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Tablet use in primary education: Adoption hurdles and attitude determinants

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In the Netherlands, six primary schools recently participated in a pilot program, creating an educational environment in which children use a tablet PC. In these six schools, two studies are conducted. The first study highlights the process by which primary schools adopted tablet PCs by means of interviews based on diffusion of innovation theory. All stages are discussed: Knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. Two tablet systems are considered: closed and open systems. In the second study, a questionnaire was administered among primary school children in the pilot schools. Factors that affected the general attitude towards tablet PCs are perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, interest in the task and independence. Social influence and prior experience with tablets did not affect the overall attitude. The results of both studies provide several recommendations on how tablet PCs can contribute to educational improvements.
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Tablet use in primary education: Adoption hurdles
and attitude determinants
Alexander J. A. M. van Deursen &
Somaya ben Allouch &Laura P. Ruijter
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
Abstract In the Netherlands, six primary schools recently participated in a pilot
program, creating an educational environment in which children use a tablet PC. In
these six schools, two studies are conducted. The first study highlights the process by
which primary schools adopted tablet PCs by means of interviews based on diffusion of
innovation theory. All stages are discussed: Knowledge, persuasion, decision, imple-
mentation, and confirmation. Two tablet systems are considered: closed and open
systems. In the second study, a questionnaire was administered among primary school
children in the pilot schools. Factors that affected the general attitude towards tablet
PCs are perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, interest in the task and indepen-
dence. Social influence and prior experience with tablets did not affect the overall
attitude. The results of both studies provide several recommendations on how tablet
PCs can contribute to educational improvements.
Keywords Primary education .Tabl et .Handheld .Computer .Adoption .Acceptance
1 Introduction
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) increasingly contribute to effi-
cient, effective and more compelling teaching (Brummel and Amerongen 2011). In
most developed countries, schools have incorporated computer use in their curricula.
Although this has not yet fully reached the heart of the debate in all educational
programs, new technologies empower learners and contribute to learning itself
(Buckingham 2007). With the popularity of tablet computers at home, schools face
the decision of using the tablet PC rather than textbooks and exercise books for
education. The common objective of schools for using the tablet PC in education is
preparing children for work and life in the 21st century (Clarke, Svanaes, Zimmermann
Educ Inf Technol
DOI 10.1007/s10639-014-9363-3
A. J. A. M. van Deursen (*):S. ben Allouch :L. P. Ruijter
Department of Media, Communication and Organization, University of Twente, PO Box 217,
7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
e-mail: a.j.a.m.vandeursen@utwente.nl
et al. 2013). In the Netherlands, six primary schools recently participated in a pilot
program, creating an educational environment in which children use a tablet PC rather
than textbooks and exercise books. The six schools were one of the earliest adopters of
tablets as an educational tool in the classroom in the Netherlands. The schools
participating in the pilot program use one of two different tablet systems: an open
system (like iPad) or a closed system. The open system allows users to adjust the tablet
PC to their personal preferences (as those available for regular purposes). The tablets
have an Internet connection, and it is possible to install applications on them. The
closed tablet system has a fixed format with an educational software environment that
cannot be changed. Installing applications or entering the web is not possible.
The pilot program aims at helping schools in making the decision about whether to
start using tablet PCs. Schools must make several pedagogical and financial evalua-
tions. This research has two objectives both achieved in separate studies. First, we aim
to describe how teachers and directors have adopted the tablet PC for educational use in
primary schools. This information can help other schools decide whether to use tablet
PCs and inform developers regarding primary schoolsneeds. The first study highlights
the process by which primary schools have adopted tablet PCs in their organizational
setting by means of interviews that use diffusion of innovation theory as a guiding
framework.
