iPads improving learning – what the research tells us

I was at an event  at a school the other day running hands on iPad sessions for parents and I was challenged to prove that students using iPads would improve learning.  This was a tough call on the spot  and given the fact  ICT has not been proven to have a positive quantitative impact on learning yet – despite the best efforts of Becta.

I did point to the Essa Academy’s success with its GCSE results but this did not cut much ice.  I therefore started doing some research.  I hope this is of some use – to really understand what these studies have uncovered you will need to follow the links.

Pepperdine University

What is the value of the iPad?
One of the questions the research team asked itself was simply, “What is special about the iPad in education in relation to changes in technology?” The simple answer to this question is that the iPad can do everything. It is not just a clicker or an e-reader. The iPad has the capacity to be a communication, productivity, and gaming device all in one convenient, mobile platform.

Abeline Christian University

Key Findings:

Is a true mobile learning device
Increases student engagement
Enables collaborative learning
Allows potential student productivity
Allows potential student efficiency
Improves student technology competency
Reduces faculty back end effort
Confirmed: iPads Extend a Teacher’s Impact on Kindergarten Literacy Scores

Study done in Maine that really shows that literacy scores improve when students use iPads

HMH Fuse Pilot Program

Comparing student performance from the yearlong pilot, over 78 percent of students using HMH Fuse scored Proficient or Advanced on the state test, compared to only 59 percent of their fellow students at Earhart—19 percentage points in favor of students using the HMH Fuse app.

Virginia Department of Education

Beyond Texbooks project looked at using interactive eBooks.  Two very detailed reports.

iPads in  schools

A round up of different projects in the USA

iPads in Schools: Use Testing

The study used a multiple-site case study approach to explore the iPad’s suitability as a tool for learning in schools. Eight primary and three secondary school teachers were each given two iPads and $100 iTunes credit for a school term and asked to explore six Focus Areas: the learning settings best supported by the iPad, learning affordances of the iPad, student engagement, use with students with learning difficulties, the educational value of Apps and any technical or administrative issues encountered in the management of iPads in schools.

Executive Summary


Oklahoma State University has formally released its internal findings on an iPad pilot conducted during the Fall 2010 semester, showing that the device had a positive impact in an academic environment.