How long does a typical Codecademy class last?

Smart school, smart students? Effects of smartphones on cognitive performance and possible uses in the classroom

Table of Contents


1 Introduction - Smart Smombies?

2 Potential of mobile devices in the learning process
2.1 New learning opportunities outside of school
2.1.1 Advantages over traditional learning methods
2.1.2 Criteria for the selection of suitable applications
2.2 Direct involvement in the classroom - BYOD
2.2.1 Requirements
2.2.2 Reasons for using mobile devices in the classroom
2.2.3 Examples of use in the classroom
2.3 Changed role of the teacher
2.3.1 Social expectations
2.3.2 Necessary support for teachers
2.3.3 Skepticism towards smartphones in class
2.3.4 Change in typical activities
2.4 Current (research) projects

3 Foundations of learning theory
3.1 Basics: structure of the brain
3.2 Forms of learning when using mobile devices
3.2.1 Learning from texts
3.2.2 Learning through observation
3.2.3 Learning by working on tasks
3.3 Relevance of selected learning theories
3.3.1 Self-employment of the pupils according to Bruner
3.3.2 Active role of the learner in constructivism and motivation through interactivity
3.3.3 Connectivism
3.3.4 Behaviorism and Conditioning
3.3.5 Emotional processes and performance

4 Dangers and Risks
4.1 Indirect negative effects
4.1.1 Cyberbullying
4.1.2 Addiction
4.1.3 Digital burnout
4.1.4 Sleep disorders
4.2 Direct negative effects in the learning process
4.2.1 Too much and wrong information
4.2.2 Distraction and stimulus for procrastination
4.2.3 Reduced ability to concentrate and attention deficit

5 Conclusion and personal opinion

6 Appendix
6.1 Sources of quotations
6.2 Questionnaire for the survey carried out as part of this work
6.3 Evaluation of the survey

7 Bibliography


The present work deals with the possibilities of using smartphones in the context of teaching and learning processes as well as the effects of such mobile technology on learning output and cognitive performance. First, different ways of using mobile internet-enabled devices for independent learning outside of school as well as directly in class are presented, requirements and criteria to be observed are explained, and potential changes with regard to the role of the teacher are discussed. Subsequently, the possible uses presented are checked for their compatibility with regard to common learning theories. Finally, possible problems and challenges arising from the establishment of smartphones are pointed out, with both indirect and direct effects on the learning process being examined.

As part of this work, a survey was also carried out among 34 students (22 women, 12 men, average age 23.06 years) for teaching at secondary schools at the University of Passau. The majority of the subjects were in the 3rd and 4th semester when the survey was carried out. Most of the students (8) majored in German, followed by history and religious studies (5 each). Four students each stated that the main subjects they took were English, geography, art or mathematics. With regard to the topic of this thesis, it should be noted that only one interviewed student studied computer science. In the survey asked questions with given options as well as with open answer options. The exact questionnaire and the statistical evaluation can be found in the appendix.

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1 Introduction - Smart Smombies?

Inattentive, smartphone addicts and socially inactive - this is how many adults judge their children with regard to their smartphone use. In fact, the Langenscheid-Verlag chose the word in 2015 Smombie for the word of the year - a mixture of smartphone and zombie. Significant? Whether in the pedestrian zones or in local public transport - the typical head posture of young people is omnipresent. And not just since Pokémon Go.

The triumph of smartphones is taking place at an unprecedented speed. If around a quarter of all young people owned such a device in 2011, with a current prevalence of 95% it is definitely part of the standard equipment.[1] It is used over three hours a day[2] - and thus even more than the previous standard medium of television,[3] 59% of the young people even hold their smartphone in their hand in front of the TV.[4] Internet and mobile phones are by far the most popular[5] and subjectively most important[6] Media in the living environment of young people. In the JIM ranking, the classic book lands behind in 10th place.[7]

The smartphone - "as much a part of children’s lives as their clothes"[8] and "as essential to students’ daily life as, say, breakfast "[9] is always with you in your pocket. Also in school. Use of the entire school premises is prohibited by law in Bavaria;[10] but that does not mean that the students adhere to it. The number of those who also use their cell phones during class is likely to have increased rather than decreased in the course of the past few years since the appearance of smartphones, also due to the widespread availability of mobile Internet. In 2015, one in ten young people reported stress or anger because of their cell phone use at school.[11] If, on the other hand, one looks at the teachers' side, it is noticeable that in the survey carried out as part of this work, 17.6% of the respondents stated that they had already had problems with teaching disruptions from smartphones during their own teaching attempts. It should be noted, however, that the students have only been able to gain their first teaching experience in internships. In practice, the number of teachers affected by interference from mobile devices is therefore likely to be considerably higher. When asked the other way around, however, not a single test person stated that they “never” use their mobile phone in class during their own school days and now during lectures. 11.8% use their mobile phone “mostly” and a further 32.4% “often” during courses.