The second objective is investigating primary school childrens attitudes towards
using tablet PCs in class. Schools have reported both negative and positive experiences
with using tablet PCs (Dichev, Dicheva, Agre et al. 2013). An important positive
experience is an increase in studentsmotivation to learn (Clarke and Svanaes 2012;
Iwayama, Akiyama, Tanaka, Tamura and Ishigaki 2004; Li, Pow, Wong et al. 2010;
Twining et al. 2005). Negative experiences mainly concern the tablet PCsfeatures,
such as short battery life, lack of screen brightness or the vulnerability of the tablet PC
(Ifenthaler and Schweinbenz 2013; Twining, Cook, Ralston et al. 2005). Knowing how
children evaluate the use of the tablet PC in class and which factors affect this
evaluation is important. In the second study, a questionnaire is administered among
primary school children in the pilot schools. The questionnaire departs from technology
acceptance perspectives, but is altered to account for educational settings in which
children aged around 8 operate. Although the TAM has been extensively tested and
validated among end-users in the business settings, research on its application in
education is limited (Teo, Wong and Chai 2008).
2 Theoretical background
2.1 Adoption of tablet PCs
AccordingtoRogers(2003), adoption of a technology occurs in five stages:
knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. Rogers
(2003) distinguishes between three types of knowledge that individuals attempt
to absorb: awareness-knowledge, which represents the existence of an innova-
tion; how-toknowledge, emphasizing how the innovation is used; and prin-
ciples-knowledge, concerning the functioning of the innovation. The persuasion
stage, in which individuals actively seek information and form a positive or
Educ Inf Technol
negative attitude, is followed by the decision to adopt or reject the innovation
(Rogers 2003). This decision is affected by several variables, such as support
and social influence (Kulviwat, Bruner and Al-Shuridah 2009). In the imple-
mentation stage, the innovation is put into practice. Problems can arise and
technical support might be required (Rogers 2003). After the implementation
stage, adoption or discontinuance are the options in the confirmation stage
(Rogers 2003). First, the individual seeks reinforcement for his or her decision,
but conflicting messages can reverse the decision (Rogers 2003). The individual
will seek supportive messages to prevent dissonance (Rogers 2003). However,
when dissonance does occur, an individual can stop using the innovation
(Rogers 2003). The final adoption decision is influenced by the perceived
characteristics of the innovation, such as compatibility, complexity, observabil-
ity, and trialability (Rogers 2003), and by adopter characteristics such as
organizational structure, strategy, and culture (Frambach and Schillewaert
2002). Furthermore, the social network and the supplier of the innovation
influence the adopters decision (Frambach and Schillewaert 2002;Lindand
Zmud 1991; Frambach, Barkema, Nooteboom et al. 1998). Suppliers, for
example, target to a specific group, communicate to create awareness and
influence perception, and reduce the financial or operational risks (Frambach
and Schillewaert 2002).
The first study considers all stages of the adoption process but has a strong focus on
the implementation phase because problems can arise at this point and the advantages
and disadvantages of using the tablet PC in classrooms become evident. Potential
advantages include an increase in studentsmotivation (Clarke and Svanaes 2012;Li
et al. 2010; Twining et al. 2005) and improvement in concentration, communication
skills, self-esteem, research, and recoding skills (Twining et al. 2005). Additionally, use
of the tablet PC is often natural and intuitive (Twining et al. 2005; Couse and Chen
2010). Couse and Chen (2010) found that children produce comparable quality writing
and drawing on tablet PCs and with pen and paper, although children prefer working
with tablet PCs. Children with reading difficulties received support from the iPad
(Gasparini and Culén 2012). Computer-mediated communication, such as using tablet
PC in class, also supports students who suffer from social and emotional shortcomings
and often lack support (Eden and Heiman 2011). Tablet PCs can be as effective as using
a regular computer for achieving academic goals when used by children with devel-
opmental disabilities (Arthanat and Curtin 2013). In addition to increased student
motivation, the tablet PC also motivates teachers (Twining et al. 2005), for example
by providing immediate feedback (Koile and Singer 2006).
