Students’ Experiences With Smart Devices in Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Saudi Digital Library
The integration of smart devices in the classroom, and particularly regarding its impact on student engagement, has become a significant topic of debate in the education sector. This study aimed to explore students’ perceptions and experiences of how the integration of smart devices affected their engagement with teachers and peers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research addressed concerns and controversies surrounding the use of smart devices in classrooms and investigated their potential positive and negative effects on student engagement. The theoretical framework of activity theory and the conceptual framework of the bioecological student engagement model guided this study. The research adopted a qualitative approach and involved eight randomly-selected student participants. The study employed a blended approach, combining both inductive and deductive methods, and utilized data triangulation through interviews and focus groups. The researcher employed thematic analysis to identify common themes in the data, allowing for a qualitative understanding of the students’ perceptions. The analysis revealed four major themes: short-term benefits, challenges experienced by students, student–teacher relationships, and student–peer interactions. The findings highlighted the importance of smart devices in promoting continuity of learning, leveraging technology for educational purposes, improving communication between students and teachers, and fostering emotional intelligence and conflict management among peers. However, the study also identified challenges, such as interruptions to learning, poor mental health, and the absence of face-to-face interactions.
In this study, I aimed to understand students’ perceptions and experiences of how the integration of smart devices in the classroom affects their engagement with their teachers and peers. In particular, I underscored the impact of the use of smart devices in the context of COVID-19 and how this period influenced the adoption of smart devices in the classroom. This included a focus on students’ perceptions of smart devices, their effects on student-teacher relationships, and other critical issues, such as challenges facing the complete adoption of smart devices in the classroom and other significant issues of technology adaptation to learning outcomes. I achieved this through selecting 10 participants from among the graduate students of the Department of Educational Leadership at Concordia University Chicago.
smart devices, COVID-19, activity theory, students’ perceptions, engagement with teachers and peers