Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Exploring young students’ learning experiences with the iPad: a comparative study in Hong Kong international primary schools

  • Long paper
  • Published:
Universal Access in the Information Society Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

In recent years, the popularity and capabilities of the iPad®, Apple’s tablet computer, have prompted educational technology advocates and policy makers to evaluate its potential in classrooms. However, there have been few studies examining the tangible user interface (TUI, in which the user manipulates the touchscreen of the device with their fingers), one of the most significant features of the iPad in comparison to previous mobile devices. Therefore, in this paper, the research team examined this interface specifically for its potential in terms of usability with input interaction for young learners. A case study was conducted at three international schools in Hong Kong to explore the impact of the iPad’s TUI on the student learning experience. A mixed-method approach was taken, and 13 observations and 10 interviews were conducted to collect data. With statistical analyses, the amount of students seeking learning support behavior (ASSLS) at the schools employing iPads was compared with that at the school using traditional laptops. Evidence emerged to support the assumption that the TUI on the iPad may contribute to reducing the ASSLS as well as enhancing student engagement and collaboration in class. Implications of the findings in terms of usability, engagement, interaction, practice, and future research are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/.

  2. http://www.apple.com/ipad/smart-cover/.

References

  1. Allen, R.: Can mobile devices transform education? Educ. update 53(2). http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/feb11/vol53/num02/Can-Mobile-Devices-Transform-Education%C2%A2.aspx (2011). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  2. Blundell, C.: How a classroom of iPads changed my approach to learning. Edudemic. http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-ipads-changed-approach-learning/ (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  3. Christudason, A.: Peer learning. Successful learning 37. http://www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/success/sl37.htm (2003). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  4. Connell, M.: Why a touchscreen (tablet or iPad) is better than a mouse and keyboard for young learners. NativeBrain http://www.nativebrain.com/2012/12/why-use-an-ipad-for-early-learning-when-a-computer-will-do/ (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  5. van Dam, A.: Post-WIMP user interfaces. Commun. ACM 40(2), 63–67 (1997)

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  6. Education bureau direct subsidy scheme. http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/edu-system/primary-secondary/applicable-to-primary-secondary/direct-subsidy-scheme/index.html (2013). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  7. Galanouli, D., McNair, V.: Students’ perceptions of ICT-related support in teaching placements. J. Comput. Assist. Learn. 17(4), 396–408 (2001)

    Article  MATH  Google Scholar 

  8. Graham, J.: Apple sells 3 million new iPads in 3 days. USA Today Mar, 19. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-03-19/apple-ipad-sales/53655716/1 (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  9. Hutchins, E.L., Hollan, J.D., Norman, D.A.: Direct manipulation interfaces. Hum. Comput. Interact. 1(4), 311–338 (1985)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Jacob, R.J.K.: A specification language for direct-manipulation user interfaces. ACM Trans. Gr. 5(4), 283–317 (1986)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Johnson, D., Johnson, R.: Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research. Interaction Book Company, Edina (1989)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Johnson, D., Johnson, R., Holubec, E.: Cooperative Learning in the Classroom. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria (1994)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Johnson, L., Adams, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., Ludgate, H.: NMC horizon report: 2013 higher education. The New Media Consortium, Austin, Texas. http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-horizon-report-HE-DE.pdf (2013)

  14. Kieras, D., Meyer, D., Ballas, J.: Towards demystification of direct manipulation: cognitive modelling charts the gulf of execution. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York pp. 128–135. (2001)

  15. Kowloon True Light School Language Acquisition for the 21st Century Learners—Building a student centric experience through technology integrated instructional design and outcome. Project Summary. http://www.ktlms.edu.hk/data/doc/share-file/funded_projects/TrueLight_Outline_Eng_WEB.pdf (2011). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  16. Lai, K.W., Pratt, K.: Information and communication technology (ict) in secondary schools: the role of the computer coordinator. Br. J. Educ. Technol 35(4), 461–475 (2004)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Li, L.: Technology in Hong Kong schools. http://www.showme.com/blog/2011/09/technology-in-hong-kong-schools/ (2011). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  18. Lur, X.: Singapore schools get iPads, gaming consoles. Yahoo Singapore News Apr, 3. http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/fit-to-post-technology/singapore-schools-ipads-gaming-consoles-20110403-083711-833.html (2011). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  19. Malone, T.W., Lepper, M.R.: Making learning fun: a taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In: Snow, R.E., Farr, M.J. (eds.) Aptitude, Learning and Instruction III: Conative and Affective Process Analyses, pp. 223–253. L. Erlbaum Associates Inc., Hillsdale (1987)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Mann, H.B., Whitney, D.R.: On a test of whether one of two random variables is stochastically larger than the other. Ann. Math. Stat. 18, 50–60 (1947)

