Smartphones as digital instructional interface devices: the teacher’s perspective
Globally, many nations have put in place policies on technology enhanced teaching and learning in an effort to keep abreast with the rapid advancement in technology. However, the use of technology in education has been slow in many third world countries, inclusive of Zimbabwe. COVID-19 restrictions inadvertently accelerated the adoption of digital instructional interface devices (DIIDs). Smartphones are preferred DIIDs because of their popularity amongst children as well as teachers. However, their successful penetration as DIIDs is largely dependent on teachers’ dispositions as key agents of curriculum implementation. Zimbabwe is known to have a 52% smartphone penetration rate for all citizens. The study was therefore carried out to determine the penetration rate of smartphones in science teachers, and also to probe teachers’ views on learners being allowed unlimited access to smartphones. The study adopted descriptive survey design from a quantitative research approach. Data was collected from 179 science teachers through a self-developed electronic questionnaire that was administered through the Kobo Toolbox online survey application. Results show that the smartphone penetration rate in science teachers is 87%. Multitasking and indecent exposure are the main forms of learner deviance that make teachers more reluctant to accept smartphones as DIIDs. In the presence of school-wide and classroom policies that cater for both merits of smartphone use and ease of policy enforcement, Zimbabwe science teachers are however ready to fully embrace smartphones as useful DIIDs.
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