Abstract – Adoption of smartphone by students of higher
learning has been a global phenomenon in recent years. It is more than an
integral part of adolescents’ daily lives and has become the most popular form
of electronic communication. Infact, the smartphone has turned from a
technological tool to a social tool.

Smartphones and tablets play a very significant role
in higher learning student’s information seeking behaviour in meeting their
learning and research needs. This paper explores the impact of smartphones on academic performance of
higher learning students. The study revealed high
level of awareness about the usage of smartphones by higher learning students
for their academic works. Results showcases that smartphones have tremendous
impact on their higher education. Especially with easy internet access and high
speed browsing as it saves time and money rather than  going to cybercafé/college library. Moreover,
lack of experts who are technically strong on repairs during fault occurence,
operational difficulties, high cost of data subscription from service providers
and fragility are the major problems that are encountered while using smartphones.
This study aims in finding out the
relationship between smartphone usage and academic performance among students
of higher learning.  The study involved
data collation based on description of the phone usage habit such as browsing
frequency, information sourced, sites visited, and examining the effect of smartphones
on students’ academic related activities. The hours spent on the phones by
students were also gauged and compared with one another focusing on studies and
learning perspectives respectively.

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Key
words: Smartphones,
Student academic activities, Higher learning students, academic performance

 

I. 
INTRODUCTION

 

                Learning is imperative
for growth and in today’s era the gadgets become a supplement to add value for
learning activities. Invariably the students are those who either become a
beneficiary if they use the gadgets in appropriate manner or become a trap if
used

 

 

inappropriately. This
study as indicated previously focuses on the impact of smartphone among the
students who takers of higher education and the relative impact on academic
performance.

 

A mobile phone is an electronic device used for two-way
radio telecommunication over a cellular network of base stations known as cell
sites (as defined by  Vijayakumaran
Nair.K & Vinod Chandra S.S, 2014).Many definitions of mobile phones
validates the point that its existence in the world was for emergency purpose
but over the time the usage has taken varied purposes.

 If students have
a mobile phone, then it is easy to contact anyone at their needs. For instance,
if a student is in danger, he/she can contact their parents for rescue and
safeguard themselves. Likewise, a student with a phone can contact police at
any harmful situation, or contact fire brigade if they find fire somewhere, or
even they can call any useful departments on their needs. Therefore, mobile
phone is one of the best solutions for any emergency situations.

Mobile phones have become an essential part of anyone’s day
to day life since 1990s. As cell phones have become more available, they are
increasingly owned and used by college/university students as well.

The aim of this research
is to assess the impact of mobile phones in learning as they enhance students’
learning in different ways. Smartphones easily promote collaborative and
different types of learning through their wireless connection to the internet.
Their adoption in learning processes by the higher institution management as
student-learning and communication device tools is useful. Taking a step ahead,
the impact of mobile learning on students’ learning behaviours and performance
have also been highlighted in recent research (Wand, Minjuan et al 2009). Mobile
phones motivate students in a classroom environment to be more engaged to the
lesson promoting learner-centred participation. This indicates the dynamic
support that the Smartphone has brought to students’ learning practice.

 

 

 

2.  Literature Review

The survey conducted by D. North,
K. Johnston, and J. Ophoff (2014) showcased few signs of addiction to
respondent’s mobile phones. Their study explored the use and role of mobile phones among South
African university students. The focused on four main categories to examine the
students’ mobile phone use were namely  a) reasons to use mobile phones b) pattern of
mobile phone use c)purchasing factors d) behaviour-related issues.

 

Differences in mobile phone use by
gender were found, with female students showing increased mobile phone use for
safety and socializing, interest in brand and trends, as well as signs of
addiction. They found that Males and females differ significantly in some areas of mobile
phone use.

A recent study conducted by
(Gretchen Krebs, 2012) shows that smartphones have a huge impact on student
achievement. Skeptically, including some parents, worry about kids wasting time
in class, but so far the benefits of allowing personal technology in schools
outweigh the risks.