The question arises as to how the steadily increasing usage time and ubiquity of smartphones affects the cognitive performance of students. Can a direct benefit for the teaching-learning process be generated from the enormous possibilities that modern technology offers? How does this change the role of the teacher and how are these developments judged by current student teachers as the first generation of teachers of the “digital natives”? What are the dangers of the ever increasing use of smartphones in relation to the learning performance of students? These and further questions are to be investigated in this thesis.

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2 Potential of mobile devices in the learning process

Without a doubt, smartphones, tablets and the like offer countless possibilities for use in learning, school and teaching due to the technical advancement. In the area of ​​organization alone, teachers and parents can receive digital support. In the family area, for example, Tanja and Johnny Haeusler report on a “school bag packing aid” via smartphone, school assignments anchored in the virtual calendar and the resulting relief in everyday family life.[12] Students and teachers can synchronize their calendars, coordinate appointments and save plans, grades and materials.[13] Apart from that, the mobile, internet-enabled devices offer opportunities for the learning process that go far beyond the organizational.

2.1 New learning opportunities outside of school

The central characteristic of smartphone technology is the ability to install internet-based applications - apps for short. In addition to games and other entertainment programs, there are news, communication and even direct learning apps. The fact that these applications can be started anywhere and anytime without much effort by simply swiping a few times holds enormous potential.

2.1.1 Advantages over traditional learning methods Learning adapted to the living environment and requirements of the 21st century

Especially in the age of digitization and global networking, technical understanding and the ability to operate the corresponding devices are essential. As a result of the change to the information society, the need for manual skills continues to decrease, while a competent handling of information and technology will be the most important prerequisite for successfully coping with the professional and private everyday life of today's children and young people. Learning this can be seen as one of the main tasks of youth development in the 21st century.[14] Ng describes the ability to use digital technology to solve problems, to work innovatively and creatively, to work together and to communicate responsibly as the central competence of today's working world.[15]

This is not least due to the fact that communication and networking are becoming increasingly important all over the world.[16] Despite the apparent contraintuition - after all, smartphones and the like are mainly used alone - there is the possibility of working together independently of personal meetings. These skills can and should no longer be dispensed with in today's world:

In the 21st century, traditional literacies such as reading, writing, and arithmetic continue to be crucial skills, but they are not sufficient to achieve success in today's globally competitive world. "[17]

Competent operation of the devices, use of the functions and target-oriented expressiveness are not given from birth, but must first be learned. What better way to ensure this than a practical use of the technology at home and in the classroom? Unlimited information regardless of time and space

Not only does interpersonal communication take place independently of location thanks to mobile devices, use by individual individuals is also possible anytime and anywhere. This results in enormous flexibility also in the context of the learning process.[18]

The constant availability of the smartphone makes it possible, for example, to deal with the topics covered beyond school lessons. As a source of an unimaginable amount of information and data, the Internet is always available thanks to mobile Internet access. In the past, extensive research had to be carried out in libraries and archives, but today all you need to do is reach for your smartphone. Aufenanger reports that schoolchildren are already Googling at home after class for content that they did not understand at school or watching learning videos on YouTube.[19]Ask the community / Google[20] is the popular concept that promises quick information without great effort. Anyone can take part, students answer questions from others in Internet forums or use WhatsApp and Co. to exchange information about housework and other tasks to be done. A former information monopoly of a few individual experts no longer exists.[21] In return, the publication, which is immediately accessible to everyone in the world, has enormous potential for power.[22] Aufenanger's provocative question as to whether classical lessons in school are still appropriate against this background,[23] Nevertheless, the answer is clearly in the affirmative: a lot of information does not mean a lot of correct information.[24] The above-mentioned competence for the selection of suitable content is of central importance. The "individual achievement [consists] in developing suitable forms of use individually".[25] In addition, information alone is usually not sufficient. Knowledge only arises through independent processing of given information. In the majority of cases, it can be assumed that students cannot cope with this process on their own.

