ICT / Research / Science / Teaching & Learning

iPad research dilemma

So, the start of my third (and final) year of initial teacher education is creeping up on me. This year, I have to complete a research project on any area of primary education.

While I have always considered the use of iPads in the primary classroom an interesting area for more research, my recent involvement with United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) has gained my attention. Additionally, I am highly passionate about primary science and would like to expand my involvement/research in this area.

My current thought process regarding areas of research on the use of the iPad in the primary classroom is still developing; I am considering combining my passion for science and technology, to see how iPads can improve attainment in primary science. There are numerous blogs (http://www.enabling-environments.co.uk) that discuss the use of iPads, however they seem to have a holistic approach and focus on apps (mobile applications) that can be used by children in the classroom.

However, as a science enthusiast, I am keen to see how an iPad can enhance children’s learning and attainment in a specific subject (namely science). While I am aware that there are specific apps that can enhance the learning experience (Solar Walk), I am keen to explore how using the hardware itself can extend children’s learning, such as using outdoor environments and having access to mobile technology over the ‘best’ apps for children.

Additionally, I am very interested to discover if iPads can be used to enhance the use of talk in the primary classroom, and engage children with each other through collaborative learning. While the importance of talk is widely accepted as important for enhancing children’s learning (Vygotsky, for example), there is a preconceived idea that by using iPads, children are less likely to talk if using iPads 1-on-1. Can the iPad be a facilitator for talk?

My current mind map (see below) shows my current thought process and ideas I have for researching. However, I am unsure on how to progress.

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