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Abstract

Mobile media is the over-arching term for handheld devices with internet capabilities such as smartphones and tablets. This multifaceted, handheld technology is common amongst teens and young adults. Specifically, individuals between ages 18 and 29 are primarily wireless internet users and owners of cell phones, 81%, and 93% respectively. This study addresses the question: what are public high school students' perceptions of mobile media in a social studies classroom? Of particular interest in this work is a better understanding of how mobile devices affect student interest and enjoyment during a World War II lesson. Traditionally, social studies instruction is heavily textual, relying on reading and comprehension skills. Previous research revealed social studies as one of the least favorite subjects among students, ranking below language arts and mathematics. This study investigated the perceptions of 87 tenth-graders from a rural public school in south-central Ohio. The participants completed surveys before and after playing D-Day, an educator-developed, the historical game available through the platform ARIS. The findings include the following themes: connected to the past, connected to present, connected to self. In addition, the results indicate an increase in student enjoyment and interest in social studies, as well as advocate for additional lessons with tablets or smartphones.

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