Affordances of PDAs: Undergraduate Student Perceptions

Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology 01/2008;
Source: DOAJ

ABSTRACT This paper reports on an empirical study of undergraduate students’ exploration and use of PDAs for educational purposes over a period of six months. In previous studies, educational applications of PDAs have focused mainly on exploring designed research or experiments, in which students have used this technology for prescribed learning tasks. Students have fewer opportunities to explore how PDAs can be used effectively for general educational and study purposes. How students perceive and use PDAs on their own is not well understood. This study explores student understandings and use of PDAs to support their academic studies at a university. It investigates students’ free exploration and use of PDAs for various educational purposes through applying rich, descriptive qualitative research methodology. Two cases are reported in this study. Data collection methods included: interviews with students, a review of student artifacts created using the PDA, student electronic journals and observation of student PDA uses. Seven emerging categories of PDA affordances were identified. They include: multimedia collection, multimedia access, communication, scheduling, data processing , connectivity and representation. Each category is presented both at rich descriptive and interpretive levels. I mplications regarding findings are explored.

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