Washington, April 13: Making a strong pitch for the use of iPads in kindergarten schools, a Northwestern University researcher has found children in classes with shared iPads significantly outscored their peers on achievement tests who were in classes that had no iPads or classes with iPads for each student (1:1 ratio).
"Shared iPad students significantly outperformed both the 1:1 and non-iPad condition, suggesting it is the collaborative learning around the technology that made the difference," said lead researcher Courtney Blackwell.
Results showed that students in shared iPad classrooms significantly outscored their peers in 1:1 and non-iPad classrooms on the spring achievement test, even after controlling for baseline scores and student demographics. Blackwell found that shared iPad students scored approximately 30 points higher than 1:1 iPad students and non-iPad users.
For the study, Blackwell worked with 352 students at a Midwestern suburban school district that was phasing in 1:1 iPads into their kindergarten classrooms. "1:1 tablet computers may not be the most effective way to use technology for all grades and from a policy standpoint, we need to rethink what developmentally appropriate technology use is for young children," Blackwell added.
There has been little quantitative research done measuring the effects of young children's academic achievement. "This is the first study to examine the effect that sharing iPads can have on young students," Blackwell pointed out. She will present her findings at the 65th annual conference of the International Communication Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico in May this year.