The new flexibility in terms of learning time is also an aspect that places certain demands on the user. Offers the opportunity to quickly pull out the smartphone on the way to school or in the subway to practice vocabulary, on the one hand the opportunity to use idle times[26] and to organize your own time more efficiently, on the other hand there is a risk that learning will only be shifted to these short periods of time. Concentrated, prolonged work in one go and experience of flow would then no longer exist.[27]

However, if students can be encouraged to extend this type of independent learning to longer phases, then there is enormous potential in location-independent learning. Geographically disadvantaged children around the world benefit from the online functions of their smartphones in many ways: For children and young people in developing countries, the smaller, more manageable devices provide a cheaper connection to educational content than larger laptops,[28] Schoolchildren from more remote areas, be it in the USA or in the Bavarian Forest, can relieve the burden of an all too long way to school. For example, some of the learning content to be mastered could be outsourced to independent learning at home and the number of days on which afternoon classes take place instead.[29] The portable devices can be used to establish contact with classmates, teachers and content even without personal presence. Partner presentations and group work are no longer necessarily connected with the necessary transport services by the parents or the involuntary exclusion of individual students, but can be carried out through the exchange via various messenger services even without the presence of all participants. Community without reference to a specific place becomes possible and thus the separation from immediate family, urban or village contexts is allowed. In this way, smartphones can also contribute to an integration into new, self-chosen social forms.[30]

This is particularly important for sick or disabled children. Thanks to modern, portable technology, even if you are absent for a long time, you will not lose contact with classmates and learning content, but can be integrated a little more into the class community. There are also new opportunities for inclusion during class.[31]

In summary, nothing speaks against the additional use of smartphones for learning purposes in leisure time. Communication among classmates is made easier - using messenger programs, it only takes a few seconds to send sick classmates a photo of the current entry in the notebook or to transfer a geometric figure instead of explaining the construction of it in a complicated manner on the phone. The bridging of waiting times with learning apps can also be seen more as an advantage than a disadvantage: Just listening to podcasts, for example during a long train or car journey, can have a significantly positive effect on learning success.[32] Repeating vocabulary at the supermarket checkout certainly has no negative effects - as long as the vocabulary is learned at home in a concentrated manner. Apps - mostly cheap and easy to purchase - make it a "collection of resources and tools that is always on hand"[33] easy to learn anytime, anywhere. Personalized learning experiences

However, one of the most important positive aspects of smartphone technology in relation to learning is the possibility of letting the students become active themselves, as well as the option of tailoring them to the individual needs of each learner.

On distribution channels such as YouTube, it is easy to post videos you have shot yourself online.[34] In the meantime, there are also many learning channels and online tutorials on these platforms, in which schoolchildren or students convey technical content to their classmates and fellow students in short video clips. For example, if a student does not understand the procedure for determining a parabolic equation in class and is therefore stuck with homework, a few swipes on the smartphone, which is almost always nearby, are enough and a new explanation can be played. For many, this is not only more convenient than working your way through the texts in the textbook, but perhaps also purposeful because the respective YouTuber explains it in other words than the teacher and in many cases less distance in terms of age to the student. For the students who produce such videos themselves and post them online, there is also an advantage due to the renewed, intensive study of the content. Learning through teaching is no longer limited to traditional presentations. If students have the opportunity to create learning environments themselves, they become more engaged and more curious.[35]

Due to the almost infinite number of available applications in the field of learning, every student can choose applications according to his interests and preferences.[36] This encourages students to acquire knowledge that goes beyond what is prescribed in the curriculum and is thus determined by others. If the learning content is determined by the young people themselves, there is a higher level of motivation and a "strong sense of ownership"[37] hand in hand with regard to the newly acquired knowledge.

In addition, mobile media offer access that suits the skills and possibilities of young people:[38] Many applications adapt the material presented in the app to the current level of knowledge of the user. An example of this is the “iRead” app presented in the Sesame Workshop. Used to promote reading, it generates a “playlist” for the students with texts that correspond to their individual learning goals and the corresponding challenges.[39]

Similar functionality can be found in language applications. There are now numerous providers of vocabulary apps - some based on prefabricated virtual index cards, and some based on their own cards designed by the user. The learner is always presented with precisely those cards that are in turn at the appropriate time; the organization of learning - when is which card repeated, when is it considered learned, which vocabulary should be repeated more often due to particular difficulties and the like - is almost completely taken over by the app. This makes work enormously easier, after all, not only is there no sorting and tidying up of the cards: Often there are additional functions that would not be possible with classic index card learning. Whereas it used to be the responsibility of the students or the parents to remind them to repeat vocabulary at a given time, learning apps now have so-called "reminders" that ask the learner to repeat it. With ready-made virtual index cards you will find example sentences and audio functions for correct pronunciation. If it is possible to determine the content of the virtual cards yourself, learning in these apps is by no means limited to vocabulary, but offers opportunities for user-defined learning in every subject.

