Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Alma L. Culén, Andrea Gasparini (2012) iPad: A New Classroom Technology? A Report From Two Pilot Studies, INFuture2011: “Information Sciences and e-Society”

In this paper we discuss two pilot studies involving the use of iPads for active reading in a teaching/learning situation. This is part of a broader study of how introducing tablet PCs may transform the work and learning practices of learners. One of the pilot studies was conducted in a graduate level course, involving 40 university students. The other study involved 26 fourth grade elementary schoolchildren. The results concerning acceptance of the technology were vastly different in the two studies. We find the comparison to be very interesting in several aspects, most notably on the issue of ownership and perceived useful- ness. We hope that our experience with these pilot studies may be of use and interest for a wider community. Our research method is based on ethnography (in-class observations), enriched by workshops, questionnaires, group and individual interviews involving students, faculty and, in the case of elementary schoolchildren, families. The data from interviews has been consolidated and mapped out into an affinity diagram. The resulting diagram shows clearly issues that should be further addressed, as well as areas where changes in study- related work practices may occur. This paper offers some reflections on differences and similarities observed in the two study situations.

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