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Title: Mobile learning in Oman : a case study of two 'cycle 2' (grades 5-10) private schools
Author: Al-Siyabi, Muna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 7915
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2019
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Mobile technologies have been utilised in all aspects of life including education. Research on implementing these technologies in educational settings has been flourishing in recent years, yielding a new field of research called mobile learning (mLearning). This field of research has been given a significant focus in many countries across the world. Although rnLearning has been employed in schools in Oman since 2005, there has been a struggle to implement it due to weak network coverage and lack of training. Moreover, there is a gap in this research area in schools in Oman. This study aims to explore the perceptions of teachers, students, headteachers and school IT technicians in regard to exploring the opportunities and challenges at their schools with the aim to inform the implementation of mobile technologies in more schools in Oman. Two private mixed gender schools in Oman were involved and a total of 16 teachers, two headteachers, two IT technicians and 237 students responded to questionnaires, while seven teachers, two headteachers and three focus groups of 13 students were involved in interviews in order to explore how mobile technologies are used in these two schools. The results indicated that each school had a different time scale in implementing rnLearning. The first school had a longer time in the process of implementation than the second school. All participants taking part in the questionnaires and interviews believed that mobile learning enhances students' learning and engagement, provides authentic and situated learning opportunities, and enhances communication and collaboration. The results also revealed that teachers and students face a number of challenges with mobile learning, such as considering a cognitively demanding environment for students and technical problems for both teachers and students. Moreover, most teachers complained about the difficulty to control the behaviour of their classes when their students were using the mobile devices, which distracted their attention and affected their understanding. This study also showed that most teachers use mobile technologies as a substitution of other resource tools like desktops or books, using them mainly for searching purposes, which ultimately affects their confidence in using these devices. During the interviews, three factors that help implementing rnLearning were suggested financial support, a social contract between teachers and students, and teacher collaboration groups to share effective usages of these devices in each subject area. The results of this study indicated that mobile technologies can be effectively employed in the classrooms if these considerations of technical support, teacher training and curriculum resourcing are addressed. Teachers have a significant role in the implementation of mobile learning in classrooms and their professional development should be considered when starting any mobile learning project. Furthermore, students should be educated about the appropriate and inappropriate uses of mobile technologies in schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral