The use of mobile devices as means of data collection in supporting elementary school students’ conceptual understanding about plants
AuthorZacharia, Zacharias C.
SourceInternational Journal of Science Education
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The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mobile learning among young learners. Specifically, we investigated whether the use of mobile devices for data collection during field trips outside the classroom could enhance fourth graders’ learning about the parts of the flower and their functions, flower pollinators and the process of pollination/fertilization, and the interrelationship between animals and plants, more than students’ use of traditional means of data collection. For this purpose, we designed a pre–post experimental design study with two conditions: one in which participants used a mobile device for data collection and another using traditional means (e.g. sketching and note-taking). The sample comprised 48 fourth graders (24 in each condition), who studied the flower, its parts, and their functions. A conceptual test was administered to assess students’ understanding before and after instruction. Moreover, the students’ science notebooks and accompanying artifacts were used as a data source for examining students’ progress during the study's intervention. The conceptual test and notebook data were analyzed statistically, whereas we used open coding for the artifacts. Findings revealed that using mobile devices for data collection enhanced students’ conceptual understanding more than using traditional means of data collection. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.