous assessment of children or students to save   information  more  effectively  thus   record   high grades.

    According to Librero et al. (2007), studies have shown that, with appropriate education, utilization of mobile phones, its impact on student achievement can be improved in areas of class participation and test results. Hwang  and  Chang  (2011)  and  Wolber  et  al.  (2015) further indicate that there is evidence that student participation  and  student  grades  increased  in mathematics and, at the same time, Gromik (2012) contends that through the incorporation of mobile phones in the classroom, language arts participation increased; on the other hand, it has been observed that there was no irrefutable evidence presented that general student achievement or grades would improve through the use of mobile   phones   in   education.  Librero   et   al.   (2007) conclude by stating that mobile phones as educational tools seem to have an effect on student achievement, though further research are necessary.

     According to MaConatha et al. (2008), a move toward M-learning, a reasonably new tool in the educational cache, requires a change in thinking and delivery when we consider the student in this digital-learning environment. The student is capable of working on assignments and course-work in places such as riding the bus home from school, waiting for a train or between classes, which, otherwise, would potentially be wasted time. Likewise, Trifonova (2003) reports how filling the gaps of time with 30 s to 10 min learning modules will keep pace with the highly fragmented attention of the ever-moving user. By planning lessons to keep pace with this type of environment and learner, the cell phone makes the move toward M-learning, the tool of choice for such an environment. One can see the impact of such an approach as is evidenced by the research of Librero et al. (2007). Again, Librero et al. (2007) stipulate as to how educational uses of M-learning can afford many benefits as a chosen means for delivery of lessons and outcomes. Some of these include empowering and engaging the learner by making him or her more comfortable for private and personal topics; it is best used as part of a blended learning module; it is not a single solution but one of the tools a teacher has in his/her tool box; it is a two-way communications tool that provides for collaboration and creation; it can lead to more sophisticated uses of information and  communications technology (ICT)  and the skill associated, and it allows for both the teacher and the student to learn together.

     According to the studies done by Mackinnon and Vibert (2002) and Siegle and Foster (2001), it was apparent that the use of mobile devices in classroom was successful in gratifying determination, the ability to apply course-based knowledge, and on the whole academic achievement among students. Additionally, Barak  et  al.  (2006) and Chu (2014) observe that the use of mobile technology, coupled with Wi-Fi connectivity, had improved active investigative learning and was effective in promoting exchanges between students and the instructor in large classes. The study conducted by Trimmel and Bachmann (2004) practically supports the assertion that classrooms with and without the use of technology, students from classrooms with ICT reported to have participated more, to be more interested in learning, and to be more motivated to perform nicely.

Social life

      Literature has shown that mobile phones, due to their nature,  have  improved  communication  and administration. Pouezevara and Khan (2007) and UNESCO (2012) assert that, because messages sent by mobile devices are generally quicker, more dependable, more   efficient   and   less   expensive  than   substitute channels of communication, students and teachers are increasingly using them to facilitate the exchange of information. On the same premise, there are quite a few projects that are on the go in various regions including Asia, Africa, and North America that are dependent on mobile devices to make more efficient communication between classroom instructors who teach comparable disciplines or groups of students (UNESCO, 2012). On a similar note, South African Biology teachers are utilizing social media program to share lesson plans and instructive ideas through the mobile phones (UNESCO, 2012). Thus, the mobile technology, to a great extent, has the ability to improve instructive and organizational exchange of ideas.

     On the other hand, Muir-Herzig (2004) adds that digital technologies can facilitate students to become more lively and independent learners. The interest so created will allow the new knowledge-building communities in which children and adults from around the globe collaborate and learn from each other. Likewise, the access and utilization of mobile technology aid in the creation of communities of students where they did not exist before. According to UNESCO (2012), it has been contended that a project in South Africa about Yoza Cello phone Stories provided a platform for students to examine and to comment on short stories through the usage of reasonably priced mobile phones. In this manner, a community of readers was built in areas where physical books are inadequate. Furthermore, in line with the utilization of mobile phones, students taking the same class are able to utilize their mobile handsets to share ideas, information and resources in a virtual space (UNESCO, 2012).

