Digital tablets improve classroom learning

Jun 27, 2013

( —Using digital tablets for classroom learning activities improves understanding of topics, digital skills, creativity, independent learning and motivation. This is the opinion of 87% of the teachers who, in 2012-2013, took part in a study on the educational uses of digital tablets, led by the UAB researcher Pere Marquès.

During 2012-2013, over 2,000 pupils and 150 teachers in early childhood, primary, secondary and special education, took part in a study to identify the best learning activities with tablets, and the advantages and disadvantages of using them.

During this study, coordinated by Pere Marquès, director of the group Didactics, Innovation and Multimedia (DIM-UAB) of the UAB's Department of Applied Education Studies, the pupils' main activities were searching for information on internet (consulting encyclopaedias, the press and web 2.0 environments); watching and listening to audiovisuals (music, cartoons and videos); taking photos, and making videos and audio recordings; using office applications (text editing, multimedia presentations, and spreadsheets); communicating with or the teacher (by e-mail or on social networks); searching the internet for resources on the lesson and showing these on the digital whiteboard; doing exercises with educational applications and other resources available through browsers; taking notes (voice or text), drawing, and sharing information and files, among others.

Half the schools in the study used the tablets more than 30% of weekly class time, and 73% of the pupils also worked with the tablet at home. 45% of the devices were the students' own property.

The study highlights a large number of advantages in using digital tablets, such as access to sources of information on internet, and the tablet's portability and multifunctionality, providing resources for different learning activities. Furthermore, the researchers believe that digital tablets lead teachers to apply student-centred, empowering methodologies, help to deal with diversity among pupils (by personalising content and practice activities), spread digital skills within the family and facilitate the use of collaborative information-sharing environments. One significant disadvantage observed during the study, is that over 90% of the teachers believe that these devices increase class-preparation time, especially time spent searching for and creating resources for the pupils.

The study highlights the impact on pupils' learning. 87% of teachers claim that tablets contribute to the improvement of pupils' learning in general. Over 90% state that they facilitate independent learning (as they provide interaction and tools), help develop pupils' digital skills, improve comprehension (through images, simulations and video), encourage creativity (by helping to find and organise information and discuss ideas), and increase pupils' involvement and motivation.

However, less than 60% of teachers think that pupils' academic performance also improves, or in other words, the impact on their marks is seen to be lower than on their learning. In the words of Pere Marquès, "the curricular framework, and especially the traditional assessment system, prevent from displaying all they have learnt". In order to achieve a real improvement in academic performance, the experts advocate a bimodal curriculum, which recent research suggests would allow improved learning to be reflected in much better academic results.

Explore further: Learning platform uses quiz concept

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

weLearn application supports learning

Dec 14, 2012

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a free e-learning application called weLearn for Android tablets. The easy-to-use cloud service is designed to support and enliven learning by expanding the learning ...

Teachers' assessments not always conducive to fair education

Apr 16, 2013

Teachers' assessments of pupils' literacy can vary significantly, even for pupils with similar test scores. This may interfere with children's right to fair and gender-equal education, according to a new doctoral thesis from ...

Learning platform uses quiz concept

Apr 26, 2013

Can university students, schoolchildren and employees play their way to knowledge? Can computerised games help to reverse worrisome school drop-out rates? Yes, say the researchers behind the Norwegian-developed Kahoot! learning ...

Croatian pupils mark EU entry with astronaut chat

Jun 26, 2013

A group of pupils at a Zagreb high school on Wednesday marked their country's July 1 entry into the European Union by talking to an astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS).

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.