Engaging Primary School Students in Mathematics: Can iPads Make a Difference?


Research on the impact of the integration of technologies such as iPads on primary students’ attitudes and engagement in mathematics is limited. Further, there have been claims that teachers’ pedagogical choices can strongly influence the effectiveness of iPads for engaging students in mathematics. This paper presents an investigation of the influence of teaching and learning mathematics with iPads on students’ attitudes and engagement in mathematics. The participants in this study were students in a large urban primary school, implementing an iPad program for teaching and learning across the curriculum. Surveys with five-point Likert-type items were used to measure students’ attitudes to mathematics. Students from Years 2 to 6 completed the survey at the beginning and end of two consecutive school years. Survey results suggested that iPad use in mathematics has the potential to impact positively on students’ attitudes to mathematics. At the end of the second year of the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with teachers and students. The interview responses confirmed that iPads had a positive influence on students’ engagement and attitudes to mathematics, and that the pedagogical approaches utilised by teachers for embedding iPads in their mathematics lessons contributed positively to these outcomes.

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The author would like to thanks the teachers and students who participated in this study and Dr. Geoff Hilton for his contribution and helpful comments on drafts of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Annette Hilton.

Appendix. Factor Analysis for the Maths and Me Surveys

Appendix. Factor Analysis for the Maths and Me Surveys

Table 9 Factor analysis for 2014 pre- and post-surveys
Table 10 Factor analysis for 2015 pre- and post-surveys

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Hilton, A. Engaging Primary School Students in Mathematics: Can iPads Make a Difference?. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 16, 145–165 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-016-9771-5

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  • Primary school mathematics
  • iPads in mathematics
  • Engagement
  • Attitudes to mathematics