One program that has set itself the goal of tailoring learners with a very individual learning strategy is, for example, the “Realizeit” program. Designed to present a wide variety of content regardless of the subject, over one hundred and fifty completed courses in over fifty subjects can currently be linked to the program.[40] The company itself names mathematics, mechanical engineering or psychology as examples of the application of the program in almost every area and every form.[41] Thanks to an author function, the supervising teacher can also generate new content himself, choose the type of didactics and thus design learning paths and the type of presentation even more individually and work collaboratively with colleagues from all over the world.[42] The company sees great potential here on the teaching side: " We enable every teacher to adapt his or her teaching to become the best teacher for every learner. "[43] Goal is it "To provide a differentiated teaching experience tailored to the learning needs of each individual student and for the class as a whole".[44] If a teacher is normally responsible for twenty or more students, individually tailored support is hardly possible. However, modern programs now enable supervision that would otherwise not be achievable even in a one-to-one teacher-student situation. The "Realizeit" program generates so-called learning maps,[45] So a kind of map for students to find their way around in the new material. In doing so, the necessary prior knowledge to understand later content is taken into account and a network with related areas is clearly visualized through cross-references. Since no two learners are alike, the learning paths of each individual also differ. That is why the content is not generated in full at the beginning, but is adapted by the program to the actions and actions of the learners during the learning process. The aim is to ensure that each student has individually tailored content in various formats - from text to audio and video to interactive animations - tailored to their own progress[46] - gets presented.[47] The program can use algorithms to predict the learning success and the time required for it[48] and thereby also allows the teacher to ensure that every learner has enough time. Weaknesses and strengths become visible so that the teaching can be adapted accordingly.[49]

So the main advantage in the area of ​​personalized learning is to use machine intelligence to interpret user data with the aim of finding out how a particular student is learning. Depending on this, its (virtual) learning environment can then be designed according to its individual needs.[50] Such a learning plan tailored to individual people would not be conceivable in the non-virtual area, or only with a great deal of effort. Before personalized learning experiences can be designed and implemented in digital applications, preferences and needs must already be known. At this point, however, the difficulty is to find out the current level of knowledge of a student. Researchers set themselves the goal of further improving human-machine interaction in order to make intelligent learning systems even more intelligent.[51] The importance of an adaptable and flexible structure of learning environments in general and in particular in the digital world is emphasized by educational researchers.[52] Motivation and performance enhancement through gamification

a) Definition of terms

In the field of mobile, technologized and user-specific learning, there is a relatively new additional term for the presentation of learning content close to the pupil: the principle of gamification, which Kapp defines as follows:

"Gamification is the use of elements traditionally thought of as for a game or" fun "to promote learning, engagement, and problem solving skill."[53]

Gamification is understood to mean the adoption of playful elements in areas that are actually unrelated to the game.[54] According to Brophy, the main goal is to motivate both teachers and students and encourage them to engage more fully with the content.[55] Activities should be made playfully more attractive through gamification.[56] If you look at the current developments, this idea seems very promising: The time spent playing games is increasing all over the world thanks to mobile internet-enabled devices. In games, people seek and find employment, motivation, fulfillment and social inclusion.[57] Brophy therefore demands "Power and potential of gamification"[58] to be examined in order to successfully transfer this to other areas - in our case school learning. The combination of mobile devices and playful learning activities opens up new opportunities for him to expand student engagement and learning experiences.[59] The idea of ​​integrating playful elements into the learning process is by no means new: Especially in the lower grades, minor recognitions such as asterisks, stamps or stickers are not uncommon; Bonuses such as homework vouchers appear in the classrooms as well as knowledge competitions between the students such as the king of vocabulary or arithmetic. This concept can be expanded much further by transferring it to the virtual world.

b) motivation

Gamification is particularly aimed at an extrinsic motivational effect. Based on the Schiefele classification[60] Particularly the performance-related, the competence-related, the competition-related and the social extrinsic motivation to learn are addressed here. The former consists in the desire to receive positive performance feedback - in this case through the learning application. One speaks of competence-related motivation when the learner uses the program to develop his or her own skills; In the case of competition-related motivation, this goal of expanding one's own skills is primarily used to outperform others. Since points, lists of the best or high scores often occur in learning environments characterized by gamification, mobile learning applications playfully make use of competitive learning incentives in favor of a higher level of commitment in connection with an ideally resulting increase in learning output. Social extrinsic motivation to learn often goes hand in hand with competition-related motivation, the existence of which in learning programs on smartphones is usually justified by gamification elements. The aim of the student is then to gain social recognition from others through their own efforts. Since programs with playful components usually make the personal performance of the users transparent for everyone else, they promote social extrinsic motivation to learn.

c) Typical elements

In the following, classic components as well as concrete examples of gamification-based learning applications are presented for illustration.