A research conducted by
H.M.Abuhassna and I.M.H. Amin indicates the differences due to age and gender
do not appear to be particularly significant; most significant differences
appear to be due to the mobile devices used or technologies available. The use
or not of certain technologies like social networking among students is high
compared to downloading podcast or searching for answers during examinations.

According to (M. J. Stollak, et al,
2011) students who have smartphones were more likely to both access social
networks and spend time in chatting with others. From an educational point of
view, student can enhance their academic performance level by watching online
resources and  professors may have to be
wary of assigning project works involving social media to students as some may
have an advantage in completing the work than others.

(P. Jubien, 2013)  in her qualitative study  concludes that graduate students combine
their personal lives with their student lives influenced by the use of
smartphones. This finding can be understood as a statement that students can
have a classroom at home or wherever making use of communication and
educational applications offered by smartphones. she also mentions another  finding about how smartphones are influencing
and changing educational practices. For example, changes in the way to gather
information, to receive instructions from teachers, to do homework, to
collaborate with classmates, among others.

 

The independent variable namely age becomes an important
factor to be considered to gauge the impact of cell phone usage among students
and in addition the age being at the level of adolescence is very critical
which has been postulated by (Elkind, 1967), in his theory. As the theory
focuses on adolescent egocentrism, pointed out heightened self-consciousness
during adolescence. The theory highlights that the adolescence stage is
critical because of authority, unwillingness to accept and quick to find fault
with others which leads seeing from one’s own perspective alone and not being
empathetic which has been conducted among students of the University of Ibadan.
Similarly, his study also showcases that ostentatious mode of using and
disposing of the internet enabled phones at will, in order to be abreast of
current trends which validates his point that today’s students are more of
attention seekers.

The West African Examination
Council WAEC Chief Examiner Report, 2014 has shown the data from the Taraba
State that most of the students fail English Language and Mathematics.  This may be partly attributed to high usage
of Mobile Phone telecommunication gadgets and student spend more time in mobile
phone usage instead  of concentrating
their classroom work. The free night calls, chatting, instant messaging, social
networking and exam malpractices etc are greatly influencing the student’s
academic performance.

M. Tayseer, et al(2014) proposed a
research article titled  “Social
Network: Academic and Social Impact on College Students. ” and  found that there is a correlation between the
students GPAs and their frequent usage of social networks like twitter, face
book. They also found that many of their respondents do not use social sites to
look for academic related information; however, many of them support the idea
of having online learning. Another finding showed that the students tend to use
social networks like Face book and Twitter in social
purposes rather than the academic ones.

This
work concentrates on finding the Impact of smartphone
usage on academic performance of higher learning students in virudhunagar
district which includes 12 Arts and science colleges, 12 Engineering Colleges
and one deemed university.

3. METHODOLOGY

The subjects of the study included students from the Virudhunagar.
Quantitative research method was adopted and data were treated accordingly. The
population of the study comprised of 40% of the students from the various
institutions during the year 2016. This constituted to the sample for the
study. The data obtained for the survey was collected between October and
November 2016 by questionnaire method. Closed-ended questions were adopted which
in-turn were interpreted and analysed. A total of 85 copies of questionnaire
were distributed to students of the various institutions including those from
the various departments of which 80nos were returned with a response rate of
88.9%. The returned copies of questionnaire were analyzed using percentage and
frequency count. 

4. Research Design

The design was such as to trace vital predictive relationship and
degrees of association among variables. In order to analyze the information
collected, the sampling method of research design was adopted. Simple random
sampling method is adopted for data collection.

Simple Random Sampling (SRS) is a simple random sample of a given
size; all such subsets of the frame are given an equal probability.
Furthermore, any given pair of elements has the same chance of selection as any other such pair. This minimizes bias
and simplifies analysis of results. In particular, the variance between
individual results within the sample is a good indicator of variance in the
overall population, which makes it relatively easy to estimate the accuracy of
results.

