Faculty of Education

iPad research in schools

ipad Scotland school based project

The Technology Enhanced Learning Research group, led by Kevin Burden (Principal Investigator) based in the Faculty of Education, has completed the first national evaluation to investigate the use and impact of tablet technologies (in this case the iPad), across schools and homes in Scotland.

The study was based in eight schools and six local authorities across Scotland where iPad devices were being piloted to investigate a range of issues associated with the deployment of personal mobile devices as tools for teaching and learning.

This follows the announcement and launch in May 2012 by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in Scotland (Mr. Michael Russell) of a series of pilots to assess the issues associated with personal ownership of technologies for learning.  It is anticipated the current evaluation will contribute to the evidence base which Scotland is looking to develop in this important aspect of education.

Findings and further details

The study focused on four principal themes related to the use of mobile devices as personal tools for teaching and learning. These were:

  • How tablet devices impact on teaching and learning
  • The leadership and management issues associated with the deployment of mobile devices in schools and local authorities
  • Parental engagement with learning when students use mobile technologies as personal devices
  • Professional development and learning for teachers introducing personal mobile devices into the curriculum

The headlines findings from the study show that:

  • The ownership of a personal mobile device, like the iPad, facilitates many of the pedagogical aspirations set out in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence framework.
  • The adoption of mobile technologies on a personal basis significantly increases access to technology for students, both inside and beyond school, with many attendant benefits for learning which include greater motivation, engagement, parental involvement, and understanding of complex ideas.
  • Personal ‘ownership’ of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology
  • Teachers are equally engaged by the use of a device like the iPad which has a low learning curve enabling them to use it immediately as a teaching tool and a learning tool for themselves
  • The use of the device is contributing to significant changes in the way teachers approach their professional role as educators and is changing the way they see themselves and their pedagogy:
  • Parents also appear to become more engaged with the school and their child’s learning when the iPad travels home with the student

Full report findings can be acccessed by clicking on iPad Scotland evaluation. The research team are currently working with schools and local authorities in Scotland and elsewhere to develop a framework based on this research to chart the impact of these mobile technologies in schools.

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