In addition to positive experiences with the tablet PC, negative experiences
have also been reported. According to Hulls (2005), using a tablet PC does not
have a significant impact on the quality of the course that is offered, according to
course grades and teachersexperience. Use of the tablet PC might cause muscu-
loskeletal and visual discomfort, such as back pain and tired eyes (Sommerich,
Ward, Sikdar et al. 2007). Technical failures might create frustration and reduce
enthusiasm (Twining et al. 2005), such as in the case of limited battery time
(Sommerich et al. 2007). To support successful tablet PC adoption, technical and
operational issues (e.g. the security of the wireless communication) and providing
training should both be managed well (Garfield 2005).
Educ Inf Technol
2.2 Childrens attitudes towards tablet PCs in the classroom
Organizational innovations are not very useful when the intended target group
does not start using the innovation. Well-known theories that explain user
acceptance include the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis 1989)
and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)
(Venkatesh Morris, Davis and Davis 2003). Both theories have been applied
to studying the use of tablet PCs in education from various perspectives, such
as understanding how students use the tablet PC (El-Gayar and Moran 2007),
how the device changes the ecology of the classroom (Culén and Gasparini
2011), and how teachers respond to tablet PCs (Ifenthaler and Schweinbenz
2013). These studies have provided several predictors that might affect a childs
attitude towards using tablets in the classroom. The technology acceptance
model proposes perceived usefulness, or the degree to which a person believes
that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance, and
perceived ease of use, or the degree to which a person believes that using a
particular system would be effortless (Davis 1989). Both factors contribute to a
more positive attitude of the tablet PC or mobile device in general (Bruner and
Kumar 2005; El-Gayar and Moran 2007). Therefore, we hypothesize the
following:
H1 Perceived usefulness positively influences a childs attitude towards using the
tablet PC in the classroom.
H2 Perceived ease of use positively influences a childs attitude towards using the
tablet PC in the classroom.
Social influence is also known to affect attitudes towards tablet PC use (El-Gayar
and Moran 2006; Moran, Hawkes and El Gayar 2010; El-Gayar, Moran and Hawkes
2011). Lai, Wang, and Lei (2012) revealed that support from peers and teachers predict
actual usage. In addition, Garfield (2005) confirms that when managers support tablet
PC usage, the support available influences successful adoption of the tablet PC.
Therefore, we hypothesize that:
H3 Social influence positively influences a childs attitude towards using the tablet
PC in the classroom.
Applying the UTAUT model to tablet PCs, Moran et al. (2010) found that experi-
ence with a desktop computer affects the acceptance of the tablet PC. Other studies
confirm the importance of prior experience when using ICTs (Taylor and Todd 1995).
Furthermore, Sommerich et al. (2007)suggestthatapositiveattitudeisassociatedwith
the understanding of how to use the tablet PC. Children who already use tablet PCs at
home might have a different attitude towards tablet PCs in the classroom. These
children are familiar with the technology and therefore might feel more comfortable
with using tablet PCs in the classroom. Therefore, we hypothesize that:
H4 Experience with a tablet PC positively influences a childs attitude towards using
the tablet PC in the classroom.
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When children become familiar with the tablet PC, their independence
increases and they require less instruction and assistance (Couse and Chen
2010). Even when technical discomforts increase, independence persisted and
children were seldom frustrated (Couse and Chen 2010). Children who use
tablet PCs seem to feel confident and independent (Clarke and Svanaes 2012).
Children also perceive the PCs as motivating because using them is fun and
enables them to work more independently (Clarke and Svanaes 2012). We
hypothesize:
H5 Independence positively influences a childs attitude towards using the tablet PC
in the classroom.
Using tablet PCs improves childrens learning motivation (Iwayama et al.
