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iPad Report Launched

Digital technology can help improve numeracy, literacy and communication skills. In a new report published on 24 May by researchers at Stranmillis University College, it has been found that the use of portable devices such as iPads and other tablets in the classroom can have a positive impact on the development of young children’s literacy, numeracy and communication skills.

“Digital technology, especially portable devices, is becoming an everyday part of young people’s lives,” said Dr Colette Gray, Principal Investigator on the project.  “Many of our schools have already recognised the potential of iPads and other tablets and have integrated them into their classroom practices. The primary objective of this study was to assess the impact such devices have on children’s learning in the Early Years and Foundation Stage of education, particularly in relation to literacy and numeracy.”

“The study’s findings showed that, in the five participating schools, all of which were located in catchment areas of high social deprivation and academic under-achievement, the introduction of digital technology has had a positive impact on the development of pupil literacy and numeracy skills. And, contrary to initial expectations, principals and teachers also reported that their use had enhanced children’s communication skills, acting as a stimulus for peer to peer and pupil to teacher discussion.”

“In addition to the positive impact on literacy and numeracy, a number of other key benefits also emerged from this study:

• children’s confidence and ownership of the learning process are enhanced
• children’s social and citizenship skills are developed
• children’s creativity and technical skills are improved
• children’s fine motor skills are reinforced
• teachers’ motivation and enthusiasm are positively impacted.”

“Digital technology, however, is not a stand-alone solution and complements existing teaching approaches in numeracy and literacy rather than replacing them. New digital tools offer the potential to enhance traditional approaches to children’s learning in an engaging and exciting way – something which was clearly shown in the findings of this study where, for example, boys appear to be more enthused when using digital technology, particularly when producing written work.”

Commenting on the study, Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship at Stranmillis, said, “At Stranmillis, our ultimate aim is to improve the lives of every child and young person in Northern Ireland. Our ongoing research programmes are central to ensuring that our educational system is leading the way in innovative professional practice and delivering measurable impacts.”

“To maximise the potential of any new technology or approach to learning, however, it is essential that we continue to build on our existing strong programme of Continuing Professional Development including Master’s to ensure that we are equipping our teachers with the necessary skills to enable them to fully and effectively utilise these and other exciting new tools.”

The full report can be downloaded from the Stranmillis website here: http://www.stran.ac.uk/media/media,756133,en.pdf

For further information please contact Graeme Watson (email: g.watson@stran.ac.uk / tel: 028 90 384 468) or Louise O’Sullivan (email: l.osullivan@stran.ac.uk / tel: 028 90 384 327).

 

 

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