14 October 2013

New qualitative research report on tablet use in UK schools

Be the first to share

Tablets for Schools, a UK campaign organisation that seeks to “prove the categorical case of tablets in schools”, has just published its second qualitative research report.

“The 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 September 2012 and April 2013.

The research included an evaluation of four secondary schools that had chosen to give pupils one-to-one Tablets in September 2011, two schools that had introduced Tablets in autumn 2012, and three schools that were given Tablets by Tablets for Schools for Year 7s between 2012 and 2013. Methodology included qualitative and quantitative research. Results suggest that long-term use of the Tablet has a profound effect on pedagogy, and that pupils benefit from having access to content both at school and at home.

Pupils appear to have greater engagement with learning, collaboration with peers increases, and teachers can monitor individual progress effectively. There are some concerns about pupil distraction and managing time effectively. It is clear that schools need time to adjust to the introduction of one-to-one devices, and that the functions of the Tablet need to be understood by teachers, together with the changes to pedagogy that are brought about by an increase in independent learning. Strong leadership helps this process. Infrastructure, insurance or self-insuring, and protection for the devices need to be considered before introduction takes place, and access to appropriate content is key to using the devices effectively. For schools considering the introduction of one-to-one Tablets, learning from schools that have undergone this journey is highly beneficial.”

The Tablets for Schools team has summarised the key research findings below.

The benefits

  • Pedagogy: Tablets enhanced pedagogy by enabling teachers to adapt their teaching style to suit the needs of individual students, and allowed for innovative ways to learn. This was particularly beneficial for special needs students.
     
  • Engagement: Tablets improved student, teacher and parent engagement with learning. In particular, parents engaged more with the school and with their child’s education… “Somehow that engagement [learning composition] was much more intense with the tablet, and they were much more motivated and engaged, and worked quicker. The task didn’t feel like it was work.” – Teacher, Dixons City Academy.
     
  • Independent Learning and Collaboration: Tablets were found to foster both independent learning, and collaboration with teachers and other students.

Dealing with issues surrounding tablet use

  • Infrastructure. Infrastructure (including security) is a concern and one of the keys to successful implementation. Participants indicated the limits of their expertise, for example, schools are not experts in procurement so how can they compare the different costs of Wi-Fi?
     
  • Sourcing Educational Content. Finding reliable resources (particularly for maths) is an issue. However, teachers continued to be creative in terms of both customising content, and creating new content for teaching purposes (including multimedia tutorials) “…on the whole teachers like to create their own content because they know the content…it’s much more difficult to teach without your own notes…” Deputy Principal, Wallace High School
     
  • Students Being Distracted: Observation sessions noted that students multi-tasked during lessons (with messaging apps, etc). Though when asked what they did on their iPads during learning sessions, 95% said they focussed on work”. The concept of “distractibility” is unclear. For example, some students claimed music helped them concentrate, others were unable to multitask, and it was also found that a large number of the 5% of students who were “distracted” during lessons were actually “also” doing work. However, the key is to have clear rules, effective classroom management, and educating students in using tablets responsibly.
     
  • Teachers being Constantly Available: One of the key benefits for students was near-constant access to teachers. Teachers were comfortable setting their own boundaries around the resulting increased communication. One teacher pointed out that answering a student’s email on Sunday afternoon could save “significant amounts of time” on Monday morning.
     
  • Training and Preparation: There was a need for strong leadership, and the adoption of initiatives such as “device champions” and “parental consultation evenings” were identified as beneficial for implementation. Adequate preparation (such as training for both parents and teachers) was also essential.

A conference is planned on Monday 9th December in London, where attendees can gain practical experience of successfully implementing tablets from some of their research schools.

Be the first to share
7 April 2015
[Book] Practical Empathy
Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work by Indi Young Rosenfeld Media, 2015 Synopsis Conventional product development focuses on the solution. Empathy is a mindset that focuses on people, helping you to understand their thinking patterns and …
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
26 March 2015
Gov.uk’s open policy making toolkit – practical guidance on ethnography and more
The Gov.uk open policy making toolkit is a practical guide to techniques that can help you make better policy. The toolkit, which brings together the latest techniques to improve making and delivering policy, is based on …
24 March 2015
Ethnographic research drives IKEA’s global success
In a long Fortune Magazine article on IKEA's successful global expansion, author Beth Kowitt devotes quite a few paragraphs to the importance of qualitative, ethnographic research: "Today research is at the heart of Ikea’s expansion. “The …
23 March 2015
Design fiction personas illustrate possible impact of educational tech
People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues …
10 March 2015
Empathy makes you only more egocentric
In a battery of experiments, Imperial College’s Johannes Hattula and his coresearchers Walter Herzog, Darren Dahl, and Sven Reinecke interviewed marketing managers about their personal preferences for a selected product or service. The researchers then …
27 February 2015
Steve Portigal’s insider view of corporate user research
The acclaimed UX researcher Steve Portigal hosts the DollarsToDonuts podcast series [iTunes | Twitter] where he talks with the people who lead user research in their (corporate) organization. Six programs so far: Carol Rossi, Senior Director of …
24 February 2015
How do people save/share/revisit on mobile devices?
In early January, Mozilla UX conducted user research to refresh their understanding of how people save, share, and revisit mobile content with the goal of building a knowledge base for a larger contextual research project …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles