Managing Social Activity and Participation in Large Classes with Mobile Phone Technology


  • Andrew Thatcher University of the Witwatersrand
  • Gillian Mooney University of the Witwatersrand



large class teaching, mobile phone messaging, activity theory, m-learning


Within the context of a developing country, such as South Africa, access to technology is severely limited. However, most South Africans have relatively good access to mobile phone technology in relation to other portable and mobile technology. In this initiative, students were encouraged to use mobile phone text messaging to send questions to the lecturer during classes or between classes. A total of 86 text messages were sent to the lecturer during a 7-week, second year psychology course. At the end of the course 136 responses to questionnaire distributed in class was obtained. This data was analysed using activity theory as a framework for the discussion. The results indicated that students had strongly favorable perceptions of this initiative and respondents had spontaneously suggested other uses of mobile phone technology to enhance the learning experience. Activity theory provided a useful framework for evaluating the use of mobile phone text messages to enhance student participation and learning.

Author Biographies

Andrew Thatcher, University of the Witwatersrand

Associate Professor in Department of Psychology

Gillian Mooney, University of the Witwatersrand

Lecturer in Psychology Department




How to Cite

Thatcher, A., & Mooney, G. (2008). Managing Social Activity and Participation in Large Classes with Mobile Phone Technology. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 2(3), pp. 41–51.



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