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Study claims iPad helps rise in literacy for kindergarteners

updated 03:05 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Results may demand concerted effort

A study conducted in Auburn, Maine suggests that the iPad may be able to improve literacy rates among kindergarten students, notes The Loop. The Auburn School Department recently assigned iPads to half of the district's 16 kindergarten classes for a period of nine weeks. This translated into 129 students being taught with iPads, and 137 without; to gauge results, all of the students were tested before and after the trial.

In the end, the classes using iPads are said to have outperformed the ones without them in every literacy metric used. The ASD is, however, reported to have put special effort into the project. "The objective has to be learning, not just getting the technology out there," says the Department's Multiple Pathways Leader, Mike Muir. "We are paying attention to app selection and focused on continuous improvement -- we aren't just handing equipment to teachers."

He claims that many educational institutions have not put in enough effort. "Too many innovative programs don't prioritize their own research, and even if they collect observations and stories later, they don't make the effort to do a randomized control trial, like we did," he argues. "We wanted to make sure we could objectively examine the contribution of the iPads."

Sue Dorris, the principal at East Auburn Community School, comments that the Department is seeing "high levels of student motivation, engagement and learning in the iPad classrooms." While the exact apps used are unmentioned, they are said to "teach and reinforce fundamental literacy concepts and skills," and be "engaging" while providing kids with immediate feedback. They can be customized to suit each child, letting people learn at different rates.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    I'm sure the report will be

    refuted and there will be claims that a Windows tablet would do so much more for those youngsters at a much cheaper cost because Windows devices do everything so much better than Apple devices.

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Placebo effect

    This may be true, or it may be not. Conclusions like these often take advantage of an effect that might be called, "Hey, they're paying attention to me. They're doing something for me."

    The classic example was a phone company that improved the lighting in an large open office. Productivity went up. Their conclusion: "Ah, the workers needed better lighting." Unfortunately for that conclusion a short time later for some technical reason they had to go back to their former lighting levels. Productivity took another jump, even thought it was the same as the original lighting.

    The conclusion some have drawn from that is that changes make workers (or students) feel more important. For a time they work better or study harder but the effect wears off over time. It's a bit like the placebo effect where a pill that should do nothing cures some illnesses.

    I'm not saying that's true here. I'm just saying that one study proves little.

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