Mobile learning in forestry education

Authors: S Tereshchenko,  M Zagorskaya,  O Polyanskaya,   Julia Bobritskaya
SaintPetersburg State Forest Technical University,  Saint-Petersburg, Russia


In the article the experience of using mobile learning in forest education is considered. It examines the phenomenon of mobile pedagogy, mobile learning, describes structure of mobile teaching. The application of mobile pedagogy in learning in forest education is described. The attitude to the using of mobile pedagogic in forest high education of teachers and students is shown. Different mobile applications that can be used in the educational process are described.

The experience of implementation of methods of mobile pedagogic in forest higher education in Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical University is shown. The importance of using mobile pedagogic in nowadays education is stressed, because such innovational approaches may allow raising the students’ motivation for learning.
Possibilities for the development of mobile pedagogic in forest high education are shown.

1. Introduction

According to statistics, sales of mobile devices in Russia are growing from year to year [1]. The use of сompact mobile devices such as mobile telephones, tablets, etc. is becoming more convenient and
popular than desktop computers. Modern students cannot imagine their life without a mobile phone,
with which they can work on the Internet, communicate through social networks, listen to music, read
e-books, see films and find necessary information.
Very often teachers criticize contemporary students for using mobile phones in lectures because
they feel it distracts them from the learning process. Modern gadgets are not a punishment for a
teacher, but a way to open the door to a new educational space, a way to effectively organize their
professional activities. Modern mobile applications are able to help teachers create lesson plans, track
attendance, take notes on student behavior, keep in touch with students outside the classroom.
Today’s situation requires teachers to find ways to maximize the potential of mobile devices in
order to optimize the learning process. Teachers often try to prohibit or even punish students for using
mobile phones during lessons. However, progressive university workers believe that the use of mobile
applications can make learning more effective. Virtually all teachers who are active supporters of
mobile learning in Russia agree that a unique feature of mobile learning is its ability not only to
modernize distance and mixed education, but also to optimize traditional education while maintaining
all the basic principles.
Nowadays, the term mobile learning or M-learning has appeared which means learning with the
help of mobile devices-phones, mobile telephones, tablets [2]. The distinguishing aspect is that Mlearning applies for portable small technology tools while e-learning uses all learning and teaching
technologies, including mobile learning ones. M-learning applications generally reach to the learner
via e-learning means [3]. M-learning has moved the education space from the classroom to the mobile
According to UNESCO information, the tools enabling mobile learning and teaching are mobile
phones, tablet computers, electronic readers, portable audio players and portable game consoles as
well as notebooks and laptops [4].
Mobile learning (m-Learning) has a relatively long history. Already with the advent of the first
mobile phones, and this is the beginning of the 90s, foreign teachers started talking about their didactic
capabilities. And since 2002, the first international conferences have been held on the use of wireless
mobile devices in teaching practice. This led to the creation of the m-Learning Consortium in Canada,
bringing people together in learning communities such as, for example, World Academy Online
(Digital and Mobile Learning Community), My Mobile University and others. In Russia, mobile
learning has only started to develop in the last few years; in fact, it is a continuation of the process of
integrating Web 2.0 tools into the educational process. That’s why the theme of implementation of the
methods of mobile pedagogic in educational process in Russia and especially in forest high education
is not nowadays investigated. It is interesting to understand pro and contra in using methods of mobile
pedagogic in forest high education in Russia.