The study population consisted of all higher learning students of
the Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu State. Thus students were randomly
selected on campus to administer the questionnaire. Henceforth it is noted that
the findings of the study will have equal applicability to other students in
the schools. The survey questionnaire was accordingly, administered physically
and taken back immediately and some after few days.

This is dependent on the choice of the individual making up the
sample size. A self -administered process whereby the respondent himself reads
the questions and records answer without the assistance of an interviewer. The
questionnaire was designed to collect relevant information the questions were
numbered for easy references and arranged so that the respondents can
understand easily the reason and important attached each question.

The form of questionnaire used provided on easy quick way of
collecting objective information from primary sources without necessary
allowing the respondents to strain his or her brain for answers. The content
validity ensured of the validity of the study. Coincidently, test-retest method
was also used in this study in order to test the reliability, out of forty
questionnaire returned, 15 questions were marked for test-retest.

 

5.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Based on the data collected 60% of the students
reported that they have android mobile with internet connection and have the
internet enabled phones. Around 90% of them have been actively using the
internet mobile services to surf and browse the net. The following figure shows
the analysis of browsing frequency of respondents. Data was collected around
373 students. Among them the 223 students having mobile phones with net
connection and 200 students actively used internet mobile services to surf and
browse the net.

Table 1: Showing average hours
per day spent on both academic and social communication by respondents

 

Table
1  Average Hours Spent Per Day

 

Total
Hours Spent

Frequency

Percent

Valid
Percent

Cumulative
Percent

less
than 2 hours

55

27.5

27.5

27.5

2 to
5 hours

58

29

29

56.5

Valid  5 to 7 hours

68

34

34

90.5

more
than 7 hours

19

9.5

9.5

100

200

100

100

 

 

According to
the table above, the average hours spent on usage of smartphone by majority of
the respondents (34%) lies on 5 -7 hours per day which is too much for students
to spend those hours on academic activities rather than non -academic issues
which eventually improves the academic performance because the time needed by
student to concentrate on his/her studies is almost occupied by academic
interactions like online materials, registering online courses. The information
on the table 1 above can also be presented in figure 1 below.

Table 2: Showing the use of smartphone

 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid
Percent

Cumulative
Percent

Valid  Academic

110

55.0

55.0

82.5

Non
Academic

65

32.5

32.5

32.5

Both

25

12.5

12.5

100.0

 

200

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

The information in the above table can also be presented in a pie chart
shown below:

 

As it can be
shown above, the majority of respondents responded positively on the use of smartphone
for academic purposes(55 %) like sharing of materials or notes provided by
lecturers/instructors compared to 32.5% who use their smartphone for non
academic purposes (32.5%) like communications, charting with friends browsing
some social news for celebrities.

So the above
testament shows that most of students in higher learning institutions tends to
use smartphones for academic purpose than non-academic purpose which let them
to improve the quality and updated learning and increase the concentrations in
class when instructor/lecturer is giving his/her lectures and this causes the
better result in academic performance. This is also analysed with the help of
Chi Square test.

 

Hypothesis:

H0: there is no
significant relationship between the usage of phones for academic purposes and non academic purposes.

H1: there is significant
relationship between the usage of phones for academic purposes and non academic purposes.

Table 3: Showing the browsing frequency of smartphone for
academic and non academic purposes:

 

Browsing
Frequency

Academic

Non
Academic

Total

low

25

43

68

Medium

35

20

55

High

63

14

77

123

77

200

 

Table:4 – Computation of Test Statistical for Academic Purpose
Compared to non academic purposes

Browsing

Frequency

Responses

O

E

O-E

(O-E)2

(O-E)2/
E

Academic

Low

25

41.82

16.82

282.91

6.77

Medium

35

33.83

1.17

1.37

0.04

High

63

47.36

15.64

244.61

5.16

Non
Academic

Low

43

26.18

16.82

282.91

10.81

Medium

20

21.18

-1.18

1.39

0.07

High

14

29.65

-15.65

244.92

8.26

Calculated
Value

31.11

 

