Apple's iPad helps to improve kindergarten literacy in Maine

by Doug Drinkwater

February 20 2012

A study conducted at a school district in Auburn, Maine has found that Apple's iPad can be used to help improve kindergartner literacy scores.

The research, first reported by The Loop, studied a school district in Auburn, Maine, which was provided by 16 iPads to a classroom of 16 kindergarten students over a nine-week period. A total of 266 students were given a literacy test before this period.

During the trial, 129 students were taught to read and write using an iPad, while the remaining 137 were taught the 'old fashioned' way, using pen and paper. The school district found that, in every single literacy test, students using the iPad outperformed those who did not use the tablet, and by a significant margin.

“We are seeing high levels of student motivation, engagement and learning in the iPad classrooms,” said East Auburn Community School principal, Sue Dorris. “The apps, which teach and reinforce fundamental literacy concepts and skills, are engaging, interactive and provide children with immediate feedback. What’s more, teachers can customize apps to match the instructional needs of each child, so students are able to learn successfully at their own level and pace.”

Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, a school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, has revealed its initial findings from its own iPad pilot program. Sherwood Middle School rolled-out 53 iPads to students and teachers from 1st December last year.

Teachers at the school say that the iPad has allowed them to maximise the time spent on teaching the lesson, rather than distributing materials, with Evernote often is use to save notes and projects across multiple devices. Evernote is also being used so that students can access and submit assignments.

The teachers say that they and the students rely on around ten apps in all, including Apple’s Keynote and ShowMe – an interactive whiteboard app. The teachers add that there have been few behavioural problems with the tablet, with the odd occasion relating to students forgetting to bring their tablets to school, or emailing friends during class. Of the 53 tablets handed out, three have been damaged.

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