Typical elements of gamification are, for example, as "Badges" marked badges. When successfully completing tasks, the user of the app collects points,[61] which enable a comparison with other players. In addition, there will be competition[62] for example nourished by leaderboards; some programs encourage playgroup collaboration through team leaderboards. Such system functions reward good behavior and make it visible to others. Peer pressure almost arises by itself.[63] But not only the confrontation with the results of others is beneficial to the game; through performance graphs, which graphically represent the development of a player's own performance, the player is encouraged to continuously improve it. Users can measure themselves against both the global community - in our case this can be limited to their own class or grade - as well as against their personal best.[64] The purpose of learning can be concealed by narrative embedding of the tasks as well as personalized player characters, so-called avatars, in order to keep the joy of the game in the foreground for the learners.[65]

d) Concrete examples

An example of this is the app Epic Win:[66] Universally applicable, it enables the creation of to-do lists. The user slips into the role of a knight who takes care of individual tasks - the responsible companies Rexbox and Super Mono cite washing up or a visit to the gym as examples in their pre-release trailer for the app[67] - Collects experience points, discovers loot and enables your character to rise to higher levels. Transferred to the school context, pupils could, for example, record the homework that is due for the day as tasks to be completed. Perhaps the virtual reward for your own character is an incentive to do your homework quickly and in one go.[68]

The program has a similar idea Word Joust underlying. In this game, which is specially tailored to younger students, learning vocabulary is also linked to a medieval world of experience. Variety is offered by various sub-games in which the learners, as squires, assign words to their definitions, find the correct order of the letters and the like.[69]

A user of the app has to make a concrete investment in the form of real money StickK bring.[70] If he does not manage to complete the self-imposed tasks, a predetermined amount will be debited from his credit card and donated to a non-profit organization.[71] If necessary, this would be an opportunity (more in the upper grades) for students to force themselves to dutifully and timely preparation for a school assignment or to conscientiously and promptly complete a presentation.

Millions of people around the world now use the app Codecademy. Its aim is to teach users the basics of programming in just one hour. Founder Zach Sims is particularly interested in the target group of schoolchildren, as he is convinced code be the language of the future.[72]Mozilla Open Badges is an application in which virtual stickers and badge systems can be generated.[73] The app too Classcraft focuses on use directly in the classroom. This will be discussed in more detail in point

e) Central aspects

With point systems and performance graphs, users experience competence; their own avatar as a “representative” in the game promotes the sense of autonomy and the embedding in a story[74] as well as team leaderboards create a feeling of social integration[75] - For Sailer's basic psychological needs, the satisfaction of which is essential for the targeted use of gamification.[76] A central goal here is to increase the motivation to learn. This primarily involves regular and positive feedback[77] a major role. In addition, the player should have a constant sense of achievement. This also includes the opportunity to put your own skills to the test.[78] The three most important principles for increasing motivation in virtual play are immediacy, consistency and density: The activity must be simple and directly accessible. Consistency here means clear rules that are always followed. For the player, the direct connection between effort and result, which is almost never found in reality, provides an incentive to keep playing. The principle of density[79] goes hand in hand with the already mentioned experience of success. To promote motivation, a high frequency in which the needs are satisfied is necessary.[80] According to Sailer, a progression in the area of ​​motivation is almost indispensable for an increase in performance. For the user of the program, this becomes recognizable through feedback and competition.[81]

Not to be neglected is the fact that feedback in combination with clear rules, interactivity and a certain degree of challenge generally generates an emotional reaction.[82] At the psychological level, the principle of operant conditioning can be applied through gamification:[83] If a player wins badges, points or the like by completing tasks and feels joy or pride in the process, the willingness to work on such tasks increases with each successful exercise. This system can therefore be used especially for repetition and deepening of school material.[84]

f) Factors to be considered

However, there is also a risk of undermining the students' intrinsic motivation. If they are constantly rewarded for the smallest tasks in the educational game, encouraging words may no longer be enough in normal lessons to encourage them to work.[85] In addition, it must be taken into account that not every student is up to the social comparison of the playful rankings and may lose interest if their own performance is poor. In addition, care should be taken that the program used for learning is not too playful[86] is designed, otherwise it will be distracted too much from the actual learning objectives. This could trivialize and devalue the learning process. It must also be taken into account that despite the seemingly widespread enthusiasm for technology of the young generation, not all students are the type for playful learning via app and some prefer “classic” learning materials.[87] The aim remains to arouse commitment and enthusiasm. However, a mere combination of playful aspects is not enough.[88]

g) Current state of research

The exact design of LernApps must therefore be examined in more detail. There is a particular need for research into which kind of gratuities are most efficient - a pure badge system or rather only best lists? Almost every element of gamification has both positive and negative aspects (see above). Regarding the principle of conditioning, for example, it needs to be clarified whether it should be clear to the player how one earns badges or points, or whether a more irregular reward would not be more effective.[89] Numerous studies show that gamification basically works. All of the studies on gamification in the university context cited by Sailer show a positive effect on learning success.[90] In a total of 17 treatises on the application of gamification in the education sector, however, he names only one that deals with the possibilities in the school context.[91] So there is still a great need for research in the secondary level.[92] The potential to promote motivation and consequently performance by adopting individual aspects of games in the work or learning process as well as to increase student activity, to train thinking in systems and also to strengthen cooperation with others virtually,[93] should be made usable especially here.

