Thursday, December 12, 2013

Estudio sobre el iPad en la educación

En este post comentaré un importante estudio realizado en Canadá sobre el uso de iPads en clase. Se trata del The iPad in education: uses, benefits and challenges.

A continuación incluyo en inglés algunas conclusiones del estudio The iPad in education: uses, benefits and challenges:

Algunas sugerencias sobre el uso de los iPads en clase:
These suggestions may be summarized as three main themes:
a) Training and resources (training, time, technical support, practice communities, list of relevant applications, etc.)
b) Use policies and student accountability strategies
c) Classroom management tools (shared platform for documents, simple and rapid process to block student access).

First, the findings demonstrate that using the iPad at school provided many benefits, as highlighted by both students and teachers:
1. Increased student motivation
2. Greater access to information
3. Portability of the device
4. Ease of making notes on PDF documents
5. Ease of organizing work
6. Quality of students’ presentations
7. Quality of teachers’ presentations
8. Greater collaboration a) among students, and b) between students and teachers
9. More creativity
10. Variety of resources used (images, videos, applications, etc.)
11. Students can work at their own pace
12. Development of students’ IT skills
13. Development of teachers’ IT skills
14. Improved reading experience
15. Teachers can cut down on paper.

9 main challenges encountered:
1. The greatest challenge for the teachers, who found it a major headache, was that the touchpads provided a distraction for the students. They enabled the students to do something other than listen to the teacher, and perhaps too easily so. Even at a young age, the students soon discovered the iMessage and networking functions that diverted their attention so frequently.
2. Many students and teachers stressed that they had problems writing lengthy texts with the iPads.
3. In line with the above challenge, it must be noted that the iPads did not make learning to write per se easier. One notable problem was that the devices and applications did not yet include all the help features in a single application. Therefore, learning to write appears to be a major drawback of the iPad. Although the various iPad applications helped younger students practice forming their letters, once they passed that stage, the resources were less useful and more complicated compared to those typically found on computers.
4. Many students and teachers felt that some of the textbooks were unsuitable for working with touchpads. For example, they might require continuous Internet access.
5. Many teachers also spoke about the challenges of planning their courses. It is not so easy to make the transition from a physical book to the iPad, and some found the transition too rapid.
6. Organizing the students’ work was very challenging for some teachers. Many platforms were involved, and numerous teachers had the impression that they were doing three times the work, and that in the end, it was more complicated than when they used traditional paper and pencil.
7. Many teachers were poorly informed about the resources that were available for the iPad.
8. In addition, the ebooks were underused. And yet, this is a fagship function of the touchpad.
In fact, the results showed that less than 3% of the students reported that they read books on their touchpad screen.
9. Lastly, many students and teachers mentioned that because they were distracted by the touchpads, their academic performance sufered.

Para finalizar las 10 recomendaciones del estudio The iPad in education: uses, benefits and challenges:
1.. Teacher training and networking. In line with the teachers’ recommendations, it would be crucial to train teachers in both the pedagogical aspects (class management and subject teaching methods) and technical aspects of student use of iPads at school. Resources should be made available to teachers ahead of time, according to the subjects they teach. The training should be combined with designated free time so that teachers can try out newly learned practices, preferably in teams. During training, teachers should be reminded that the iPads per se do not motivate students or improve their performance, and that what counts is how they are used. As part of their training, teachers should join networks and create learning circles at the school and/or province level.
2. Besides being provided with training, teachers should be made aware of both the benefts and challenges of iPads in education, particularly in terms of class management. Our study revealed that the better teachers do not remain in front of the class, but instead circulate among the students. The results also showed that the better teachers, even though they get their students to use the iPad regularly, ask them to put them away at times in order to get their full attention. Of course, there are no foolproof classroom management strategies for this new teaching and learning environment, but these two suggestions immediately arise from the results of this study.
3. Student training and accountability. In line with the main challenge for teachers, which was the distraction that iPads in class can cause, it would be critical to implement various strategies to train the students in how to get full use out of their iPad and to ensure accountability, in and outside of class. A chart or use code should be set up so that both students and teachers could participate in developing guidelines. The students should rapidly be shown the possibilities for learning with this tool. A particularly important step for any school that initiates similar programs would be to promote responsible use of the touchpad by teaching about digital citizenship. For instance, the results of this study suggest that ways must be found to foster suitable behaviors without constraining educators from monitoring the students’ use of the iPads. However, this might be wishful thinking at schools where teachers are responsible for hundreds of students each.
4. Get students to read books on their iPads. Our results clearly show that too few students read books on their iPads, even though this is one of the fagship functions. It appears critical to promote reading on the touchpad, and to rekindle students’ interest in reading in general via the touchpad.
5. Use iPads for learning to write. Education stakeholders should be aware—and this is backed by clear evidence—that the iPad is not yet an ideal tool for learning how to write. Knowing this drawback, it might be easier to set up more targeted learning activities to help ofset this shortcoming.
6. Textbooks should be suitable and accessible at all times. Our results clearly show that certain textbooks are more suitable than others. First, textbooks should be accessible at all times. In addition, the activities they contain should be interactive and they should appeal to the students.
7. Schools that undertake similar initiatives should make an efort to raise parental awareness of not only the many potential benefts of touchpads at school—which seems to have occurred already—but also the challenges involved in certain uses of the iPad. This awareness raising of potential challenges does not appear to be current practice in the schools. Even though the benefts largely outweigh the challenges, it would be critical to set the parents straight so that they could cope better with problems as they arise.
8. Designers of educational applications could take into account some of the clearly identifed needs in this study when they develop applications. For example, corrections could be suggested as students write their texts, as do many computer word processing programs.
9. It would be important to conduct studies on experimental programs implementing iPads in schools, not only to advance the understanding of the benefts, but also, and above all, to help overcome the stumbling blocks for students, teachers, and all other education stakeholders involved in these projects.
10. Finally, we must encourage government agencies and teacher training educators to provide current and future teachers with a coherent and accurate vision of how mobile technologies such as the iPad can contribute to the school’s mission: to provide instruction, socialize and provide qualifcations. Our teachers of the future must be shown how these technologies can be integrated into training programs, and how they can play a role in achieving learning and competency objectives

Para más información os recomiendo el informe: The iPad in education: uses, benefits and challenges

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