All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2009: Valuing Complexity

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An evaluation of the use of SMS messaging to enhance communication and participation within an undergraduate nursing programme
Sheila Counihan, Siobhan Smyth

Last modified: 2009-09-28


The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of an evaluation of the use of Short Message Service (SMS) or ‘Text Messaging’ to enhance communication and participation with learners on an undergraduate programme of their 3rd year of study. Text messaging was used to develop and maintain strong links between the programme director and the students throughout the duration of the programme. Short Message Service (SMS) is a communications protocol allowing the interchange of short text messages between mobile phones. It is the most widely used data application on the planet with over 2.4 billion users, 74% of who use text messaging (Wikipedia 2008). The advantages in using SMS messaging include ‘always-on’ communication, connectivity to real world learning contexts, ‘top of mind’ direct access and ‘just for me’ personal communication (Jones & Bunting 2008). The widespread availability of mobile phones provides an opportunity to establish and maintain a sense of connectedness to help learners to engage with their programme of study as almost everyone can participate in synchronous and asynchronous communication. Laurillard (2008) suggests that we should ‘harness technology to meet the needs of education rather than simply search for problems to which technology is the solution’. This concept has particular relevance for these learners who are clinically and geographically dispersed.

Focus group interviews, a well established qualitative method was used to collect the data. The findings highlights the benefits and challenges of SMS messaging and provided direction for future research into the pedagogical underpinnings relating to the implementation of this and other emerging technologies within teaching and learning practices in nursing education.  References


Jones, G., M., & Bunting, T., (2008) Using SMS to support teaching and learning. E-learning summer seminar series. University of Bath, UK.  Accessed on line 18th June


Laurillard, D., (2008) The teacher as action researcher: using technology to capture pedagogic form. Studies in Higher Education 33. (2).


Wikipedia (2008) Accessed June 20th

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