Using mobile instant messaging to leverage learner participation and transform pedagogy at a South African University of Technology

Patient Rambe, Aaron Bere

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

181 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One of the most complicated academic endeavours in transmission pedagogies is to generate democratic participation of all students and public expression of silenced voices. While the potential of mobile phones, particularly mobile instant messaging (MIM), to trigger broadened academic participation is increasingly acknowledged in literature, integrating MIM into classrooms and out-of-the-classroom tasks has often been confronted with academic resistance. Academic uncertainty about MIM is often predicated on its perceived distractive nature and potential to trigger off-task social behaviours. This paper argues that MIM has potential to create alternative dialogic spaces for student collaborative engagements in informal contexts, which can gainfully transform teaching and learning. An instance of a MIM, WhatsApp, was adopted for an information technology course at a South African university with a view to heighten lecturer-student and peer-based participation, and enhance pedagogical delivery and inclusive learning in formal (lectures) and informal spaces. The findings suggest heightened student participation, the fostering of learning communities for knowledge creation and progressive shifts in the lecturer's mode of pedagogical delivery. However, the concomitant challenge of using MIM included mature adults' resentment of the merging of academic and family life occasioned by WhatsApp consultations after hours. Students also expressed ambivalence about MIM's wide-scale roll-out in different academic programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-561
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

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