Librero et al. (2007) and Prensky (2005) indicate that score of teachers in far-off countries by now use cell phones as a learning tool. Repeatedly difficult to get to areas  connections  to  internet  using  cell  phones  are easier to access than connections by way of computers (Shinn, 2009). In such context, the usage of cell phones is said to be less expensive. Norris and Soloway (2009) indicate that some teachers in isolated areas have been forced to reverse the practice of  supplying laptop per child as a result of ever-increasing costs. It follows that the portability of the cell phones, online access, and device applications could permit and support students to further learning opportunities and group collaboration (Chen-Chung et al., 2006).

    According to Earl (2012), the majority of schools consent  to  students  to  possess  mobile  phones  for security as a reaction to the Littleton, Colorado, high school shooting experience of 1999, it was after that that parents started the use of mobile phones in schools as they sought to be close with their children at all times. Except for such emergency conditions, not nearly all schools formally allow students to use cell phones during class time. Following the argument, mobile phones are completely outlawed in most schools except when the issue of safety comes into play; it is when mobile phones are regarded as a tool for communication for ascertaining the safety of the students.

 METHODOLOGY Research design

This study made use of both descriptive and comparative research designs. Awoniyi et al. (2011) state that “descriptive survey is usually prompted by the need to know what current situation is with regard to a particular educational planning problem”. Furthermore, “descriptive research is an important type of study which usually uses mainly  questionnaires and  interviews  in  order  to determine opinions, attitudes, preferences and perceptions of  interest to  the  researcher” (Gay et  al., 2006). With comparative research, Awoniyi et al. (2011) contend that this type of “research attempt to establish cause – effect relationship and further involve group comparisons. Hence, the study took a look at the perceptions of  educators  and  students  on  the  use  of mobile  phones  as  regards  their  effect  on  students’ academic and social life in government boarding schools of Shire Highlands Education Division, Southern Malawi.

 Population

     The Shire Highlands Education Division (SHED) in the southern region of Malawi has a total of four (4) government boarding secondary schools (EMIS, 2011). Apart from these, there is also what is known as Conventional, Community and Open Day Secondary Schools, as well as private secondary schools. Private schools include those that are owned by individuals or are operated by church organizations and are not government-aided. The researchers chose purposefully the  government  boarding  secondary  schools  for  it  is where most cases of mobile phones reportedly are in high prevalence because the parents give their children the phones for keeping in touch (Kafyulilo, 2012; Mullen, 2006). The Division has an Education Division Manager, 4 District Education Managers, 4 school heads, 109 teachers, and 2,145 students.

 Sampling techniques

      The study used both purposive and cluster sampling in order to come up with the respondents who participated. By the use of the purposive sampling technique, four (4) secondary schools were selected for the study. The schools selected had boarding facilities, implying that students reside at the school. Through cluster sampling, which involves group comparisons (Awoniyi et al., 2011), the  study settled for all the 109 teachers in the four secondary schools and all 480 form four students from the total of 2,145. The researchers settled for all form four students. Olofinniyi et al. (2012), in their study, noted that a larger proportion of students in the senior secondary school have higher access to the mobile phones than the lower secondary school students, hence being able to give relevant information required for this study. In addition, form 4 students were chosen because they had experienced secondary  school  life  longer  than  their senior counterparts in form 3 had. On the part of educators, the researchers expected that educators be more conversant with what happens in schools as far as mobile phones are concerned. This means that the respondents targeted in the study were five hundred and ninety eight (598). Due to some factors beyond the researchers’ control, 444 respondents took part, representing 74% with all the groups significantly represented. Hence, in a way, the study was affected resulting  in  non-normal  distribution  of  teachers’ population. The study chose cluster sampling for the respondents stratified in respective groups of students, teachers, head teachers, district education managers and education division manager.

 Research instruments

      This study used questionnaires as instruments for the collection of data. The questionnaire was developed from research questions and review of related literature and studies.  The  questionnaires were  modelled  on  a  four point Likert scale numbered as 4 = Always, 3 = Often, 2 = Sometimes, 1 = Never. This scale was applicable for Section B on Prevalence of Utilization of Mobile Phones on academic and social life. Likewise, scale numbered as 4 = Agree, 3 = Tend to agree, 2 = Tend to disagree, 1 = Disagree was used for Section C on Effects of Utilization of mobile phones on student academic and Social life. These points represented the frequency of Utilization and Effects of Mobile Phones Utilization by the respondents on the statements listed on the questionnaires. The respondents were asked to tick inside the box that best described their best opinion on the given point.

