Study Shows iPads Could Improve Literacy Skills in Young Children
A recent study has found that kindergartners who use iPads in school are likely to score higher on literacy tests than those who do not.
The study, which was carried out in Auburn, Maine early last year, looked at 266 kindergartners who had been given free iPads to use in class as part of an experiment. Out of the 266 students, 129 were given lessons using iPads, while the remaining 137 were taught through traditional methods.
The results, which were published on Apple’s unofficial tech blog, TUAW, showed that in addition to better scores in every literacy test, children who were taught through the use of an iPad also showed an increased interest in learning and were more enthusiastic about going to school.
The trend of using iPads in the classroom has steadily been catching on in schools around the globe, with public schools in New York City having spent $1.3 million on iPads for educational purposes and a private school in Sydney, Australia that has even begun requiring its students to own iPads.
[Check out our article: iPad Apps For Education]
With an increasing number of educational apps these days, the level of teacher involvement required is minimal, making them a popular choice in schools where the student-teacher ratio is imbalanced or with parents who are looking for productive ways to keep kids occupied at home.
An example of one such app is the interactive English learning iPad app created by educational experts at busuu.com, a leading online language learning community. The application guides kids through a series of interactive illustrated and animated games and activities that are designed to teach them the intricacies of the English language.
But, while the iPad certainly has huge potential as an educational tool, experts caution that on its own, technology, such as an iPad, is not enough to bring about positive results in the classroom; a lot depends on how it is implemented as well as the teaching methods employed.
John Armstrong, parent of two and avid user of the iPad for educational purposes, commented that one problem he has encountered is that teachers don’t have enough control over what apps the kids are actually using in class.
“Teachers put the kids in one app but the kids end up in whatever is their favorite app and no one is the wiser,” says John. “This totally subverts the iPad’s proper use. We’ve watched this over and over in our sons’ classes and it’s frustrating.”
Donna W. Hill, writer, speaker and publicist for the National Federation of the Blind also cautioned that educators looking to implement iPad learning in their classrooms should be aware that learning institutions that receive federal funding are required to choose devices and apps that are accessible to students who are blind or have a print handicap.
[Check out our article: How to use tablets to enhance learning]
This holds true regardless of whether or not the school has such students at the time of implementing the technology into their curriculum.
Although it’s not yet clear whether the iPad will become a permanent fixture in the classroom, there are signs that this technology could revolutionize the way we learn. In any case, the initial results have certainly caught the attention of parents and educators around the globe.