Mobile Devices including tablets are being used to enhance health education in different ways
Mobile Devices including tablets are being used to enhance health education in different ways (Aryee and Kinful, 2014; Greenspun and Coughlin, 2013). Using tablet devices to reach students will benefit higher education by providing a way to access digital resources and other electronic materials anywhere and anytime for better academic achievement (Lowenthal, 2010). Hence, many Higher learning institutions (HEIs) are implementing Digital and Virtual Learning to provide flexibility in learning and teaching process and on the other side they facilitate ways to provide tablet devices access (Tsinakos and Ally, 2013).
Currently most countries in the world are investing huge amount of money to provide access to tablet devices to their students for better academic results (Economides, and Nikolaou, 2008). In 2016, Ethiopian Ministry of Health also handed over 20,000 tablets that cost 18.5 million USD to medical schools in 28 public universities in order to ensure quality of education so as to produce skilled professionals in the health sector. The donation is part of the efforts of the Ministry towards bringing quality education in institutions of higher learning and believed that it will enable medical students’ access to up to date information in the field and allow students to access lectures, with or without access to internet as well as e-books, research works, journals and other digital resources in the form of audio-video, animation, photographs as well as texts (Kassa, 2016).
But, before academic institutions introduces a plan to invest in and/or introduce the use of mobile devices including tablets, or to permit access to them in the educational institutions, it should carefully consider, consult and agree on the educational reasons for doing so. It also needs to note the purpose and potentials of such tablets and other mobile devices for learning and teaching or student’s professional learning purposes (Aryee and Hansen, 2012). They also need to set evaluation indicators which will enable the institutions to judge the extent to which any investment provides a return, over time, in terms of standards, education quality and school improvements.
Even if there are some research attempts conducted on the impact of such technologies in academic institutions, most of the researches focused on assessing the use of mobile devices in heath sectors as one platform to reach to the rural communities for health information disseminations.(Parveen, 2012; Nasser,2014; Rajender, 2016), In addition to this, in our country also there are some good research attempts which focus on assessing information seeking culture of the users in different academic environments (Sead, 2017).
But as per the research knowledge the previous attempts lacks investigating the overall learning with tablet impact on digital resource access in higher education in line with its users attitude and access behavior, potential of devices, limitations encountered and extent to which investment provides a return for better academic achievement.
As a result the current research attempt motivated to examine the impact of tablet devices in digital resources usage for better academic performance to show the status of those tablet devices impact in the higher education institutions with respect to the intended plan and aim by the stakeholders during the provision of devices in Ethiopian higher education institutions.
1.2. Research questions
This research attempt to answer the following research questions:
1. What are the types of digital resource accessed and activities performed with Tablet Devices by students?
2. What is the role of availability of tablet devices in student’s access behavior towards educational digital resources?
3. What are students and instructors attitude towards the potentials of tablet devices in promoting digital resources access and use in order to improve students’ academic performance?
4. What are the factors that inhibit efficient use of Tablet Devices to access digital resources in higher education institutions?
5. Do higher education institutions have an appropriate infrastructure and digital content preparation to help tablet users for better academic achievement?