     The questionnaires were settled for because they enabled the researchers to capture the prevalence of mobile phones utilization on students and educators’ academic  and  social  achievement  in  government boarding secondary schools in SHED within the shortest period of time. Furthermore, the questionnaire enabled flexibility  and  confidentiality  on  the  part  of  the respondents (Awoniyi et al., 2011).

 Research instruments’ validity and reliability

 For the sake of this study, the researchers tested the questionnaires in order to establish their suitability. Yin (2003) contends that there are two common tests that are used on a regular basis to examine the quality of any social research: content validity and reliability.

 Validity

 Validity refers to the extent a research instrument measures what it claims to measure (Merrian, 2009). It is the extent to which scores and the conclusions based on these scores can be used for the intended purpose of the data collection instrument. In other words, validity is the degree to which results obtained from the analysis of the data  actually represents  the  phenomena under  study. The research instrument was given to experts to appraise their applicability and suitability. The responses given were used to make adjustments on the questionnaire, which to the highest degree improved the instruments.

 Reliability

     According to Awoniyi et al. (2011), reliability of an instrument is its ability to measure consistently under varying conditions and at different times. A reliable measurement is  one  that  if  repeated  would  yield  the same results as it did the first time. In order to ensure that the questionnaire constructed was reliable, the researchers  conducted  a pilot  study  at  Ntcheu government boarding school in Central West Education Division (CWED) in the Central region of Malawi, whose respondents have the same characteristics as those of the target population. Thirty (30) respondents took part in the pilot study from which reliability was established by computing Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient. The alpha coefficients of 0.651 (Academic Life) and 0.603 (Social Life) were yielded, which meant that the questionnaire was reliable.

 Data gathering procedures

      The researchers obtained approval from the University Research Ethics and letters of introduction from Director of Graduate Studies and Research of the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, which enabled them to get a go ahead from the Education Division Manager who, in turn, wrote all District Education Managers letters of introduction before administering of the questionnaires. Thereafter, the researchers got in touch with the head teachers to prepare them in readiness for the administration of the questionnaires. Four hundred and forty four (444) out of targeted population of 598 respondents took part in the study. Where necessary, the researchers clarified areas in the questionnaire that were not clear or not understood. For the purpose of this research, students were required to fill

Table 1. Prevalence use of mobile phones on academic life of Students (N = 390).

 

Variable

Mean

Std. Deviation

Accessing educational materials

2.53

1.14

Submission of assignments to teachers

1.62

1.10

Communicate with parents about my performance

2.78

1.18

Watch educational video

2.23

1.17

Find notes, meaning of words, etc. via internet on mobile phone

2.67

1.26

Use bilingual dictionaries

2.27

1.16

Use language study software

2.09

1.21

Reading and accessing information about health matters that are hard to talk about (e.g., drug use, sexual health)

 

2.44

 

1.178

 

Recording/saving information

 

2.71

 

1.23

Communicating with my teachers/head teachers on academic matters

2.06

1.21

Writing notes

2.31

1.23

Taking pictures for educational purposes                                                                  2.24                     1.20           

 the questionnaire without consulting each other. The respondents were instructed to return the duly completed questionnaires to the person assigned by the head teacher who in turn forwarded the same to the researchers.

Finally,  the  researchers collected  the  questionnaires and expressed a vote of thanks to all who spared their valuable time in the exercise through the respective head teachers of the four schools.

 Statistical treatment of data

 In the interest of this study, data gathered through questionnaires was analyzed statistically using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The data that were collected were encoded and analyzed with the assistance of a statistician. Since most of the data gathered were quantitative, they were organized, summarized and described using descriptive statistics, mainly frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations.

