News stories are popping up everywhere with the details on schools that have adopted the use of iPads in varying capacities in the classroom. An ongoing study conducted by Abilene Christian University is the latest to try to quantify the benefits of using these tablets to support their educational efforts.
Rounding the third year since their research began, the university has graduated to testing iPads from having previously used iPhone and iPod Touch devices to review the impact of digital mobility on education.
The results of their research appear to be overwhelmingly positive. Students who took advantage of iPads to annotate their notes ended up scoring 25% higher on questions regarding information transfer than those who hadn’t. Grad students that used the devices were noted as being 95% satisfied with their online coursework.
The feeling among those using it seems to be that the iPad gave students the opportunity to have what they referred to as ‘learning moments’, by making better use of their time.
And this is just the beginning. When we think about using tablets to supplement our educational experiences, I think most people jump to the idea of digital versions of textbooks. While I think that certainly is one of the first applications, more educational resources will be made available for iPads and other tablet devices as time goes on. Consider being able to supplement lessons with digital video, review breaking news stories as they unfold, access studying aids like flashcards or supplemental quizzes. The opportunities really are endless in this realm.
Because every student has different learning needs and their own set of strengths, I believe that the secret to the success of these devices in the classroom is going to be adaptability. Affordability will play a key role too of course, though I know studies are being done to determine the costs of using electronics vs. print materials with favorable results.