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iPad Scotland Evaluation is Published

by Paul Nisbet

on Tue Nov 13, 2012

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Earlier this year eight schools in Scotland participated in a study which asked How does the use of tablet devices (e.g. the iPad) impact on teaching and learning?

Given the huge interest in iPads, this is a good question to ask, and even  better to answer!

Researchers at the University of Hull have just published the project report here, and it makes interesting reading for anyone interested in iPads and tablet computers in schools. The Key Findings are reproduced below:

"1. Use of tablet devices such as the iPad was found to facilitate the achievement of many of the core elements required within the Curriculum for Excellence framework and could be further developed in order to achieve these aspirations.

2. The adoption of a personalised device such as an iPad significantly transforms access to and use of technology inside the classroom with many attendant benefits:

  • Many teachers noted that ubiquitous access to the Internet and other knowledge tools associated with the iPad altered the dynamics of their classroom and enabled a wider range of learning activities to routinely occur than had been possible previously.
  • The device also encouraged many teachers to explore alternative activities and forms of assessment for learning
3. Personal ‘ownership’ of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology:
This is seen as the critical element:
  • in increasing student levels of motivation, interest and engagement;
  • in promoting greater student autonomy and self-efficacy;
  • in encouraging students to take more responsibility for their own learning.
Evidence suggests that greater personal ownership of the iPad may also contribute to more interdisciplinary activity.
4. The individual possession of and early familiarisation with the iPad by teachers was seen as being responsible for the significant ‘buy in’ and low level of resistance from teachers:
  • The iPad engaged both teachers and students equally well.
  • Many members of school and Local Authority management teams commented that the deployment and effective use of iPad technology had been the most easily accepted, successful and problem-free initiative they had ever witnessed.
5. As a result of the pilot initiative schools are reconsidering their existing technology deployments with a view to more mobile provision:
  • Some schools have decided that because of their experiences with the iPad their existing ICT suites of computers will not be replaced in future.
  • Many schools reported that teachers and students were using iPads every day and in most lessons.
  • Little formal training or tuition to use the devices was required by teachers; they learned experientially through play and through collaboration with colleagues and students.
6. The device is bringing about significant changes in the way teachers approach their professional role as educators and is changing the way they see themselves and their pedagogy:
  • Teachers noted that iPads had promoted more collaboration between them and students
  • Teachers now see many students coaching and teaching their peers without the intervention of the class teacher
  • Software and applications (e.g. screen recording apps) support these processes and resultant changes in pedagogy
  • The use of iPads has enabled many more students to express their creativity, to engage in peer assessment and in group critique.
  • Teachers have seen the emergence of a real learning community that extends beyond the academic to include a partnership between students and teachers who work closely together.
  • Students report that within a month of the pilot starting, they noticed from their perspective that the quality of teaching seemed to have improved.
  • Class teachers feel that the functionality of these devices better supports students of all abilities.
  • Teachers reported that iPads allowed them to develop and extend homework and provide better feedback to students about their learning.
7. Parents also appear to become more engaged with the school and their child’s learning when the iPad travels home with the student:
  • The overwhelming majority of parents believe that students should be allowed to use mobile technologies in their school before they reach the secondary stage and reported that their children gained significant positive dispositions towards learning as a result of access to the iPad.
  • Over 80 per cent of parents considered the pilot project to have been valuable for their child despite its short duration and say it has significantly changed their child’s enjoyment of and attitude towards school.
  • Parents say that greater motivation, interest and engagement of their child with learning have been the single largest benefits.
  • Over 90 per cent of students believe that the iPad has helped them to learn more and to learn more difficult concepts and ideas better.
  • 75 per cent felt that their children were now more willing to complete homework.
  • Many noticed that their children were now more willing to talk to them about their school work.
8. Education departments and associated services within Local Authorities were perceived to have been helpful towards the iPad initiative and to have worked hard to support its use although corporate systems sometimes found this challenging:
  • Some concerns surrounded data security and eSafety but schools felt that corporate structures should recognise the need to place more trust in schools and students.
  • Schools felt that the appropriate use of the Internet is primarily a behavioural and educational issue that was within their abilities to address.
  • Schools saw many central or corporate eSafety protocols as unhelpful and counter productive and most felt they prevented them from making full use of iPads.
  • The physical safety of the devices has proved unproblematic and schools reported that students displayed high levels of responsibility and care even when taking iPads home.
  • The iPad itself is simple to operate and is robust and reliable although a number of bulk maintenance and upgrading issues remain to be resolved in schools.
9. Many teachers and students wish to have access to the iPad after the end of the trial and are convinced it has changed learning for the better."

Tags: iPad

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