Classroom Tech Across The Pond

Scotland is looking into how technology can benefit students in the classroom.

Many schools and school districts in the United States have started implementing iPads in classrooms, and the same phenomenon is occurring on the other side of the Atlantic.

The Press Association reported that Education Scotland is starting research into how the classroom computer and mobile devices are being used and how they can be implemented on a larger basis. The governmental body will start looking at how classroom computing schemes are working across the country before bringing recommendations to the education secretary, Michael Russell, the news source said.

“The range of mobile devices that are now available and the promise of what they can bring to teaching and learning is very exciting and something that must be embraced. There are a number of pilots already under way around the country, including the use of iPads here at Sciennes,” Russell said in a speech at Sciennes primary, a school in Edinburgh. “I have asked Education Scotland for recommendations on how we can realize the benefits of mobile technology for all learners in Scotland, including ensuring how we get the best possible value for our schools, and whether national guidance is needed for the sector.”

Some of this ground may have already been covered by Pepperdine University, as the California school started looking into the iPad’s potential in classrooms back in 2010. The researchers looked at technology use and the engagement of two groups of students taking the same course. The research said teachers must give the iPad a purpose for students, as it does not have a reputation like laptops or the classroom computer did, which were seen as tool for boosting productivity – possibly because they were migrating from the business world into people’s everyday lives. The iPad, on the other hand, may be making the transition in reverse. What started out as a fun device perfect for watching movies in airports is now being seen as a powerful tool for education.

“The research team found that purchasing productivity apps such as Pages and Numbers are not helpful to most students until a faculty member encourages or guides the use of these apps, thereby turning them into learning tools,” stated the research. “Gaming apps, such as Hotel Tycoon, have the ability to be learning tools from the start, but the learning must be informed by classroom instruction and reflected upon by the student after the game is used.”

In the class where students were left to fend for themselves on how to use the iPad and apps, one student reported feeling “confused much of the time” due to having to figure out how to use the apps independently.

What do you think of the way iPads can be used in the classroom? Is there a surefire way to help students with technology in the classroom? Let us know your thoughts!

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.