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Adoption, adaptation, and use of mobiles by university students: a Central American example

Juan Aguirre (Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica)
Sindy Chaves (Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica)
Karen Burban (Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 1 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the actual uses of smartphones for university students while they are in the university, whether in the classroom or outside, to facilitate the use of mobile technologies in the university and in classroom activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The site was the main campus of a university with a population of 10,000 undergraduate students; a convenience sample of 370 students was estimated for 246 usable surveys, with 95% confidence interval and 6.12 percent error. The proposed conceptual framework is based on the unified theory of technology acceptance. The instrument was developed on the basis of the literature and it was validated through a qualitative–quantitative process. The data were collected fact-to-face and the analysis consisted of the estimation of a general profile, mean and standard deviation and the development of the ordinal logistic regression model to test the hypothesis. Minitab 16 was the program used for the calculations.

Findings

The instrument was found to be acceptable with a 0.90 α. The uses associated with the academic activities are: p8_1 search what I do not understand in the class, p5_1 read digital books, pdf and other documents, p9_1 study, p11_1 share course information and p2_1 take photos of class blackboard and another type of materials. For non-academic uses, the uses were: p14 calendar, p4 listening to music, p9 telephone calls and p7 interacting with new students. The adaptation of mobiles to university education has to harmonize students’ use, professors’ objections and institutional concerns; therefore, four elements are needed before a decision is made: professors’ training, teaching material development, infrastructure adaptation and a sound plan.

Research limitations/implications

The selection of students was a convenience sample; therefore, the results cannot be extrapolated beyond the sample.

Practical implications

The study clarifies the traditional idea popular in the area, that is, students use the mobile only for entertainment, and suggests ways to managerially deal with the issue in an orderly fashion, by investing in human capital, infrastructure and electronic teaching tools.

Originality/value

The value is that the findings provide some ideas regarding the uses of smartphones for university students while they are in the university; such information can be used to orient strategies to develop educational uses of the smartphone.

Keywords

Citation

Aguirre, J., Chaves, S. and Burban, K. (2019), "Adoption, adaptation, and use of mobiles by university students: a Central American example", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 493-505. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-07-2018-0130

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited