Examining the influence of educational mobile application software on students’ technology literacy



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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to employ the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students as taxonomy to classify educational mobile application (app) software into seven categories and empirically examine the influence on students’ technology literacy. A purposeful sample of fifth grade core subject teachers at 19 Title I elementary schools in a large suburban school district in southeast Texas were solicited to provide responses to the online Educational Apps Categories and Usage Survey and to participate in follow-up semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The TechLiteracy Assessment (TLA) was administered to all fifth grade students to assess students’ technology literacy in seven strands. A total of sixty-three fifth grade teachers responded to the online survey and sixteen participated in the follow-up semi-structured interviews and focus groups. This study incorporated both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data were collected from the online survey to determine whether a relationship existed between students’ technology literacy in seven strands and categorical choices of educational mobile app software in seven categories. Quantitative data were analyzed using means and Pearson’s Product Moment Correlations (r) in IBM SPSS. Qualitative data were collected from follow-up interviews and focus groups. Both were digitally recorded all responses and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative data were analyzed using an inductive coding process in QSR NVivo. Findings indicated higher technology literacy scores in specific technology literacy and were reflective of integrating educational apps in certain categories. There was not a statistically significant relationship between frequency of use of educational mobile app software and school average of TLA scores. Teachers predominately integrated educational mobile app software in the knowledge constructor and the computational thinker categories of the ISTE categories. Findings suggested teachers’ perceived a positive influence of integrating educational apps on students’ technology literacy. Lack of time, resources, training, and support were among the perceived barriers that impeded the effectiveness of educational apps integration. Limitations, implications, and recommendations for future study research were also discussed in this study.