Malahide Portmarnock Educate Together Secondary School
Bachelor of Business Studies, Trinity College Dublin
Diploma in Software Engineering, SOLAS
Diploma in Digital Marketing, Irish Times Training
Professional Master of Education (PME) in Post-Primary Education
A Case Study Investigating the Impact of One-to-One iPad Use on Teaching and Learning in an Irish Post-Primary School
Education Research Papers Volume 4
The impact of iPads in an educational setting is a new phenomenon and, as such, educators have yet to understand their long-term implications. This case study investigates the impact of one-to-one iPads in a secondary school in Ireland, which was an early adopter of them in 2012. The research used a mixed methods approach in the form of an online survey (n=100) and qualitative interviews (n=2). The research found that while the majority of teachers surveyed believe that the use of iPads has had a positive influence on student engagement and understanding, they also pose a major distraction to students in class. Almost all of the teachers surveyed believed that they would benefit from further iPad training.
Genevieve Taylor is a qualified post-primary school teacher and a graduate of Hibernia College, where she completed the Professional Master of Education (PME) in Post-Primary Education. She also holds a Bachelor of Business Studies Honours degree from Trinity College, a Diploma in Software Engineering, and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from Irish Times Training. She has worked in various fields including software engineering and digital marketing. She decided to complete her teacher training when she found great enjoyment in thinking up creative ways to help her children with their homework.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and what motivated you to undertake this research?
The recent media hype in Ireland over the question of whether iPads are harming or improving students’ learning outcomes in schools has left many parents confused and worried about their children’s education. The decision by one school in Ireland to replace textbooks with iPad-only e-books led to protests from parents claiming their children’s education had been impaired by an over-reliance on digital technology since the iPad policy in the school was introduced. As a parent of two children about to start post-primary school, I wanted to establish if the recent debate in the media was justified or if it was based on anecdotal evidence. In short, I wanted to discover what actual empirical research was available, and what it could tell me about the impact of iPads on the learning environment.
What impact has it had on your practice?
My research has had a profound impact on my practice, and I personally have implemented all the recommendations made in my thesis. While my students can use their e-books in school, I strongly encourage them to use real books for study at home as my research indicates that this improved students’ comprehension. In my classes, students must always physically handwrite their notes as well as answers to homework into a copy. This is because physically writing and learning have been shown to be linked and can improve student learning outcomes by as much as two grade levels. A common mantra in my class is ‘iPads face down!’. I have found that this prevents students from becoming distracted by iPad notifications, allows them to be more present in my classes, and leads to many a fun and spirited debate on the learning material in question, rather than students gazing blankly at a screen.
How important do you feel research will be in your future practice?
I really enjoyed my research and, as an educator, believe that continual learning and discovery are essential to good teaching practice.