Title page for ETD etd-07102009-160407

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Oelofse, Christina Hermiena
Email christa.o@vodamail.co.za
URN etd-07102009-160407
Document Title The learner profile of a teenage cell phone user
Degree MEd
Department Curriculum Studies
Advisor Name Title
Dr A De Jager Supervisor
  • South Africa
  • teenagers
  • learners
  • cell phones
  • digital devices
Date 2009-04-20
Availability unrestricted

Today South Africa, along with the rest of the world, is witnessing a virtual social revolution related to the use of cell phones by teenagers. Although current estimates suggest that the majority of teenagers in South Africa have cell phones, very little research has been done on how they socially interact with it or how these digital devices can be used to facilitate educational pursuits.

A profile of a teenage learner in the physical, social, moral, cultural and psychological context utilising cell phone technology was developed to understand the way in which today‟s technologically advanced teenager grow up, learn, think, work, communicate and socialise. A profile like this can be of assistance to successfully introduce the cell phone as an educational tool to enhance and support the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills of the learner. Technological resources are scarce in South Africa; therefore it is important for educators today to take advantage of all tools that are available to enhance the educational process. Although new technologies have the potential of transforming education it can not be guaranteed.

An exploratory study, using the mixed method (qualitative and quantitative) was done. A questionnaire was administered to measure the teenager‟s activities in today‟s technologically rich environment mainly focusing on quantitative questions regarding the use of the cell phone. The open ended questions from the questionnaire were divided into the groups and analysed to form part of the qualitative data. A male and female focus group (aged between 13 and 17 years) were conducted to form part of the qualitative material. Predetermined qualitative questions, focussing mainly on the teenager‟s attitude and use towards cell phone use, were asked. The participants‟ responses led to innovative questions. A quantitative logbook was kept by a few teenagers to get an understanding of the time teenagers spend using a cell phone and the functions mostly used on the cell phone.

The results indicate that no evidence could be found that the use of cell phones in a class room environment will detrimentally affect physical activities of teenage learners. Cell phones have become an integral part of the social lives of teenage learners and might in fact introduce an element of cognitive and affective skills as „fun‟ and „excitement‟ into the learning process. Although brand associations are extremely important to teenage learners it appears that the mere fact of owning a cell phone already satisfies this requirement for social acceptance. Teenage learners with reference to the moral concept have displayed the ability to distinguish between what is right and wrong with regards to the use of cell phones. Teenage learners were largely in favour of using cell phones in a classroom but were somewhat divided on some practicalities. Owning a cell phone satisfies the perceived requirement for peer acceptance in a multi-cultural and technologically well informed society even though the cell phone might not be the most modern model. With reference to the psychological concept teenage learners have acknowledged their own vulnerability and need for guidance, whilst at the same time emphasising the need to form their own opinion and identity through continued exploration and investigation of the world around them

This study has shown a definite possibility to the positive use of a cell phone as educational tool, but to successfully introduce the cell phone into a classroom as an educational tool, further research is necessary.

Copyright © 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows

Oelofse, CH 2008, The learner profile of a teenage cell phone user, MEd dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07102009-160407/ >

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