Study Finds Benefits in Use of iPad as an Educational Tool

Study Finds Benefits in Use of iPad as an Educational Tool

by K. WALSH on JULY 8, 2012

Thanks to Simon Thomas of 9ine Consulting, who reached out last week to share this exciting report. 9ine Consulting worked with NAACE (a.k.a. “the ICT Association”) to produce this study. The study looks at the use of iPads at the Longfield Academy, where a large scale 1 to 1 iPad program was implemented last year. A brief overview of this groundbreaking study is provided below.

Some Background

Longfield Academy in Kent, England is a recently built school covering years 7 through 13 (ages 11 to 18). At Longfield, they strive to provide a cutting edge learning experience incorporating a high level of technology integration in the curriculum. Over 800 students (the vast majority of students at the Academy) had or were issued iPads, across the full spectrum of grade levels (although not everyone had one, apparently a small percentage of students used other devices).

Click here to access the full report:

The implementation was driven by an iLearning Group led by the school’s Principal and comprised of a group with “a range of responsibilities, experience and confidence [with the technology]”. Professional development was provided at the start of the program and on an ongoing basis.

The full study report can be found here. The report offers many details, some graphically illustrated, about the breakout of student and teacher uses of the tablets.

Findings & Facts

The report’s Executive Summary concludes, “The outcomes at Longfield clearly demonstrate the value of the iPad as an educational tool”. Among the key findings noted in the Executive Summary:

  • The overwhelming majority of teachers regularly use the iPads in their teaching
  • There is a high demand from the students for iPad use to be extended further
  • Teachers have identified significant benefits for their workload and have also identified cost savings
  • Students are more motivated when using iPads
  • The quality and standard of pupil work and progress is rising
  • Appropriate use of Apps aids learning

The summary also note that technical issues do arise, but are easily dealt with, and that effective project management was critical to the success of the effort.

Below are a couple of slides that shed light on how the iPads where being utilized in the academic setting. There are many more slides in the report, examining usage from various angles. English, Math, and Science were the subject areas in which students were most likely to use the devices; and online research, mind mapping, and creating presentations where the most common academic activities undertaken.

Longfield Academy iPad Study Figure5

Longfield Academy iPad Study Figure 7

The study used surveys to assess the impact of iPad use on motivation, quality of work, achievement, collaboration, and other factors. Among the findings:

  • 77% of faculty respondents felt that student achievement appeared to have risen since the introduction of the iPad
  • 73% of students and 67% of staff felt that the iPad helped students improve the quality of their work
  • 69% of students that completed the survey felt that using the iPad was motivating and that they worked better with it than without it
  • 60% of faculty thought that students were more motivated by lessons that incorporate the iPad than those that did not

The following graph illustrates staff perceptions about the usefulness of teaching with iPad Apps:

Longfield Academy iPad Study Figure 26

Students Want More

Overwhelmingly, students wanted to make more use of their iPads and indicated a variety of activities that they felt should be further incorporated into their academic programs, including:

  • Photography editing and animations
  • Making videos/movies
  • Word games to help teach spelling
  • Use of the iPad in place of pen and paper
  • More writing assignments on the iPad
  • Taking tests on the tablet
  • Replacing text books with ebooks
  • Designing games
  • More science Apps


The study report concluded that there was a “significant and very positive impact on learning and teaching which, in time, should be reflected in achievement and attainment, thanks to both pedagogical changes and new ways of learning engendered by the ‘any time anywhere’ access to information and learning tools.”

Thanks again to Simon Thomas for sharing this exciting report (Simon can be found on Twitter @thomas9ine). There’s a lot more detail in the full report, so click on over and dig in! Wouldn’t it be nice to see a follow up report a year or two out to try and assess the impact on achievement over the longer term? What do you think?


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