    Article  MathSciNet  MATH  Google Scholar 

  21. McClanahan, B., Williams, K., Kennedy, E., Tate, S.: A breakthrough for josh: how use of an ipad facilitated reading improvement. TechTrends 5(3), 20–28 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Meurant, R.C.: The iPad and EFL Digital Literacy. Signal Processing and Multimedia, pp. 224–234. Springer, Berlin (2010)

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  23. Nielsen, J.: Usability 101: Introduction to usability. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030825.html (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  24. Nugent, C., Davies, R. J., Donnelly, M., Hallberg, J., Hariz, M., Craig, D., Meiland, F., Moelaert, F., Bengtsson, J. E., Savenstedt, S., Mulvenna, M., Droes, R. M.: The development of personalised cognitive prosthetics. In: Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2008. EMBS 2008. 30th Annual International Conference of the IEEE, IEEE, pp. 787–790. (2008)

  25. Painter, S.R.: Issues in the observation and evaluation of technology integration in K12 Classrooms. J. Comput. Teach. Educ. 17(4), 21–25 (2001)

    MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  26. Pegrum, M., Oakley, G., Faulkner, R.: Schools going mobile: a study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in western Australian independent schools. Aust. J. Educ. Technol. 29(1), 66–81 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  27. Romeo, G., Edwards, S., McNamara, S., Walker, I., Ziguras, C.: Touching the screen: issues related to the use of touchscreen technology in early childhood education. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 34(3), 329–339 (2003)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Schweller, K.: Apes With Apps. IEEE Spectrum Jul. http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/apes-with-apps/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=070512 (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  29. Shneiderman, B.: Direct manipulation: a step beyond programming languages. Computer 16(8), 57–69 (1983)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Shneiderman, B.: The future of interactive systems and the emergence of direct manipulation. Proceedings of the NYU Symposium on User Interfaces on Human Factors and Interactive Computer Systems, pp. 1–28. Ablex Publishing Corp, Norwood (1984)

    Google Scholar 

  31. Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C.: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human–Computer Interaction, 5th edn. Pearson Higher Education, Boston (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  32. Sitdhisanguan, K., Chotikakamthorn, N., Dechaboon, A., Out, P.: Using tangible user interfaces in computer-based training systems for low-functioning autistic children. Personal Ubiquitous Comput 16(2), 143–155 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Stevens, C.: Designing for the iPad: Building Applications that Sell. Wiley, UK (2011)

    Google Scholar 

  34. Tasman-Jones, J.: School iPad revolution may go nationwide. Auckland Now May, 15. http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6919789/School-iPad-revolution-may-go-nationwide (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  35. Voyce I.: iPad—The rise of the naturalistic user interface. Voyce March, 11. http://www.voyce.com/index.php/2010/03/11/ipad-the-rise-of-the-naturalistic-user-interface/ (2010). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  36. Vygotsky, L.S.: Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978)

    Google Scholar 

  37. Ward, V.: School trials iPad exam. The Telegraph May, 25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9291172/School-trials-iPad-exam.html (2012). Retrieved 1 Oct 2013

  38. Welch, B.L.: The generalization of ‘student’s’ problem when several different population variances are involved. Biometrika 34(1/2), 28–35 (1947)

    Article  MathSciNet  MATH  Google Scholar 

  39. Wilcoxon, F.: Individual comparisons by ranking methods. Biom. Bull. 1(6), 80–83 (1945)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Xie, L., Antle, A.N., Motamedi, N.: Are tangibles more fun? Comparing children’s enjoyment and engagement using physical, graphical and tangible user interfaces. In: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, ACM, New York, NY, TEI’08, pp. 191–198. (2008)

  41. Zuckerman, O., Arida, S., Resnick, M.: Extending tangible interfaces for education: digital montessori-inspired manipulatives. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York, NY, CHI’05, pp. 859–868. (2005)

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to specially thank Ms. Makky Fung from Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS), Mr. Clive Dawes from Kellett School, and Mr. Peter Woodhead from German Swiss International School (GSIS) for the help and the support in the coordination of the data collection. The participation of the teachers and students from CDNIS, Kellett, and GSIS in this study is greatly appreciated. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Mark King for the very helpful discussion and comments.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tianchong Wang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wang, T., Towey, D. & Jong, M.S.Y. Exploring young students’ learning experiences with the iPad: a comparative study in Hong Kong international primary schools. Univ Access Inf Soc 15, 359–367 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-014-0395-7

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-014-0395-7

Keywords

Navigation