 

 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 This study set to investigate the prevalence of mobile phone use in the a) academic and b) social life of student and educators in the Shire Highlands Education Division, Malawi. The following scale was used to interpret the frequency of use of mobile phones by respondents on the items that were listed on a questionnaire:

 3.50 – 4.00 Always

2.50 – 3.49 Often

1.50 – 2.49 Sometimes

1.00 – 1.49 Never

Academic life

      This section presents students, teachers, head teachers and division/district education managers’ prevalent uses of mobile phones in academic life of students in Shire Highlands Education Division. Table 1 shows the prevalence use of mobile phones in the academic life of the students in SHED. When the means are taken into consideration, sometimes mobile phones are utilized by students on matters that enhance their educational achievements in the said Education Division. Javid et al. (2011) observed that, in Pakistan, both teachers and students make use of mobile phones in sharing information and consulting dictionaries, thesaurus for educational purposes. The findings tend to be in line with Kihwele (2013), who contends that, in spite of the mobile phones usefulness, they appear to be disruptive devices in school because of inappropriate use and inadequate supervision. On the other hand, students often communicate with their parents about performance as indicated by the highest mean of 2.78. This suggests that students find it easy to communicate with their parents about their performance over the mobile phone because their parents give them such freedom, whereas at school such opportunity is never there for schools ban their use.

The study discovered that some schools, though they prohibit the use of mobile phones, they do privately allow students to communicate with their parents. Hence, the researchers found out that there is need for educators to open up; otherwise, it is a loss of an opportunity to make students benefit from the device that is readily available on their fingertips to facilitate their learning.

Likewise, students often use mobile phones to record and save information and to find notes, meanings of words, etc., as suggested by the means of 2.71 and 2.67, respectively. Johnson and Kritsonis (2007) contend that, given the fact that mobile phones are the most accessible

 

Table 2. Prevalent use of mobile phones on academic life of Teachers (N = 46).

 

Variable

Mean

Std. Deviation

Accessing educational materials

2.28

0.94

Submission of assignments by students

1.22

0.59

Communicate with parents about my students’ performance

2.15

1.07

Watch educational video

1.33

0.56

Find notes, meaning of words, etc. via internet on mobile phone

2.52

0.96

Use bilingual dictionaries

1.52

0.78

Use language study software

1.26

0.61

Reading and accessing information about health matters that are hard to talk about (e.g., drug use, sexual health)

 

2.00

 

0.97

 

Recording/saving information

 

2.33

 

0.97

Communicating with my students on academic matters

1.52

0.78

Communicating with supervisors in time of need i.e. consultations

2.00

0.97

For texting my supervisors on issues pertaining to administration

1.63

0.77

Taking pictures for educational purposes                                                                    1.72                   0.89          

technological tool by both teachers and students and also found in both rural and urban areas, efforts should be made  to  investigate  its  use  in  school.  Additionally, Kihwele (2013)  observes that  not  everyone (students) with mobile phones performs badly. Hence, while mobile phones are regarded as distracters, if well researched, they can enable effective and meaningful learning outside the traditional classroom. Sheskey (2009) asserts that anyone younger than 25 years old has lived in the world of digital electronic magazines in his/her entire life. Let us examine the students in our schools today at the age 18 and younger. With or without mobile phones, students have been failing even before, hence to concur with the findings of this study: indeed, Kihwele (2013) on students’ affirmation of use of mobile phones on learning shows there is a great need to assess today’s learner characteristics if education is to be meaningful. Furthermore, Table 1 indicates that, sometimes, students in Shire Highlands Education Division take pictures  for  educational  purposes  as  suggested  by  a mean of 2.24. Wagner (in Goad, 2012) strongly contends “that whether we like it or not, whether we are ready for it or not, mobile learning characterizes the subsequent step in a long practice of technology facilitated learning – people can be presented more things to do with the mobile phones to which they are already attached and with which they are already reasonably competent”. It follows that there is a need to determine the effectiveness of mobile technology as a means of instruction in the classroom. According   to    Table    1,    students    often   access educational materials on  their  mobile  phones  as supported by a mean of 2.53. Research has shown that students perceive that mobile technology had a positive effect on their study habits and academic success (Spires et al., 2008). Likewise, Barak et al. (2006) noted  that  the use  of  mobile  technology,  coupled  with  Wi-Fi connectivity, improved active investigative learning and was effective in promoting exchanges between students and the instructor in large classes. In addition, a mean of 1.62 was obtained suggesting that students tend to agree that students never submit assignments to their teachers using mobile phones. Research has shown that mobile phones enable students to work on assignments course- work in places such as riding the bus home from school, waiting for the train or between classes which otherwise would potentially be wasted time (MaConatha et al., in Walsh, 2012). Put differently, mobile phones have a significant influence on students’ interactive learning techniques if educators can harness the technology with a positive outlook.

