Doctoral defence: Liina Adov “Predicting teachers’ and students’ reported mobile device use in STEM education: the role of behavioural intention and attitudes“

On 16 February at 10:00 Liina Adov will defend her doctoral thesis “Predicting teachers’ and students’ reported mobile device use in STEM education: the role of behavioural intention and attitudes” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Educational Science).

Professor Äli Leijen, University of Tartu
Professor Margus Pedaste, University of Tartu
Professor Miia Rannikmäe, University of Tartu

Professor Timothy Teo, Murdoch University (Australia)

Research has shown that using technology in education helps support student achievement, motivation and acquisition of new skills, including supporting collaboration and self-regulation skills. Yet, the frequency of technology use in the educational context has been rather low. This, combined with the rising accessibility of mobile devices, suggests that accessibility of technology alone is not sufficient to guarantee the use of technology in education. Research has shown that attitudes are key indicators as to whether technology is used, further it has been assumed that behavioural intention acts as a mediator between attitude and behaviour. The overarching aim of this thesis is to better understand how attitudes and behavioural intention interact in predicting teachers’ and students’ mobile device use for educational purposes in a STEM context. Data were collected in the first phase of the study through questionnaires from both students and teachers, while in the second phase interviews were used to gain insights into teachers’ attitudes, behavioural intention and mobile device use during the distance learning period at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed that for both teachers and students, attitude directly predicts behaviour, which suggests that attitudes can help us understand the behaviour beyond a person’s reported willingness to do so. Furthermore, we could see that social support, belief in one’s ability to use mobile devices in education and evaluation towards the usefulness of mobile devices in education have a significant role in predicting behaviour, while social support seemed to be more influential among teachers. While in the first phase of the study we collected data on the frequency of mobile device use, the results from the second phase highlighted the importance of looking beyond frequency and aiming to understand usage more closely. As the results showed that while mobile device use in teaching was a daily activity for all teachers, we were able to see variety in the complexity of technology integration and variety in the latter in connection with teachers attitudes as well as behavioural intention. Based on the results, several suggestions are provided for researchers interested in studying mobile device use as well as for practitioners seeking insights to help them to support mobile device use by teachers and students for educational purposes.

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