Where E stands for expected value and O is the observed value

X^2 =? ?(O –E )^2 /E = 31.108 (H1)

X^2 table value = (r –1)( C- 1) = (3-1)(2- 1) = 2 X 1 = 2

2 at 0.05 = 5.991 (H0)

  Conclusion: Since the
X^2 calculated value of 31.108 is greater than the X^2 table value of 5.991.
Hence, we reject H0 and accept H1. There is significant relationship between
the usages of the mobile for academic purposes
like sharing
of materials or notes provided by lecturers/instructors compare
to non academic purposes like chatting
on Facebook, Whatsapp and BBM.

Discussion of Findings

From the analysis of result in table above, the following findings were
made during the research;

? 213 questionnaires were administered; 200 were collected while 13 were
rejected because of incomplete source of information.

? Most of the respondent expressed their academic performance was improved
due to the proper usage of mobile phones.

? Most of the respondent believed that the biggest issue in mobile phone
usage is the addiction to usage of social network.

? Most of the respondent believed that the students use their mobile phones
on academic network (using it to learn eBooks) than using it to social network.

So we concluded that if the use of mobile phone is managed and properly
harnessed, it would definitely improve the academic performance of students.

 

6.
Conclusion

 

Based on the chi square test, it is observed
that there is no significant relationship affecting the academic performance of
students in using smartphones.  Data was
collected from students around Virudhunagar district. The relationship between smartphone
usage and academic activities among higher learning students was found.  Each and every technology has its own
advantages and disadvantages for students and mobile phone is one of them.
Students, who passed in first class, must be gained some extra knowledge and
surely which is from the internet. Before the library helps the student to gain
some extra knowledge and now the whole library is in the student’s pocket as a
mobile phone.  In this study data both
Description of the phone usage habit such as Browsing frequency, Information
sourced, Sites visited and etc., were collected and found that there is no
significant relationship affecting the academic performance of students in
using smartphones.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Ø 
Further study may be undertaken as to the specific extent when can smartphone
usage can be disruptive of learning processes and detrimental to studies.

Ø  The professors should give orientation on
the use of smartphones especially for information to maximize their use as an
aid to learning processes.

Ø  College Administration may create a hub
wherein texts messages and pictures can be sent twenty-four seven (24/7) for a
safe campus.

Ø  A mobileapp may be generated to monitor
the students’ behaviour on Smartphone usage to exhibit the accurate results.

7.
References:References:

 

1D. North, K. Johnston, and J.
Ophoff, “The Use of Mobile Phones by South African University
Students,” Issues in Informing
Science and Information Technology, vol. 11, 2014.

2http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865566925/Smartphones-smarter-students.html?pg=all.

3H. M. Abuhassna and I. M. H.
Amin, “students feedback and perception regarding mobile phone
applications at the faculty of education in-UPM.”

4https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolescent_egocentrism

5M. J. Stollak, A. Vandenberg, A.
Burklund, and S. Weiss, “Getting social: The impact of social networking
usage on grades among college students,” in Proceedings from ASBBS annual conference, 2011, pp. 859-865.

6P. Jubien, “Shape Shifting Smartphones:
Riding the Waves in Education,” Canadian
Journal of Learning and Technology, vol. 39, p. n2, 2013.

7 Twum, R. (2011) Students’ Questionnaire on Mobile Phone
Use in Learning

(SQMPUL). Kenyatta University, Kenya

8M. Tayseer, F. Zoghieb, I. Alcheikh,
and M. N. Awadallah, “Social Network: Academic and Social Impact on
College Students.”

9P. A. Kirschner and A. C. Karpinski, “Facebook® and
academic performance,”

Computers in human behavior, vol. 26, pp. 1237-1245, 2010.

10J. Lee, B. Cho, Y. Kim, and J. Noh, “Smartphone Addiction
in University Students and its Implication for Learning,” in Emerging
Issues in Smart Learning, ed: Springer, 2015, pp. 297-305.