The use of mobile devices, in the South African context, has not yet been fully exploited. There is a need, in higher education, for mobility between places of study. This is especially true for students busy with their veterinary studies at a faculty of veterinary science at a South African university. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore how mobile devices and applications could be used to benefit teaching and learning practices in this blended learning environment.
In line with the qualitative nature of the study, a series of case studies were explored and data were collected from student experiences as they worked with mobile devices in their various educational environments. Through analysing responses to questionnaires, feedback in group interviews, and observations, two themes emerged, namely the practice of taking notes with mobile devices, and the use of an application called Vetbox to book, log and assess students’ practical exposure to veterinary cases.
The results were in line with the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) where the usefulness and ease of use when working with mobile devices and applications, not only had an influence on the attitude of the students using the devices to take notes and to work with educational software, but also on their behavioural intent and actual use of these mobile devices and applications.
This study contributes to the existing body of educational technology research in the sense that it shows note-taking as one of the key affordances of mobile devices. In addition, it highlights the functionalities that a mobile device and its associated applications require for effortless note-taking. Also, the study highlighted the importance of the student’s voice in all phases relating to the use of mobile devices and applications in teaching and learning in higher education.
Therefore, if any research about the use of educational technology or development of applications is planned, the importance of user input though all the phases of development or adoption must be considered. It is also recommended that further research be done on the development of note-taking applications that incorporate the suggestions expressed in this thesis.