2. Methods and materials

The purpose of our research is to study the system of application of mobile learning in universities, as
well as the status and prospects of mobile learning in forest higher education institutions. In the article
the experiences of using mobile pedagogic in teaching of students in Saint-Petersburg State Forest
Technical University (SPbSFTU) is examined.
At the time of the research, the principle of the set of research methods was used, which means that
for solving the task of the investigation several methods, rather than one, are used. Among the
methods that were used are: questionnaire, test method, conversation, description, method of
summarizing the results obtained, analysis of scientific and methodological literature, Internet search,
as well as a survey aimed at studying the attitude to using of mobile pedagogic in educational process
in forest higher education in Russia from the point of view of teachers and students.
Performance analysis is a method of indirect study of pedagogical phenomena based on the results
of training and education of people. Questionnaire — study of the results of education and training with
the help of questionnaires containing written questions.
The materials that were analyzed in the article were received in the questionnaires that were given
for the students after using the methods of mobile pedagogic. The number of students that gave their
feedback for using Kahoot in the frame of the innovational week in Saint-Petersburg State Forest
Technical University was about 100 persons per year. The questionnaire was given to the students for
three years from 2017 to 2019. Totally about 300 questionnaires were analyzed.
The information the attitude to the using of methods of mobile pedagogic was received from 29
teachers, who are using these methods in the educational process. 20 teachers who do not use methods
of mobile pedagogic were also interviewed. The received results were analyzed and conclusions about
opportunity to use these methods in forestr high education were made. The efficiency of such methods
was also estimated based on the teachers’ and students’ opinion.
The information for the research was also taken from Russian and foreign sources of literature,
from reports about the experiences of using methods of mobile pedagogic in different universities and
in a studying programs for study in forest related companies.
The results of the analysis of student and teacher feedback questionnaires were the basis for
developing proposals on the possibility and effectiveness of introducing mobile pedagogy methods in
forest higher education.

3. Results and Discussion

Mobile learning is a part of e-learning activities. The distinguishing aspect is that m-learning applies
for portable small technology tools while e-learning uses all learning and teaching technologies,
including mobile learning ones. M-learning applications generally reach to the learner via e-learning
means [5]. M-learning has moved the education space from the classroom to the mobile screen.

The main advantages of mobile learning are:
1. Mobile devices can be used anywhere and anytime.
2. Mobile learning is personalized. Each student can choose topics for study that require extra time
and extra help.
3. Mobile learning is open and versatile as it allows students to participate in various learning
activities. The student can choose the format, venue, method and organizer of the course.
4. Mobile learning increases the student’s motivation to learn.
5. Mobile learning saves money and time as students can study at home and even during the
6. Mobile learning improves the digital skills of graduates and their competitiveness in the labor

There are different mobile applications that can be used in the educational process. Among them
are: the Kahoot app, the Google Classroom app, Seesaw, Teach Learn Lead, Zoom.

