Tablets found to offer many benefits in skill development among young children
The use of mobile devices such as iPads and other tablets in the classroom can help improve literacy, numeracy and communication skills, according to researchers at Stranmillis University College.
The ‘mobile devices in early learning’ report investigated the long-term implementation of iPads in five Northern Ireland primary schools, with the aim being to assess the impact of the devices in learning in the Early Years and Foundation stages of education.
The findings suggest that tablets can play a role in the development of literacy and numeracy skills, as well as boosting personal skills such as leadership and confidence.
iPads in school
“Digital technology, especially portable devices, is becoming an everyday part of young people’s lives,” said Dr Colette Gray, the project’s principal investigator. “Many of our schools have already recognised the potential of iPads and other tablets and have integrated them into their classroom practices.
“The study’s findings showed that, in the five participating schools, all of which were located in catchment areas of high social deprivation and academic under-achievement, the introduction of digital technology has had a positive impact on the development of pupil literacy and numeracy skills.”
Dr. Grey also explained that the use of tablets also enhanced children’s communication skills in the classroom by acting as a stimulus for discussion between the pupils and the teacher.
Other benefits included increased confidence, improved creativity and technical skills, greater ownership of the learning process, improved social and citizenship skills and the reinforcement of fine motor skills.
However, the study does also warn that certain pupils were prone to becoming frustrated with skills-based apps and that parental training in child protection and safeguarding would be required to ensure the wellbeing of children if tablets were widely used.
The education sector is currently going through something of a revolution, with innovations designed to improve the learning experience emerging at a rapid rate.
A prime example of a school or college making the most of technology is the Essa Academy, which is using Apple hardware and software to transform its teaching processes and change the beliefs of both students and teachers.