2.1.2 Criteria for the selection of suitable applications

In order for these resources to be used successfully, however, a number of criteria must be met. Not every app is a good app and precisely due to the fact that the existing range of applications of all kinds is increasing every day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter out programs of superior quality and suitable for personal needs from the multitude of available applications. The following properties and options should be considered: Technical stability and compatibility as well as flexibility

In order to ensure that the learning activity runs smoothly, it is important that the selected application is stable in its use. An application that keeps crashing doesn't add much to the enjoyment of the learning process. Usability even without an internet connection is also an advantage, as this gives independence from available W-LAN or mobile internet contracts and, in the offline mode of the smartphone, the danger of being distracted by push notifications is not as great as with ongoing networking . Regular updates may be a prerequisite for long-term problem-free use on every operating system.[94] Another plus point is when the application can be used not only on the smartphone but also on the PC, with the user's personal achievements and progress in the learning process being continuously synchronized. A certain degree of flexibility is also desirable[95] in the area of ​​use. An application that is solely concerned with solving fraction equations doesn't have to be bad per se; however, their benefits are often short-lived. Very limited in terms of subject matter, this app does not help with the curriculum content of the next week or difficulties in other subjects. Therefore, an open application that can be filled with content in a variety of ways, perhaps even by the user himself, is to be preferred. A virtual index card system, for example, can be used across disciplines for almost all areas. Coordination of content with curriculum content

If an application is not universally usable, but limited to a certain subject area, it is important that the content covered corresponds to the curriculum. There is nothing wrong with further additional information, but the thematic core should be taken and central points should not be missing. Particular attention must be paid to peculiarities in notation and expression. If, for example, British English is required in school, an American vocabulary app may involve the risk of learning a different spelling than the one you want. In the subject of mathematics, an app should be free of linguistic nuances - as long as it is not about factual or text problems; however, there is a risk here of being presented with incorrect units (e.g. ft and lbs instead of m and kg) that the students cannot use or become confused with. In addition, attention should be paid to the disparity in the use of periods and commas in the number notation. Simple, user-friendly operation

The use of the chosen application is ideally self-explanatory and intuitive. For 7 out of 24 students in the survey that was carried out, user-friendliness was the first criterion for the selection of LernApps. If a student needs a lot of time to get to grips with the functionality and the special features of the program in such a way that he or she can use them optimally, there is a risk of loss of motivation. In the worst case, the student decides not to use the learning app at all, because it won't work anyway. If simple, user-friendly use is guaranteed, the learning time can be used optimally, since less time is lost for organizational tasks and finding your way around the application. Implementation of diverse media

Addressing different senses as a way of guaranteeing long-term learning is well known. If an app offers the implementation of images in addition to purely textual content,[96] Videos or pieces of music, it doesn't just serve different types of learners[97] to promote optimally: The individual pupil also benefits from a variety of media presentation methods. Returning to the example of an index card application, for example, it would be beneficial if the application were able to read difficult-to-pronounce vocabulary aloud to demonstrate pronunciation to the student. If complicated passages in the spelling of the words are marked in color and / or bold, they are more likely to catch the eye and remain in the memory. Animated videos can present facts in science subjects more vividly than purely static sketches which - exaggerated - were inaccurately taken from the blackboard shortly before the end of the lesson. Active role of the student

Since the greatest opportunity for digital learning programs is a move away from teacher-centered frontal teaching, it is of great importance that the student take an active role[98] plays. If the application only presents informational texts, it does not represent any gain in comparison to the classic textbook. It is known from learning psychology that knowledge ultimately cannot be conveyed, but must first be constructed by the student himself from the information given and must be networked with areas that are already known . A well-designed application therefore leaves a lot of space for active practice, encourages independent thinking, allows new content to be created and offers a wide range of tasks that the student has to work through independently. Feedback

Almost the most important quality that characterizes a good learning app is its ability to provide the student with feedback about their learning process, their progress and their mistakes. Immediate feedback[99] is indispensable for one's own learning growth: If a student does not know after working on a task whether it was right, wrong or insufficient, he does not gain any added value. It is therefore not surprising that, for 7 out of 24 students, immediate feedback, a record of personal learning progress and a clear presentation of correct solutions were of the greatest relevance when choosing an appropriate application.