2004;Lietal.2010). Tablet PC use increases focus, attention, and motivation,
which might also increase the childrens interest in the task for which they use
the tablet PC. Children between ages three and six using tablet PCs demon-
strated a higher interest in tasks, which further increased with age (Couse and
Chen 2010). This finding implies that the more positive the child is towards
using the tablet PC, the more interesting the task at hand will be to them. We
hypothesize:
H6 The interest in the task positively influences the attitude towards using the tablet
PC in the classroom.
The influence of the six independent variables proposed (i.e., perceived usefulness,
perceived ease of use, social influence, experience, independence, and interest in the
task) on a childs attitude towards using tablet PCs in the classroom is tested in general
as well as separately for open and closed systems. We question whether predictors
differ for both systems.
3 Study 1adoption of tablet PCs
3.1 Methodsample
Six primary schools in the Den Bosch area participated in a tablet PC pilot
program. All six schools are included in the study. The size of schools ranges
from 195 to 700 students. One class in each school participated. On average
23.8 (SD=1.6) children are in each class. Three schools used a closed tablet
system and three schools used an open tablet system. At the schools with a
closed tablet system, every child was provided a tablet PC. The schools using
an open tablet system have varying numbers of tablet PCs available, ranging
from one per two children to ten tablet PCs that circulate in class. In five
schools, we interviewed both the director and the teacher. In one school, we
only interviewed the teacher because no acting director was present. The
average age of the interviewees was 44.8 (SD=12.7) years. Four were male,
and seven were female.
Educ Inf Technol
3.2 Methodmeasures
A semi-structured interview was conducted with questions based on the five adoption
phases proposed in Rogers(2003) Diffusion of Innovation Theory. We asked ques-
tions about how participants communicated and gained understanding of the tablet PC
(knowledge phase), how participants formed an attitude and gained understanding
about possible advantages and disadvantages (persuasion phase), how they chose to
adopt or reject an innovation (decision phase), how they implemented the new devices
(implementation phase), and their plans for continuing the use of tablet PCs for
education (confirmation phase).
The interview also addressed perceived characteristics of the innovation and adopter
characteristics, such as the schools size, innovativeness, educational model, and
number of students. External variables such as the adopters environment relate to
the influence of others who have already adopted the tablet PC, whereas the social
network variable involves questions about the degree of information that is shared
between colleagues. Issues regarding the activities the supplier undertook to persuade
schools to adopt the tablet PC for education are also considered external variables.
3.3 Methodprocedure
Participating directors and teachers were selected and contacted by phone and e-mail.
They were told that the interview investigated the process of adopting and integrating
the tablet PC in the classroom. When they gave approval for the interview, an
appointment was made. The interviews were held in a two-week period and occurred
at the school. Permission to record the interview for data analysis purposes was granted.
The eleven interviews each lasted from 10 to 47 min. The interviewer used a topic list
so that each interviewee was asked similar questions. Follow-up probes were used to
ask for elaboration and clarify comments.
3.4 Methodanalysis
All recorded interviews were transcribed and coded. Analyses of the interviews was
performed in ATLAS.ti 7. For each phase in the adoption process, several codes were
extracted and added to the coding scheme. Appendix A contains a table displaying
codes, an explanation, and the number of occurrences for each phase.
3.5 Results
Findings of the conducted interviews are presented according to the five stages of
Rogers(2003) diffusion of innovation theory: (1) knowledge, (2) persuasion, (3)
decision, (4) implementation, and (5) confirmation.
3.5.1 The knowledge phase
Tab le 1summarizes the topics that emerged from questions regarding the knowledge
phase. In four schools, the school board or ICT department raised the directors
awareness of the tablet PCseducational potential. Teachers were then invited to
Educ Inf Technol
participate in a pilot study concerning tablet use in the classroom. In one school,
awareness developed from media outings and from several students who use tablet
PCs at home. As a result, participants in three schools had an increased interest in
staying abreast of current technology changes. Other aspects that triggered participants
interest included the potential increase in studentsmotivation when using tablet PCs,
the possibility of providing direct feedback to children with the tablet PC, decreased
administrative work, the availability of an additional educational tool in class, and the
ability to stimulate children to work with each other. Some interviewees mentioned
their belief that almost all children today are able to work with tablet PCs.
