Monday, 11 March 2013

A7: Keep taking the tablets... but will they make a difference?

Steve Wheeler and Steve Margetts
Plymouth University, Devonport High School for Boys, UK

Since the introduction of touch screen tablets such as the iPad, schools have speculated on their uses for pedagogical advantage in the classroom. As mobile devices, touch screen tablets also have relevance as untethered learning tools, so are not bound strictly within formal learning environments. The mix of formal and informal opportunities, coupled with intuitive interface and simple to use applications holds much promise for the tablet in education. iPads have been shown to encourage deeper learning through more active engagement (NAACE, 2012). However, there has been much criticism also over whether such tools actually promote better learning, and whether there is any learning gain.

A new research partnership between Devonport High School for Boys and the School of Education at Plymouth University will set out to study the effects a one iPad per child project will have on the learning gain of Year 7 and 8 boys. In this paper we discuss the possibilities, the research design, and the aims of the forthcoming project ELiPSE - Enhancing Learning using iPads in Secondary Education.

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