Providing student-specific feedback, however, is one of the greatest challenges in digital education: smartphone apps cannot yet replace a teacher, because a signal tone followed by a "try again" message is not sufficient - students often need a new explanation of the exact details outlined facts. The apps still lack this sense of the cause of an understanding problem and it remains to be seen whether artificial intelligence will ever be able to do this. According to today's level of development, only a human teacher can create different approaches to a topic and thus remove learning difficulties in different ways.

2.2 Direct involvement in the classroom - BYOD

2.2.1 Requirements

Before smartphones can be used profitably in the classroom, for example as part of BYOD - bring your own device, i.e. the students use their own mobile devices - certain framework conditions must first be met. In addition to technical elements, this also includes media-specific competencies for everyone involved in the classroom. Technical features

Purely technical requirements form the basis here. Even if almost all pupils today have a smartphone contract that allows limited or unlimited mobile data access, the use of an in-school WLAN[100] preferable for cost and security reasons. It must be ensured that all devices have unimpeded access to the Internet and the school's server. In addition, access to illegal, youth-endangering or other, pedagogically undesirable content should be prevented in the manner that[101] that the learners cannot use simple procedures to bypass the relevant filters.


[1] See JIM study 2016. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. P. 9. With a prevalence of 99%, there is a smartphone in virtually every household today. Ibid. P. 8.

[2] Cf. Glitz 2015. According to the young people's own estimate in the JIM study, it is an average of 208 minutes. See JIM study 2015. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. P.56.

[3] See International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television 2016. p. 6.

[4] See JIM study 2015. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. P. 27.

[5] See ibid. P. 12.

[6] See ibid. P. 14. It should be noted that these media are valued by high school students by 2 or 3 percentage points above that of secondary and high school students.

[7] See ibid. P. 14.

[8] Stokes 2011. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[9] Robledo 2012. p. 1.

[10] See Bavarian State Chancellery. 08/01/2016.

[11] See JIM study 2015. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. P. 53.

[12] See Haeusler and Haeusler 2012. p. 255.

[13] See Robledo 2012. p. 4.

[14] See also Tully 2008, p. 167.

[15] Cf. Ng 2015. S. 6. However, Ng also admits that despite a generally prevailing conviction that these skills could, through the support of digital technology, encourage teachers and students to develop these “twenty-first century skills” clear evidence for these theses has not yet been provided.

[16] See Stokes 2011. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[17] Shuler 2009. p. 21.

[18] Cf. Zhang 2015. p. 247. Bachmair speaks of “ubiquitous” learning, which supports problem-oriented and cooperative learning methods. See Bachmair 2013. p. 59.

[19] See Aufenanger 2015. p. 207. Similar to Haeusler and Haeusler 2012. p. 72.

[20] See Haeusler and Haeusler 2012. pp. 28f.

[21] See ibid. P. 39.

[22] See Davidson in Robledo 2012. p. 4.

[23] See Aufenanger 2015. p. 207. Similar to Tully 2008. p. 169. See also point 2.3.

[24] For more information see point 4.2.1.

[25] Tully 2008. p. 170.

[26] In principle, it is only to be seen as desirable if students start to see learning programs on the smartphone as a means against boredom.

[27] Bachmair, in particular, is critical of this and describes this development as “not very pleasant”, since everything is learned “just in time and to go”, but not particularly deeply and thus only the processing of “miniaturized homework” would be possible. Bachmair 2013. p. 60. See also point 4.

[28] Shuler 2009. p. 18.

[29] According to Zhang, learning is no longer tied to the classroom with the new technologies. Cf. Zhang 2015. p. 248. While the bus connections are still quite good at lunchtime around 1 p.m., afternoon lessons pose an enormous problem in terms of mobility, especially for learner drivers. Often there are no longer buses or the students have to wait several additional hours - Time that could certainly be better used.

[30] See Tully 2008, p. 173.

[31] See point

[32] See Cathy N. Davidson's study, published in “Now you can see it”. Found on Robledo 2012. p. 3. In the 2003 study, students were given free iPods to listen to the podcasts. This function can now be used by every common smartphone model.

[33] Johnson et al. 2014. p. 46.

[34] See Johnson et al. 2014. p. 46.

[35] See Johnson et al. 2014. p. 34.

[36] See Cristol et al. 2015. p. 675.

[37] Zhang 2015. p. 249.

[38] See Demmler and Struckmayer 2015. p. 225.

[39] See Stokes 2011. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[40] See Kulkarni et al. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[41] See Howlin. P. 3. In his paper, which he wrote together with Mitchell, Howlin also names social sciences, areas of history or business administration and other areas of applied sciences. See Mitchell and Howlin 2009, p. 2.

[42] See Howlin. P. 5.

[43] Kulkarni et al. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[44] Kulkarni et al. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[45] See Kulkarni et al. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[46] See Howlin. P. 5. Here, foreign learning material can also be integrated in a user-specific manner. See p. 13.

