Choice, Coverage & Cost in the Countryside

A Topology of Adolescent Rural Mobile Technology Use


  • Calvin Taylor Monash University



As mobile technologies become increasingly prevalent throughout Australian society, it is important to consider the impact of local factors on their use. In order to support rural students and develop appropriate mobile learning frameworks, it is essential to have an understanding of the particular communication challenges presented by local experiences. This paper reports some preliminary observations emerging from an ethnographic study of mobile technology use by a group of rural adolescents in Victoria. This research aims to understand their use of various mobile technologies in terms of literacy practices. A key consideration in understanding these particular students was interrogating the rural context involved and the impact this has on their mobile technology use. Key influences on their practices that emerged from their rural context included: network choice, phone coverage and financial cost. Technology use for this particular group of rural students will be examined through the voices of participants in this research. Their experiences, whilst specific to their lives and locality, speak to wider trends and issues concerning mobile technology use by rural students. If we are to develop educational strategies to  accommodate young people’s knowledge of and experience with these technologies, it is essential to develop an understanding of how particular places – rural places – structure the use of mobile technologies.




How to Cite

Taylor, C. (2009). Choice, Coverage & Cost in the Countryside: A Topology of Adolescent Rural Mobile Technology Use. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 19(1), 53–64.