3.5.2 The persuasion phase
In the persuasion stage, people begin actively seeking information and develop
apositiveornegativeattitudetowardstabletPCs.Table2reveals that the six
schools used various information sources, including the organization that deliv-
ered the tablet PCs (three schools that later decided to use the closed tablet
system), articles in magazines or newspapers, and information found on the
Internet. The advantages emphasized in this situation included the possibility of
providing direct feedback to children and not having to correct assignments that
can automatically be corrected by software on the closed tablet system. The
replacement of textbooks and exercise books was also mentioned. Participants
in schools that later decided to adopt an open tablet system mentioned that the
Tab l e 1 The knowledge phase and number of schools (closed and open system) to which subcodes apply
Code Subcode Definition N total
(6)
N closed
(3)
N open
(3)
Awareness By board An umbrella organization for primary
schools
43 1
By director Head of the primary school 2 2 0
By media Television, magazines, radio, and
newspapers
10 1
By children The children at school 1 0 1
Interest Future Keeping abreast of times 3 1 2
Motivation The motivation of children will increase 2 2 0
Feedback Teachers gain the ability to provide
direct feedback to children
22 0
Tool Tablet PCs are considered an additional
tool
20 2
Cooperation Children will be able to cooperate 2 0 2
Lighten work Teachers will have less administrative
work
11 0
PC shortage School needs more computers 1 0 1
Replace_Book Instead of using textbooks and exercise
books, children will be able to do their
work on the tablet PC
10 1
User friendly Working with the tablet PC will be easy 1 0 1
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system is small and can be used individually or collaboratively. Respondents
most frequently expected the vulnerability of the tablet PC to be a potential
disadvantage. Respondents in two school were afraid that the use of tablet PCs
made it harder to respect individual needs of children. Physical and repetitive
stress injuries, distracting stimuli, andmanagingthefinancialaspectswerealso
mentioned as potential disadvantages.
3.5.3 The decision phase
Tab le 3lists the decisive factors for implementing the tablet PC in schools.
Respondents in two schools mentioned affordability. In two other schools, they
Tab l e 2 The persuasion phase and number of schools (closed and open system) to which subcodes apply
Code Subcode Definition N total
(6)
Nclosed
(3)
N open
(3)
Information
Sources
Supplier Tablet PC suppliers 3 3 0
Magazines Magazines, articles and newspapers 3 0 3
Internet The Internet 3 0 3
ICT department The schools ICT department 1 0 3
Social influence Information from others 1 0 1
Expected
advantages
Direct feedback Scores can instantly be returned
to students
33 0
Corrections Less correction work 2 2 0
User friendly Device is manageable and
user-friendly
20 2
No wires and small The tablet PC is wireless and small 1 0 1
Individual or
collaborative work
Work can be done individually
or collaboratively
10 1
No computers Computers are no longer needed 1 0 1
Replacing books Children no longer work with books 1 1 0
Position Teacher no longer stands with
back to the class
10 1
No advantages Participant could not think of any
advantages
11 0
Expected
disadvantages
Vulnerability Device is vulnerable in the hands
of children
31 2
Differentiation Accounting for individual needs is
more difficult
22 0
RSI Children practice less motoric
exercises
11 0
No Internet Closed tablet PCs lack Internet
connection
11 0
Finances The costs are high 1 1 0
Distraction Too many distracting possibilities 1 0 1
No disadvantages No initial disadvantages 2 1 1
Educ Inf Technol
were using older computers, which made the decision to adopt tablets easier,
particularly because tablets are cheaper than regular desk or laptop computers.