[47] See Kulkarni et al. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[48] See Howlin. P. 10.

[49] See Howlin. P. 13.

[50] See Johnson et al. 2014. p. 46.

[51] See Mitchell and Howlin 2009. pp. 2f.

[52] See Johnson et al. 2014. p. 46. For the necessary requirements for learning applications and central characteristics, see point 2.1.2.

[53] Kapp 2012, quoted from de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 709.

[54] See also Sailer 2016. S. VII.

[55] See Brophy 2015. p. 97.

[56] See Köhler 2012. p. 142.

[57] See Brophy 2015. p. 92.

[58] Brophy 2015. p. 92.

[59] See Brophy 2015. p. 94.

[60] See Schiefele 2009. p. 156.

[61] Even if these rewards are only virtual, the opportunity to win motivates the player to continue using them and continue looking for new badges and bonuses. See de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 712.

[62] According to Schiefele, competitive situations activate motives which, depending on certain cognitions, cause motivation. See Schiefele 2009. p. 153. Since motivation almost always has positive effects on learning success, there is a potential here that seems to be advisable to exploit.

[63] See Köhler 2012. p. 142. Similarly, de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 712.

[64] See Brophy 2015. p. 96.

[65] For a list of typical elements of gamification see Sailer 2016. P. VIII.

[66] This is also mentioned by Köhler as an example. See Köhler 2012. pp. 144f.

[67] See Rexbox and Super Mono. Available online at Last accessed on October 14, 2016.

[68] See de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 712 or comment 61.

[69] See Robledo 2012. p. 7.

[70] Also found in Köhler 2012. p. 145.

[71] See Fener et al. Available online at Last accessed on October 14, 2016.

[72] See Hertreiter 2014. Available online at Last accessed on October 14, 2016. Brophy also names Code Academy as a successful example of gamification. Successful learning and achievements can be shared via social networks (cf. Brophy 2015, p. 98), thereby securing social pressure and encouraging successful use for the purpose of successful self-presentation on the Internet.

[73] See Brophy 2015. p. 99.

[74] A strong framework can also help ensure that users do not notice that they are in a (learning) game. See Köhler 2012. p. 143.

[75] See Sailer 2016. p. 126.

[76] See Sailer 2016. p. 113ff.

[77] It can thereby be achieved that, for example, errors are not seen as a final failure, but rather as an opportunity for improvement. See Brophy 2015. p. 103.

[78] See Rigby and Ryan 2007. p. 9.

[79] Similar to Köhler 2012. p. 143. Goals or intermediate goals should be achievable in the short term.

[80] See Rigby and Ryan 2011. Quoted from Sailer 2016. p. 112.

[81] See Sailer 2016. P. 133ff.

[82] See de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 710.

[83] See Reiners and Wood 2015. pp. 168f. See also point 3.3.4.

[84] Mobile learning apps are also specialized in building on previous learning experiences, for example when a level has to be completed before you can work on another topic. See Brophy 2015. p. 103.

[85] See Reiners and Wood 2015. pp. 168f.

[86] Also de Moraes Sarmento Rego: " When it comes to learning experiences, the definition of the learning objectives is the starting point. Without them, there is a risk of losing track along the route, resulting in a playful and motivating experience without concrete student learning results. " de Moraes Sarmento Rego, Izabel 2015. p. 710.

[87] See Brophy 2015. p. 103.

[88] See Köhler 2012. p. 142.

[89] See Reiners and Wood 2015. p. 174.

[90] See Sailer 2016. p. 61. Further information on performance promotion on p. 131.

[91] Cf. Sailer 2016. p. 57. In this study, Goehle examines the willingness of students to work on online math homework. See Goehle 2013, quoted from Sailer 2016, p. 62.

[92] Brophy prophesies that gamification will soon become the standard element of learning, and that "Gamification will extend beyond the learning activities in individual classes and integrate at a wider level - potentially at the departmental or institutional level." Brophy 2015. p. 104.

[93] See Sailer 2016. p. 2 and Brophy 2015. p. 103f.

[94] See Norris in an interview with Roscorla 2012. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[95] See Norris in an interview with Roscorla 2012. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[96] See Norris in an interview with Roscorla 2012. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[97] In the survey carried out as part of this work, however, only one participant attached particular importance to addressing different types of learners.

[98] See Robledo 2012. p. 3.

[99] See Robledo 2012. p. 3. and Norris in an interview with Roscorla 2012. Available online at Last accessed on 01/01/2017.

[100] For Robledo, reliable, functioning access is essential. See Robledo 2012. p. 2.

[101] See Heinen et al. 2013. p. 133.

End of the reading sample from 85 pages