iPads in the Classroom: Are We Getting Results?

What are the success stories with iPads so far?
This fall the Auburn School District in Maine launched an ambitious experiment: Give 1-to-1 iPads to Kindergarten students and use them to augment the teaching of literacy skills.
They also set up a research experiment: Train the teachers and learning specialists district wide, engage them in thinking about their pedagogy and question which aspects of literacy learning could be strengthened, and then to explore how iPads could be used to meet their literacy goals.  Then they randomly selected 8 of the 16 classes to hold back and begin their iPad use in December.
 After district-wide testing was complete, they compared the control classes with the iPad classes. While of the 10 measures, only one was statistically significant, overall the literacy scores were higher for students in iPad classrooms. Read more here.
Mike Muir, the Multiple Pathways leader for Auburn schools, reports that the Auburn Kindergarten teachers have clear ideas about why they think the results are positive:
"We asked our kindergarten teachers that question. Anyone walking by one of the classrooms can certainly see that student engagement and motivation is up when using the iPads. But our kindergarten teachers teased it out further. Because they are engaged, students are practicing longer. They are getting immediate feedback, so they are practicing better. Because we correlate our apps to our curriculum, they are practicing the right stuff. Because we select apps that won’t let students do things just any way, we know the students are practicing the right way. Because they are engaged, teachers are more free to work one on one with the students who need extra support at that moment."
A survey I conducted among independent schools also indicates success in the following areas:
Improvement reported in literacy areas including: making learning visible - expressing thoughts and understanding in new ways, Writing compositions, digital storytelling, and, for kindergarten classes - handwriting.

Improvement reported in math including: concepts underlying addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, logical problem solving, patterns and puzzles, spatial reasoning, and making learning visible - expressing thoughts and understanding in new ways.

Other survey comments:

High School:
Math teachers are saying that the ability for students to visualize and manipulate data on the iPad is making them ask questions she's never heard before.

What I hear from teachers across disciplines is that the immediacy of access to information, data, video, text (not to mention their own organizational productivity information) makes the iPad valuable. Note taking is still not quite there.

Middle School:
"Great way to drill language learning. As a teacher, I can offer different and fun ways to master FL.
Great way to help students become independent learners."

"This is my second year with IPads in my classroom. Although our school has a one to one program, I am still using the IPads very frequently. I am in the process of creating a practice IBook to reinforce grammar. Exciting!

K-8 program:
"As the device and apps evolve, we will evolve in the way we use it. We currently have no plans to have a 1:1 program as we are focused on using the iPads to foster and facilitate more small group interaction particularly in our lower schools classrooms."
Kindergarten Focus Groups
I asked Kindergarteners from both pilot classes to share their thoughts and experiences with iPads. Here is a brief example of responses.

Kindergarten Focus Groups

App-specific research is also being done.
Motion Math engaged in a research study to ask the following questions about their fraction app which uses the kinesthetic aspect of the
These were the results in nutshell:
Significant increases in test scores
The results of the study showed that participants’ fractions test scores improved an average of over 15% after playing Motion Math for 20 minutes daily over a five-day period, representing a significant increase compared to a control group.
Of course, studies such as these are instigated by the company and therefore should be carefully scrutinized. For more information, read this article.


Subpages (1): Keys to Success
Jennifer Voorhees,
Feb 24, 2012, 12:43 PM