IntroductionWith the evolution and adaptability of next generation network environments on mobile devices, teaching and learning could be ubiquitous, location independent and personalized for mobile users. The rapid growth of mobile device users will push educational institutions to rely on mobile technology in every educational aspect including research, teaching and learning activities (Rossing etal., 2012).
Mobile aided learning environments proposes contemporary ways to support learning process over emerging mobile technology, such as mobile tablets, smart phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and much more. Thus, mobile supported learning allows students and teachers to access information and resources and other learning materials from anywhere and at anytime. Consequently, users have chance to control the time they want to learn and from which location they want to learn (Mehdipour and Zerehkafi, 2013).In addition, mobile technologies including tablets have introduced a new generation of educational tools that afford creative use and instant access to online resources in the learning environment. These issues will push educational institutions like universities to rely on mobile technology in learning and teaching activities. Mobile tablets are quickly becoming a popular and powerful educational tool for classrooms.
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One of the main benefits of mobile tablets is that they enable learning ubiquitous and location independent with a possible improvement in education efficiency and standards. The researches of numerous experiments with mobile tablets in learning environments have provided valuable data on the benefits of implementing such technology (Nagel, 2013), (Mehdipour and Zerehkafi, 2013). Over the past few years, there has been a large investment in information and communication technology in the education sector for better teaching/learning process (Nasser, 2014). In this context, mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets emerge as an innovative tool associated with different methods and strategies for effective teaching and learning process (Wu and Zhang, 2010).With the numerous technologies available, teachers and students can access a multitude of digital information resources, make use of it and exploring their potential.
The use of these technologies in the Higher education institutions provides a closer and easy way to accesses digital materials available in and out of the institutions (Passey and Zozimo, 2014). In addition, the usage of tablet devices in the learning environment can yield many benefits for students in terms of improving their motivation, collaboration, creativity and developing IT skills (Rossing etal., 2012).An individual’s access to and use of relevant information, especially in education, is considered to be one of the ways of minimizing the digital literacy gap among stakeholders by promoting easy access to educational digital resources. As a result this will contribute for a better academic achievement of the students in their higher education stay periods (Traxler, 2010).
Since tablet devices have an ability to access the resources in a very easy way at any time and place, students would have to use the full potential of such devices for assessing available digital contents available specially in higher education where the use of digital resources are mostly available with free of cost and in a better volume (Rajender, 2016). In addition to this, Students would be able to employ mobile devices to inquire about, search for, and evaluate obtained academic information, and share information with both colleagues and team mates. This makes the device a viable tool for academic resources delivery service and information seeking and accessing for academic related resources (Wu and Zhang, 2010; Aryee and Hansen, 2012).But technology does not ensure by itself success in learning; as a result a proper focus should be given to the role of such technologies in facilitating access to digital resources which will lead to better results in the education sector (Nasser, 2014). This is also true in our country where such technology based education is laying its instances starting from the last few years in health information disseminations and aiding our teaching and learning process with strong budget investment in higher education (Kassa, 2016).As a result proper focus should be given to examine the impact of such mobile Devices in the teaching/learning process, its potential and its role for better student’s academic performance with respect of resources access in Ethiopian higher education institutions.