Table 2 presents the descriptive statistics on the prevalent use of mobile phones in academic and social life of the teachers in SHED. Taking into account the means for the different academic activities, it depicts that sometimes teachers use mobile phones for academic purposes. Just as the case with student’s utilization of mobile phones, teachers mean of 2.52 indicate that teachers often find notes, meanings of words, etc. via internet on mobile phones. It confirms the findings of researchers that mobile expertise over the recent years has become an essential part of everyday life of individuals viewing this means of communication as a requirement rather than a luxury (Johnson and Kritsonis, 2007). Likewise, teachers gave a mean of 2.33, which shows that they sometimes use mobile phones for recording/saving information. There have been positive responses from surveys suggesting that mobile phones have penetrated almost every part of today’s society; and it is fast turning into an essential part of people everyday life  (Robertson  and  Hagevik,  in  Walsh,  2012). Considering this,  young trainee teachers for most part

 

Table 3. Prevalent use of mobile phones on academic life of Head Teachers (N = 4).

 

Variable

Mean

Std. Deviation

Accessing administrative reports e. g statistics from school departments

3.25

0.96

Submission of administrative reports by heads of departments

2.50

1.29

For video-conferencing with superiors from the MoEST.

1.50

1.00

Watch audio visual materials pertaining to school inspection, condition of school infrastructure, etc.

1.50

1.00

Use for internet connections to find sites that deal with management of schools, etc.

3.25

0.96

Use bilingual dictionaries

1.50

1.00

Use administrative software

2.25

1.50

Reading and accessing information about administrative matters

2.50

1.29

Taking photos of school infrastructure that need attention

2.50

1.29

Communicating with parents on school matters

3.75

0.50

Recording/saving information

3.50

0.58

Communicating with teachers on school matters                                                                  3.75                 0.50          

enjoyed using the technology and often got busy using it (Hollow, 2008). Furthermore, Hollow observed that the confidence  of  young  teachers  had  a  comprehensible effect on the manner in which children approached handheld devices and made use of them in classroom (Hollow, 2008). Hence, the use of mobile phones in schools is just a matter of time.

     Adding to this, teachers sometimes access educational materials using mobile phones as suggested by a mean of 2.28. Duhaney (2000) observed that by blending, and reported that students perceived that mobile technology had a positive effect on their study habits and academic success. It follows that those teaching materials that are difficult to come by will be readily available and will supplement the information from the out-dated books. As Osang et al. (2013) rightly observe, teachers access this educational  material  sometimes  because  using technology in class is said to be an added difficulty. This assertion is substantiated by the findings of Goad (2012) who affirmed that most teachers are not comfortable with technology in their classrooms as revealed in literature related to the study of teacher attitudes and behaviours toward the use of mobile technology, especially cell phones, as an instructional tool.

In addition, teachers posted a mean of 2.00 on two items indicating that sometimes they communicate with supervisors in time of need and again read and access information about health matters that are hard to talk about, for example drug use using mobile phones. This implies that teachers use mobile phones for social life as well. Thus, mobile phones are, to a great extent, being used for almost all areas of work and social activities such as to organise appointments and personal contacts, take and store pictures and video, browse the internet, email,  short  messaging  service  (SMS),  play  music, access radio, make use of global positioning system (GPS), and provide access to games and entertainment and   of   course,   make   phone   calls   (Cockrane  and Bateman, 2010; Gromik, 2012; Librero et al., 2007).

The  study  indicated  that  teachers  sometimes  use mobile  phones  for  texting  supervisors  on  issues pertaining to administration as suggested by a mean of 1.63. This observation is substantiated by a study by Olofinniyi et al. (2012) who contend that operationally teachers make use of mobile phones in class organization, including students’ attendance and management, simple and well-organized as this will enable the teachers and the school head to be in touch effectively with both students and their parents. Consequently, it follows that mobile phones are an essential element in the academic and social life of the student in Shire Highlands Education Division, though; through this study, nothing much has been done to incorporate it in aiding class management.

