Whether you are a parent, teacher, student, or an advocate for tablet technology in schools, this report will give you valuable information on how tablets can benefit learning, and help kids acquire 21st century skills.
The objectives for Stage 3 were to examine teacher, student and parent engagement, to measure perceived benefits and drawbacks of Tablet use,to review the process of introducing one-to-one tablets to a school, and to summarise the global picture of the use of Tablets in education.
Abstract from Family, Kids & Youth
This report summarises findings from an evaluation study that is looking at the feasibility and educational impact of giving one-to-one Tablets to every child in school. Research for this stage was carried out between April and September 2013 and follows Stage 1 (published December 2012), which assessed three schools that had introduced one-to-one Tablets and one control school, and Stage 2 (published July 2013), which looked at nine schools that had introduced one-to-one Tablet schemes. …read the full Abstract here
The Stage 3 research, carried out by Family Kids & Youth, involved high-achieving schools (with the goal of improving the learning experience), and those struggling in some capacity. For those in the second category, tablets were seen as integral to improving teaching standards, and re-engaging students and staff.
The main reasons given by schools for introducing tablets was “living and working in the digital age” (92%), and to support independent research and problem-solving (91%). Ensuring equality of access to the internet was given as a reason to introduce Tablets by 52% of schools, and 43% cited potential cost savings as a motivational factor. The report also details global research on the use of tablet technology for education. Additionally, you can download here a compilation of individual case studies, which gathers the experience of different schools in their journey of implementing one-to-one Tablets. These case studies provide with a practical approach on the introduction of tablets in schools and can help to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that may occur.
Here is a summary of the key research findings:
Key Findings: The Benefits
- Improvements in pedagogy: For example, teachers were more able to facilitate learning for different types of learner and for different levels of understanding. Again, SEN students were found to benefit from tablet use.
- Increased Engagement and collaboration: Tablets improved student, teacher and parent engagement with learning, in addition to collaboration. 87% of students agreed that tablets had helped them to enjoy learning. Also, being able to continue schoolwork at home or on-the-go shortened the gap between school and home. Parents observed that children completed homework faster: “where we were not able to help her, she got on the tablet and found out how to work it out.” On 27 March 2014, the government stated that, according to the evidence they reviewed, tablets do improve engagement and creativity in students, in addition to helping with monitoring and assessment. They have promised to continue to review international research in this area. See the Hansard report for more details.
- Teachers being Constantly Available: Students communicated more with teachers about their schoolwork, and teachers had immediate access to evidence of work. Essa Academy reported that students and teachers were in “almost constant dialogue” over schoolwork.
- Improved Student Behaviour: At Essa Academy, student behaviour improved as a result of tablet use as previously disaffected students became more engaged in learning.
- Cost Savings: One school planned to reduce the number of PCs they purchased.
How Tablets in Particular Contribute to Learning Benefits
One outcome of the research was that both teachers and students cited key features of tablets themselves (as distinct from laptops and PCs) as contributing to key benefits such as engagement and collaboration. These included portabilility (which led to ease and speed of use), the intuitive touch interface, their more “flexible form factor”, and better software (apps). In one school, teachers used to spend half of the lesson making sure that students were logged into the system through laptops and PCs. Teachers were also able to customise learning so that lessons could take place in different spaces.
Tablets were seen as playing a different role than laptops or PCs. Having “personal” access to technology was seen as the key difference. Students didn’t have to wait in a queue or share with anyone either at school or at home. Personal devices removed barriers to learning so, for example, homework was easier to complete at home.
Key Findings: The Issues Surrounding Tablet Use
The schools identified the following issues with tablet implementation:
- Integration into teaching. This was cited as the main challenge. As a result, the schools involved in the research took professional training very seriously, focusing on how to use the tablet in lessons. As one teacher pointed out, “the most successful deployment is one where the embedding of the device as a learning tool is the focus.” Some schools also involved students in training staff, as project ambassadors.
- ICT and Deployment. Schools were particularly concerned about wifi – with 52% noting that they would require external help in this area. The report details the additional costs of introducing tablets (with older schools making greater overhauls to their wifi systems). One Head of Computing pointed out that a potential pitfall was “having people who only think in terms of deploying Microsoft Windows desktop PCs in charge of your deployment. 1:1 tablets require entirely new thinking.”
- Breakages and Insurance. 62% of schools cited insurance as a concern, and something that would require external help. A number of schools self-insured because of the high cost of policies. When asked what they would do differently, some teachers replied that, given the breakages, they would invest in robust cases.
- Educational Content. Finding reliable content was an ongoing issue. At one school, teachers started creating their own content using resources such as iBook and iTunes. Another school offered training to enable teachers to develop bespoke apps.
- Tablet Funding: Page 40 of the report outlines a number of creative options used to fund the tablets, including parental contribution schemes.
The first T4S conference is on Monday 9th December. You will have the opportunity to gain experience of successfully implementing tablets from some of our research schools. Click here to find out more.