A recent study on the use of mobile learning in Early Childhood Education has revealed some key findings and recommendations. The pilot project titled “Developing the use of portable devices in early years learning” examined the long term use of iPads in Primary schools in Northern Ireland.
It assessed the use of iPads in the Early Years and Foundation Stage of learning and the key findings focused on:
- Impact on literacy and numeracy;
- Impact on teacher’s professional learning;
- Impact on leadership and management and;
- Impact on parental involvement.
Amongst these findings were signs of positive use with iPads such as:
- Belief that iPads have had a positive impact on the development of literacy and numeracy;
- Enhanced communication skills;
- That iPads enhances numeracy skills in a more engaging and exciting way than traditional practices;
- Digital technology compliments existing teaching practices;
- Open-ended apps provides students with a range of literacy and numeracy activities;
- Children view the use of iPads as a play toy and;
- There was evidence of a range of competency and creativity in the use of digital technologies.
In terms of teacher professional development it found that:
- The use of iPads has had positive impact on teacher’s motivation and enthusiasm;
- Teachers were initially nervous about using digital technology and;
- Teachers were continuing to review their practice to understand where digital technology can enhance learning.
Based on these findings some of the recommendations included the following:
- It is important that teachers closely monitor the choice of app and level of difficulty;
- There is a need for school leaders to plan for specific high-quality ongoing training for all teachers in effective pedagogical strategies in digital technologies and;
- A redefinition of the ICT coordinator’s role is needed to ensure that portable devices deliver maximum benefits.
To view this report click here.