The Kahoot application helps to prepare lesson materials and use them in a fun way, which is convenient to the  students. The Google Classroom application allows sending out assignments, assessing their progress,
making announcements for the students and involving them in different types of discussions. Seesaw
is a way to create a portfolio of learners and track their learning progress. This application allows
students to store upload and share their work with interested persons such as parents and teachers.
Teachers may use the material downloaded through the application in the meetings with the students.
Teach Learn Lead is designed for teachers who are interested in sharing experiences with colleagues.
It is like a Facebook for a teachers’ community, a platform where you can organize discussions, share
lesson plans, discuss career prospects or just talk about your students. Zoom has undoubtedly become
the important application and communication center with so many people currently working, studying,
or simply hanging out at home. Zoom is a powerful cloud video conferencing platform that allows you
to host meetings or lecturing for the hundreds of participants. Using Zoom, educators can share lesson
plans, give instruction, swap files with students, and communicate directly with the group or
individuals via chat, all within the app. The free version of the app supports unlimited 1-to-1 meetings
and a 40-minute time limit on group meetings.
The use of mobile pedagogy in forest education is currently insufficient. However, there are
positive examples of such activities. At the Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical University, several
areas of mobile pedagogy are implemented in the educational process. The first direction is connected
with the possibility of using mobile devices in the framework of practical classes for students. In this
case students are given the task to find information on the given theme within the limits of group work
for a certain period of time. After search of the information and presentation of results by each group
discussion and formation of the correct answer to questions put on practical lesson is carried out. The
second direction of using mobile pedagogy is testing students in different directions. Testing with the
help of mobile phones allows carrying out the process at any time and in any audience, quickly getting
and processing the results. Students do not need to move to the classroom with a desktop computer to
perform tasks, it is enough to have personal mobile phones and Internet access.
One of the popular ways to test, didactic games and quizzes (quizzes) that is used in the educational
process in forestry education is Kahoot, a free training platform. This application helps to turn a boring
lesson to the game and motivate the students for learning. It helps to transform every classroom into
the game show. Participants gather around an interactive whiteboard, projector or monitor. Students do
not need to download any additional programs and applications to the participants’ mobile phones or
register an account, as Kahoot is accessible through a web browser. Students can participate in the
game anonymously (using the nickname). Students can play on their own, each with their own mobile
phone, or work as a team, which improves communication between students. The test or quiz is
created by an instructor and broadcasted from an Internet connected source. Students answer questions
using mobile phones as well as tablets and laptops), the correct answers are turned into bonus points
and leaders are identified. There are three creation options offered by Kahoot: multiple choice quizzes,
discussion questions or surveys. At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher may use a survey or test to
gather information about students’ level of knowledge and to increase interest in the topic. Real-time
feedback gives teachers in different disciplines the opportunity to adapt their teaching, to understand
the level of knowledge of a group of students, its characteristics. At the end of the lesson the platform
is used to test the learning results. Survey data shows that Kahoot increases the motivation of students
by involving them in the learning process and also improves the quality of learning itself [6].
In the educational activities of the Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical University in the
educational activities of the Saint-Petersburg State Forestry Engineering University the platform is
actively used by teachers at lectures, practical classes, as well as conferences, international meetings,
annual innovation week INNOEVENT FTU. The platform was used for quizzes among students of
various specialties in the classroom for more than 100 people, the time of the quiz -10-15 minutes.
Teachers, that are using this application in forestry education point out that Kahoot is easy to use
(4.8 out of 5), is a motivating tool for learning for the students (4.7 out of 5), supports teachers’
classroom teaching (4.2 out of 5), assesses students’ knowledge (4.8 out of 5) and is an exciting tool
for students’ learning (4.7 out of 5). Possible disadvantages include the interface in English and the
need to organize an Internet channel.
According to the results of the surveys conducted in among students, 88% of the participants
consider Kahoot useful, interesting and motivating, 5% are neutral, 7% are not satisfied. Those
students who were not satisfied cited as problems unreliable connection to the Internet, difficult
reading of questions and answers on the projected screen, impossibility to change the answer after
submission, insufficient time for answering, the very competition and stress associated with the
«exam». From those students, who were positive in using of Kahoot, 88% mentioned that their
interaction and participation in lectures, 76% said they were more active in the classroom when
Kahoot was used. 93% of respondents mentioned that Kahoot enhances the classroom
environment.82% of students participated in the interview stressed that using of Kahoot helped them
to answer to the test suggested by a teacher.
Another application that is used in educational process in Saint- Petersburg State Forest Technical
University is Zoom. Zoom is used in an educational process in forest higher education a service for
videoconferences, online meetings and distance learning. The program is perfect for individual and
group lessons, students can log in from either a computer or a tablet with a phone. Anyone with a link
or a conference identifier can connect to a video conference. The event can be scheduled in advance,
as well as a recurring link, i.e. the same login link can be used for a regular lesson at a specific time.
The advantages that has this application are: video and audio communication with each participant can
be established, the screen sharing is possible with a sound, an interactive whiteboard is built into the
platform and it is easily and quickly switch from screen sharing to whiteboard, there is a chat room
where you can write messages, send files to everyone or select one student, the lesson can be recorded
on the computer as well as on the cloud, students can be divided into pairs and groups like in a
normal lesson, communication with up p to 100 participants in the free version of the application can
be established. One of the main problems of using Zoom, that was mentioned by the teachers, who
used this application, was that the free account to this application allows having a video conference
only for 40 minutes and then it comes a necessity to reconnect.
In the feedback of the students that participated in the lessons that used Zoom application, was
showed that 75% consider the online lecture method quite effective, 25% did not have enough
personal presence at the lecture.
Other applications are practically not used in high forest education. Also, it should be noted that so
far efforts to integrate mobile learning into higher forest education have been sporadic. The main
problems associated with the introduction of mobile learning in higher forest education are: the small
size of the screen and keyboard, the need for a wireless network, the risk of data loss due to the device
discharging, the lack of teachers’ skills and interest in using mobile technologies in educational
activities [7]. Among these factors, the main obstacle to the development of mobile learning is the lack
of interest among teachers in introducing it into the learning process. In this regard, projects aimed at
improving teaching levels, access to education and learning outcomes by integrating mobile learning
pedagogy into the learning environment can be an important area for effective implementation of
mobile learning. The main goal of such projects should be to improve the skills and motivation of the
teaching staff of forest universities in the systematic use of mobile technologies in teaching [8].

