Reflecting on the Results of the Initiative ETiE for Using Tablets in Primary Schools

Reflecting on the Results of the Initiative ETiE for Using Tablets in Primary Schools

Emmanuel Fokides (University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3476-2.ch016
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Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have taken the world by storm. In education, they have exponentially increased the opportunities for mobile and ubiquitous learning, as their unique features give them a competitive edge over conventional teaching. In light of the above, the chapter summarizes and discusses the findings of a series of short research projects, conducted under the umbrella of the initiative Emerging Technologies in Education, involving the use of tablets for teaching science-related subjects, programming, and Greek mythology to kindergarten and primary school students. All in all, it was found that the learning outcomes, which can be considered as good compared to non-technologically enhanced teaching, are closely related to the teaching method, to certain tablets' features, and to the type of application being used. Then again, the impact on students' misconceptions was minimal. Finally, a number of suggestions to software developers as well as to education administrators and policymakers are being discussed.
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The emergence of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, liberated education from its spatial and temporal confines, allowing the implementation of what is called mobile and ubiquitous learning. In essence, mobile learning provides ideas on how one can utilize mobile devices in education (Sharples & Spikol, 2017). Respectively, ubiquitous learning refers to the constant opportunity for learning due to the easy access to teaching and other material from anywhere and at any time (Murphy, 2011).

There is a fairly extensive literature regarding the effectiveness of mobile learning; better learning outcomes and increased incentives for learning (Chang, Chang, Hou, Sung, Chao, Lee &, 2014), rich educational experiences (Wilkinson & Barter, 2016), personalization/customization to the learning needs of each student (Clarke & Svanaes, 2014), development of metacognitive skills (Kearney, Schuck, Burden, & Aubussona, 2012), opportunities for continuous self-assessment, greater autonomy and control over one's learning process (West, 2013), are some of its advantages. Also, mobile devices can assist collaborative learning, as they allow interactions and cooperation between students (Bidin & Ziden, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Constructivism: A learning theory which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences. Although not a specific pedagogy, is the underlying theme of many education reform movements.

Mobile Learning: Education or training conducted by means of portable computing devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Misconception: A mistaken belief, a wrong idea, because it is based on faulty thinking or understanding.

Cognitive Load: A term used in cognitive psychology, that refers to the effort being used in the working memory. According to the cognitive load theory, there are three types of cognitive load intrinsic, extraneous, and germane.

Ubiquitous Learning: An alternative term for learning anywhere, anytime; thus, it is associated with mobile devices. It is grounded in situated learning which supports the view that we learn better when learning takes place in the context of real-life activities.

Tablet: A portable computer, typically with a mobile operating system, a touchscreen, and a rechargeable battery in a single thin, flat package.

Augmented Reality: A technology that provides to the user an interactive experience of a real-world environment which is “augmented” by computer-generated information.

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