Apple began their full assault on education when they launched the iPad a few years ago. The iPad offers students apps and books that can be utilized in the classroom and help students raise their test scores. While it’s still on its way to seeing a larger adoption, Apple also introduced iBooks in January to help more in education. But how effective is the iPad in student learning?
To put some numbers behind the education work Apple is doing, The Loop has profiled a report that indicates the iPad is improving kindergartner’s literacy scores, based off a study done throughout a Maine school district.
The school district in Auburn, Maine assigned 16 iPads to be used in the classroom of 16 kindergartens, over a 9 week period. A total of 236 students were given literacy test before the 9 week testing period for the iPad began. Over the 9 week period, 129 students were taught using an iPad, while 137 students were taught the old fashion way. The school district found that students using an iPad out-performed students not using an iPad in every literacy test, by a significant margin.
An Auburn school principal, Sue Dorris, told how the iPad benefited the kindergartners in her school, “we are seeing high levels of student motivation, engagement and learning in the iPad classrooms.” Ms. Dorris also told of how they use apps to specifically target a child’s needs, “the apps, which teach and reinforce fundamental literacy concepts and skills, are engaging, interactive and provide children with immediate feedback. What’s more, teachers can customize apps to match the instructional needs of each child, so students are able to learn successfully at their own level and pace.”
Like Ms. Dorris said, it’s about the apps and books that are being given to children that make a real difference. The iPad is just the tool, apps are the content that are going to give the real benefit. Apps let children interact and learn in a better way. When it comes to the apps chosen, Mike Muir from a local Auburn school said, “We are paying attention to app selection and focused on continuous improvement — we aren’t just handing equipment to teachers.”
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