New research published by ICT association Naace and the education sector’s trade association BESA (British Educational Suppliers Association) highlights a trend towards an evolving use of mobile devices in schools as teachers and pupils become more familiar with using tablets as part of their learning experiences.
The report, Evolving Pedagogies for mobile technology in schools, found that the application of the tablet technology changes through time, from creator/consumer activities in the early adopter phase to community activities at the later stage of implementation, with teachers increasing the use of the technology over time.
Catalysts for effective classroom use include, time for familiarisation and experimentation, regular training, being able to mirror the pupil device display on to a large screen or interactive whiteboard, reliable internet connectivity, and the availability of tools and apps designed for learning, rather than ‘focused solely on engagement or ‘edutainment.’
Evidence for the study was collected from teachers at the initial stages of tablet implementation compared with teachers who had used the technology for a year. Different tablet types were used by the teachers, but a similar range of learning activities were apparent despite these differences.
The study focused on pedagogies for effective teaching and learning, rather than including other uses of technology that might be more administrative or organisational.
In terms of the technology’s use, referring to research by Melhuish and Falloon (2010) and Clarke and Svanaes (2012), the study concludes that the use of mobile technologies can increase collaboration and communication in the classroom including peer feedback and facilitated engagement with learning.
While the scale of this project was very small, with teachers from five schools being surveyed in 2013, informal conversations with a range of Educationalists seems to indicate that the conclusions of the study are valid.
Jan Harrison, the report’s author and professional officer at NAACE, said, “Gaining an insight into how tablets are being used to enhance teaching and learning means that planning for implementations and professional development can make the most of the learning opportunities that these devices have the potential to enable.”
Caroline Wright, director, BESA comments, “As the adoption of mobile technology in schools increases, it is important to understand the factors that facilitate learning to ensure their success. While not conclusive, when compared to other studies it appears that inclusive tools designed tomanage classroom use, the availability of appropriate learning resources along with initial training and adequate time for familiarisation are vital.”
BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association representing over 300 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and digital-content related services to the education market.
With 80 years of experience, BESA offers unparalleled support, research, events and advice on both UK and International markets, and the future of the education supplies industry. BESA is focused on promoting and providing support and advice to their members, the industry and to schools.
BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure buyers of a high standard of quality in both product and customer service.
For more information, please visit www.besa.org.uk.
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