When deciding on the closed tablet system or the open tablet system, one
teachers mentioned that she feared losing control over childrenstabletuseon
the open system. Furthermore, it is mentioned that educational uses for open
systems are still in development, and course materials are still unstructured.
Three participants decided to start using the open system because they found
the closed system too bound to one method, making it a glorified answer
book.They also disliked the inability to differentiate between individual
children and the fact that societys open structure is not reflected in the closed
system. Children should learn how to use all available information. They
believed teachers and children should be stimulated to be creative and critical
of content, which is only marginally possible on a closed tablet system. The
final adoption decision was mainly made by directors and teachers. Parents
were largely left out.
Tab l e 3 The decision phase and number of schools (closed and open system) to which subcodes apply
Code Subcode Definition N total
(6)
N closed
(3)
N open
(3)
Deciding
factor
Affordability Using a tablet PC in class is affordable
because of the pilot
22 0
Replacement Replacing computers with tablet PCs 2 1 1
Addition Additional tool for educating children 2 0 2
The future Children should be prepared for future
society
10 1
Closed Control Teachers lose control in an open system 1 1 0
Replacement The closed system replaces traditional
work in books
11 0
Development Open systems are still in development 1 1 0
Structure Course materials are unstructured on
the open system
11 0
Purpose The open system lacks a clear educational
purpose
10 1
Open Answer book The closed system is considered nothing
more than an answer book
30 3
Society Tablet PCs should reflect society and
need an open structure
20 2
Financial School cannot afford the closed system 2 2 0
Creativity Teachers and children should be creative
and critical of content
10 1
Adaption Responding to the needs of individuals
is easier in an open system
10 1
Involvement Director Directors were involved 5 3 2
Teachers Teachers were involved 6 3 3
Parents Parents were involved 1 0 1
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3.5.4 The implementation phase
Results regarding the implementation phase are summarized in Table 4. The closed
tablet system was used for about an hour each day. It was used on a daily basis for math
in all three schools. In two schools, the closed system was also used daily for language
studies. It was used to replace textbooks and exercise books except for one school
where it provided teachers the ability to administer extra assignments after the regular
work was completed. The duration of open-system tablet use varied. Some teachers
used the open tablet system two or three times per week, and others used it for an hour
and a half daily. The open tablet system was used for math, grammar, and language
lessons, but also offered additional possibilities, such as history, geography, science, or
even drawing courses.
All six schools generally reported a positive attitude towards working with the tablet
PCs. Teachers using tablet PCs in their classrooms experienced noticeable advantages
and disadvantages. Two important advantages can be observed. The first is the in-
creased enthusiasm among the children working with the tablet PC.Secondly, children
who find it difficult to concentrate or have socio-emotional problems (for example a
minor form of autism) seem to work faster and have improved concentration, among
others because they do not have to switch between different textbooks. Two schools
working with the closed tablet system and one school working with an open system,
specifically noted reduced correction work as important advantage. Additional advan-
tages that users of the closed system experienced include the elimination of the need to
switch between textbook and exercise books, the ability for children to process more
information, and the ability of teachers to provide direct feedback. Parents can also see
how their child is scoring on various subjects. Participants using an open tablet system
specifically claim advantages of mobility. For example, the tablet PC can be taken
outside where children work on assignments. These teachers also mentioned the
potential to easily share information in class and between children. When children
work on a tablet PC together, they are more motivated and can learn from each other.
Experienced disadvantages at schools that used the closed system are limited storage
capacity and the fact that children need time to become familiar with the tablet PC by
means of finding the letters on the keyboard and dragging items. Furthermore, the
closed system cannot access the Internet. Children with dyslexia experience difficulties
regarding the size of the closed tablet PC, which makes remembering words and
finding the letters on the keyboard difficult for them. Participants working with the
closed tablet system also mention the vulnerability of the tablet PC. An issue that came
up regarding the open system tablet PC is the childrens posture. Children sometimes
complain about neck or back pain. For teachers, moving away from traditional ways of
working is sometimes scary. Having to make time to learn how to use the open tablet
PC in their educational curricula is considered a disadvantage. A more technical
problem concerning the open system is the fact that applications requiring Flash
software cannot be used (iPads).
