Which Mobile Apps Do Our Students Use?

Which Mobile Apps Do Our Students Use?

by Okan Bölükbaş

As an English teacher working in a university, I was intrigued by a scene I have been facing in the mornings when I enter the classroom which inspired me to do some research. The picture is something like this: 8 - 10 students out of the total of 14 are sitting with their gaze fixed on their mobile phones and not even talking to each other, waiting for the teacher. Whilst letting students use mobile phones during the lesson can be a topic of debate, I was indeed more interested in knowing what they were really doing with their smart phones. Needless to say, all my students possess smart phones and they are mostly addicted to them. 

Data Collection: I asked just two simple questions to encourage greater number of responses: 1) What make is your smart phone? 2) Name the top 5 apps that you frequently use. You are free to write more than 5.

The data were collected through a questionnaire using SurveyMonkey. The questions are in the students' native language to minimize any misunderstanding. The data were collected from 92 informants who are university students enrolled in a one-year intensive English course at the Foundations Development Year at Sabanci University, Istanbul.

Question 1: The majority of the students have an iPhone, and the next preferred smart phone is Samsung. According to the data, 66 students out of 92 (72%) use an iPhone. Here is the breakdown: iPhone 5 = 54 students / iPhone 4 = 12 students / 19 students (21%) say that they use Samsung. The rest which makes 7% use the following phones: (Sony Experia = 2, Blackberry = 2, General Mobile = 2, HTC One = 1)

Question 2: Analyzing the data for question 2 took quite a long time. I used a software called "Antconc" to sort the names of the apps. I had to do some editing, such as correcting spelling and standardizing the form of words to ease the analysis of the data. The procedure is to edit the raw data which was copied from the surveymonkey website and pasted in a Word document, then to copy the edited data into a simple text file and open the file with Antconc. The word count analysis of the data can be found below. Looking at the apps, the students use on their phones, it can be said that students use their favorite apps to "chat" mostly.

Click here for the raw data: surveymonkeyresults_rawdata

Click here for the edited data: surveymonkeyresults_editeddata

Click here for the complete list: full_list


The results show us that as teachers we need to find ways to implement the top apps in our teaching. As the students keep on using them anyway. Here are some ideas:


•How to use Instagram in the classroom http://www.edudemic.com/instagram-in-the-classroom-infographic/

•Ten ideas for using Instagram in the classroom http://www.educationrethink.com/2012/07/ten-ideas-for-using-instagram-in...

•Teaching with Instagram: 20+ ideas and resources http://www.techlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67&entryid=7446


•Whatsapp as a teaching tool for ESL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q99ZKE2B_5E

•English language learning using Whatsapp application http://akhmadriyantoblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/english-language-learn...

•How to use Whatsapp chat messenger for education and learning purposes http://toscanyacademy.com/blog/thesis-project-topics-and-materials/edute...


•50 plus tips on how to use Twitter in your classroom http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/10/50-plus-tips-on-how-to-use-tw...

•How to use Twitter in the classroom http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Twitter-in-the-Classroom

•100 ways to use Twitter in education, by degree of difficulty http://www.edudemic.com/100-ways-to-use-twitter-in-education-by-degree-o...


•Snapchat. Yes, snapchat! http://www.josepopoff.com/2014/03/snapchat-yes-snapchat.html


•99 ways you should be using Facebook in your classroom http://www.josepopoff.com/2014/03/snapchat-yes-snapchat.html

•5 fun ways to use Facebook in your lesson plans and teaching http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/08/5-fun-ways-to-use-facebook-in-your...

•How to use Facebook in the classroom without compromising your professional relationship with your students http://teacherstraining.com.au/how-to-use-facebook-in-the-classroom-with...

Explanations for some apps

IBB Cep Trafik: This app shows the traffic density on some certain main streets. It's very useful for drivers especially in Istanbul. I use it every day.

MySU & iSabanci: These are the apps developed by Sabanci University IT department. They contain useful info about courses, academic calendar, grades, etc.

Tureng: This is a bilingual dictionary - Turkish to English & English to Turkish.

Akbank Direkt: This is the app for a bank.

Maçkolik: This is an app for those who are interested in football.