     Table 3 depicts descriptive statistics on prevalent uses of mobile phones on academic and social life of head teachers in SHED. The prevalent uses of mobile phones on academic and social life have been presented by means and standard deviations. Head teachers tend to always use mobile phones for academic endeavours. The highest mean of 3.75 indicates that head teachers always communicate with parents on school matters. Likewise, a similar mean of 3.75 has been posted on head teachers always communicate with teachers on school matters. Literature has shown that mobile phones, due to their nature, are said to have improved communication and administration.  Gromik  (2012)  and  Cockrane  and Bateman (2010) claim that mobile phones now permit users to take pictures, write notes, and make voice recordings or short videos, listen to music, watch audio- visual material, use bilingual dictionaries or language study software, play games, receive radio, send text messages, engage with social-networking and make regular calls. According to Obringer and Coffey (2007), head teachers are concerned with inappropriate use of mobile phones in schools as this is regarded as the major cause of restricting their use. Put differently, this study has established that official communication with parents

Table 4. Prevalent use of mobile phones on academic life of Division/District Education Managers (N = 4).

 

Variable

Mean

Std. Deviation

Accessing school data from other divisions/schools

3.00

0.82

Submission of school reports by head teachers

1.75

0.96

Taking pictures for educational purposes

2.25

1.23

Watch audio visual materials

1.25

0.50

Use internet connections to find school data in my division

1.75

1.50

Use bilingual dictionaries

1.00

0.00

Use statistical software for records generation and keeping

1.50

1.00

Reading and accessing information about school issues in my division and beyond

2.00

1.41

Access administrative reports from DEMs/head teachers

2.00

1.41

Recording/saving information                                                                               1.25                  0.50          

 and fellow members of staff is the major use of mobile phones in schools, as use of mobile phones by students is regarded as a deterrent to student learning.

     Adding to this, head teachers often access administrative reports like statistics from school departments using mobile phones that have internet services as suggested by a mean of 3.25. Similarly, head teachers often use internet connections to find sites that deal with management of schools. This assertion is suggested by a mean posted by head teachers of 3.25. Likewise, head teachers posted a mean of 2.50 implying that mobile phones are often used by department heads in submitting administrative reports head teachers and often take photos of school infrastructure that need attention, respectively. It follows that mobile phones most vital future potential also lies in the opportunity for incorporating  the  educational  content  with  new generation mobile phones and other hand held devices becoming  more  available  across  the  region  (Hollow 2008).

     Table 4 shows descriptive statistics of Education Division Manager and District Education Managers on prevalent use of mobile phones in SHED. Mostly, the EDM and DEMs often access school data from other divisions and from within the district of their jurisdiction respectively as depicted by a mean of 3.00. Similarly, the EDM and DEMs sometimes take pictures for educational purposes as suggested by a mean of 2.25. Additionally, the EDM sometimes access administrative reports from the DEMs through use of mobile phones as presented by a mean of 2.00. Thus mobile phone utilization can be incorporated in the education system as a real time communication and data sharing tool in administration (JISC, 2012).

     Equally true, EDM sometimes read and access information about school issues in his division by use of mobile. Hence, it could be concluded that the mobile phones used by EDM and DEMs are mainly for administrative purposes which can both be for creating a conducive environment for learning as well as for smooth interaction of the educators in general.

Social life

      This section presents students, teachers, head teachers and division/district education managers’ in the prevalent uses of mobile phones in social life of students in Shire Highlands Education Division. Table 5 shows descriptive statistics on the prevalent use of mobile phones in social life of students in Shire Highlands Education Division. The study has revealed that students often use their mobile phones for keeping in touch with friends as indicated by a mean higher than the rest in this category of 3.14. Similarly, students often utilize mobile phones for keeping in touch with their parents and for getting help in times of need as depicted by a mean of 3.05 and 3.04, respectively.  The  finding  replicates  studies  that  were done by Olofinniye et al. (2012), Willard (2012) and Ford and <a href="https://www.researchg