3.5.5 The confirmation phase
In the final stage, participants can proceed using the tablet PC for educational purposes
or stop using it (see Table 5). With the exception of one participant, all respondents
Educ Inf Technol
Tab l e 4 The implementation phase and number of schools (closed and open system) to which subcodes apply
Code Subcode Definition N total
(6)
Nclosed
(3)
N open
(3)
Use Math The tablet PC is used daily for math 5 3 2
Grammar The tablet PC is used daily for grammar 4 3 1
Language The tablet PC is used daily for language study 3 2 1
History The tablet PC is used for history 1 0 1
Science The tablet PC is used for science 1 0 1
Drawing The tablet PC is used for drawing 2 0 2
Reading The tablet PC is used for reading comprehension 1 0 1
Extra The tablet PC is used after regular work 1 1 0
Evaluation Positive The experience of working with the tablet
PC is positive
63 3
Advantages Motivation Increase in student motivation 6 3 3
Improvement Children with socio-emotional problems
show improved results
63 3
Correction Less correction work 3 2 1
Process Children process more work 3 3 0
Feedback Direct feedback to children 3 3 0
Switching No switching between text and exercise book 2 2 0
Adaption Assignments based on prior scores 1 1 0
Parents Parents can follow childsprogress 1 1 0
Enthusiasm Enthusiastic teachers 1 1 0
Mobility T he tablet PC can be ta ken everywhere 1 1 0
Sharing Students can share study material
with each other
10 1
Playful Children learn in a playful way 1 0 1
Cooperation Children cooperate and learn from each other 1 0 1
Easy The tablet PC is easy to work with 1 0 1
Disadvan tages Storage Difficulties rega rding storage capacity 4 3 1
Keyboard Time required to become familiar
with touch keyboard
33 0
Sun When the sun shines, children cannot
read their tablet PC screens
21 1
No internet Tablet PCs cannot access the Internet 2 2 0
Less writing Children write less because of the tablet PC 2 2 0
Malfunction The tablet PC malfunctions 2 0 2
Charging Difficulties regarding charging 1 1 0
Dyslexia Children with dyslexia experience difficulties 1 1 0
Vulnerable Devices are vulnerable in the hands of children 1 1 0
Touch screen Difficulties with the touchscreensreaction 1 1 0
Flash Flash software is not supported 1 1 0
Conflict When children work in pairs with
one tablet PC, conflicts arise
10 1
Educ Inf Technol
seemed satisfied with their choice concerning the open or closed system. Only one
participant decided not to continue after the pilot. They used a closed system of which
they felt the costs did not outweigh the benefits.
4 Study 2childrens attitude towards using tablet PCs
4.1 Methodsample
The second study investigated which factors affect a childs attitude towards using the
tablet PC in the classroom. Now the children at the primary schools where teachers and
directors participated in the first study were questioned in a survey. A total of 139
children filled out the questionnaire (53 % female). The average age of participating
children is 8.4 (SD=1.0).