4. Conclusion

Global access to mobile devices, especially mobile phones, increases interest in m-learning every day.
When the interest of people into the mobile technology is considered, mobile learning, with a blended
design of technology, pedagogy and context can change the way of teaching and learning [9].
This gamification of learning enhances student involvement by involving all students, and
combines both a common, rapidly developing learning environment and friendly competition [10].
Thus, today we can talk about several directions of application of mobile devices for educational
purposes. Firstly, it is self-education; here we will also include the organization of autonomous work.
This is made possible by the fact that the technology of mobile learning is based on such general
pedagogical principles as accessibility and ease of use of material, interactivity, as well as, thanks to
special applications, the possibility of self-control and self-assessment. Secondly, mobile pedagogic
ideas can be used both in school and university traditional educational process. Thirdly, mobile
learning can be an effective complement to a distance or corporate learning course conducted as for
the students or for the company’s specialists.
Today’s huge variety of mobile applications for teaching foreign languages undoubtedly provides
all participants of the learning process with a useful tool that allows you to build an educational
trajectory as effectively and efficiently as possible. It is important that these applications provide a
wide range of opportunities not only for self-study, but also for learning within the learning
community, not limited by time and space.
Mobile training has several advantages, among which we can highlight the following: usability
much easier to place mobile devices than computers, and such devices take up less space, and sensory
control makes them much more visible; greater degree of student interaction and teachers, students
with each other (students can work together, share tasks in real time, send out information, discuss,
seek additional information); high interest of students in working with mobile devices [11]. Attracting
students who may have lost interest in learning for some reason is, in our opinion, very important,
since the interest is directly related to the motivational aspect of learning, and positive motivation is
important for the successful course of educational and cognitive activities of students.
Mobile learning, as an educational activity, can lead to the raising the interest and motivation of the
students to learn. It allows them to study their favorite topics, anytime and anywhere, and to share
them freely with friends. This is known as participation. Mobile learning focuses on activities that
enhance knowledge through interaction. In this sense it can be concluded that mobile pedagogic help
for the students to develop the communicational skills that are needed a lot in the era of digital
In fact, the e-learning model is mobile learning through mobile technologies. Moreover, the ability
to learn anytime and anywhere, which has the characteristics of e-learning, has become a reality with
the development of wireless technology and mobile learning. By taking advantage of mobile learning
the concept of life-long learning can be easily implemented on different levels of education, because
all ages may be involved in educational process.
As a result of interactive communication with mobile devices and collaborative learning, their
interaction increases. Mobile devices, in particular to provide relevant learning content, are presented
in a variety of content-based applications. Different concepts for access from mobile devices can
enhance learning activities. Mobile learning, communication and multimedia capabilities of mobile
devices can have a major impact on learning activities. Since many students are knowledgeable in
information and communication technology, e-mail and short message services can be used with
mobile devices. Universities should support students academically in this regard.
Mobile technology can be used to maintain and strengthen contact with students and faculty and,
logically, to improve retention, the reasons students leave the course may be: distance from learning
centers; insufficient academic support; insufficient information on counseling and laboratory classes;
and other related information [11].
It follows from the above that mobile pedagogy offers new opportunities for students and teachers;
mobile learning methods, techniques are easily applicable in environments of a modern university, and
the use of mobile pedagogy significantly increases students’ interest in learning.


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DTF 2020
IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 507 (2020) 012031
IOP Publishing

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