4.2 Methodmeasures
The questionnaire contained several items to measure the six independent variables and
one dependent variable. Demographic features such as gender and age were also
collected. Children aged around 8 experience major developments in their cognitive
and social maturation (see discussion). This makes exploring the readability and
comprehensibility of the survey essential. We conducted a pre-test among five children
at two schools. Based on the pre-tests, some items were adjusted so that they were
understandable for children approximately eight years old. The final items and con-
structs and the corresponding descriptives are summarized in Table 6. The first
construct in the survey is attitude towards using the tablet PC, measured with a four-
item scale proposed by Venkatesh et al. (2003). Perceived usefulness and Perceived
ease of use were both measured by a six-item scale adapted from Davis (1989). Social
Tab l e 5 The confirmation phase and number of schools (closed and open system) to which subcodes apply
Code Subcode Definition N total (6) N closed (3) N open (3)
Future Proceed Will continue to work with the tablet PC 5 2 3
Stop Stop using the tablet PC because closed
system is too expensive
11 0
Tab l e 4 (continued)
Code Subcode Definition N total
(6)
Nclosed
(3)
N open
(3)
Scary Teachers scared to use apps instead of the
textbook and exercise book
10 1
Time Adapting to new tool requires time 1 0 1
Posture Complaints about childs neck and back pain 1 0 1
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Tab l e 6 Descriptives for constructs and items for all children (N= 139), children who use the closed tablet
system (N=71) and children who use the open tablet system (N=68)
Overall Closed
system
Open
system
MSDMSDMSD
Attitude (α=.79) 4.4 0.7 4.5 0.8 4.4 0.7
Using the tablet PC is a good idea. 4.6 0.7 4.5 0.8 4.6 0.6
The tablet PC makes work more interesting. 4.1 1.2 4.2 1.1 3.9 1.3
Working with the tablet PC is fun. 4.7 0.7 4.6 0.9 4.8 0.5
I like working with the tablet PC. 4.5 0.9 4.4 1.0 4.5 0.8
Perceived usefulness (α=.86) 3.9 0.8 4.1 0.8 3.7 0.8
Using the tablet PC can enable me to accomplish tasks more quickly. 3.7 1.1 3.9 1.1 3.6 1.1
Using the tablet PC can improve my performance. 3.6 1.1 3.8 1.1 3.4 1.1
Using the tablet PC can make it easier to do my tasks. 4.3 1.0 4.5 0.9 4.2 1.0
Using the tablet PC in my job/school can increase my productivity. 4.0 1.1 4.3 1.0 3.7 1.2
Using the tablet PC can enhance my effectiveness. 3.4 1.1 3.5 1.1 3.3 1.1
I find the tablet PC useful in my job/school. 4.3 1.0 4.3 0.8 4.2 1.1
Perceived ease of use (α=.78) 4.2 0.6 4.0 0.6 4.4 0.5
Learning to use the tablet PC was easy for me. 4.4 0.8 4.3 0.9 4.4 0.7
I find it easy to get what I need from the tablet PC. 3.5 1.1 3.1 1.0 4.0 0.9
My interaction with the tablet PC is clear and understandable. 4.6 0.7 4.6 0.7 4.7 0.6
I find the tablet PC to be flexible to interact with. 4.2 0.9 3.9 0.9 4.5 0.7
It is easy for me to become skillful at using the tablet PC. 4.2 0.9 4.1 0.8 4.3 0.9
I find the tablet PC easy to use. 4.3 0.9 4.1 1.0 4.5 0.6
Social influence (α=.73) 3.5 0.7 3.7 0.6 3.2 0.8
I heard successful stories about using the tablet PC for learning from
classmates.
3.31.33.71.22.91.2
Peers share useful information regarding the tablet PC. 4.0 1.0 4.4 0.8 3.5 1.0
Peers share strategies for using the tablet PC for learning. 3.0 1.3 2.9 1.3 3.1 1.3
I have friends from whom to seek adviceon using the tablet PC for learning. 3.3 1.2 3.5 1.1 3.1 1.2
I have friends from whom to seek technical help. 4.0 1.1 4.4 0.8 3.7 1.2
My teachers often use the tablet PC for learning. 3.4 1.4 3.7 1.4 3.0 1.4
My teacher encourages using the tablet PC for learning. 3.3 1.2 3.7 1.1 3.0 1.2
Independence (α=.69) 3.8 0.9 3.9 0.9 3.7 1.0
When completing assignments on the tablet PC, do you need less help from
the teacher than when making assignments from the book?
3.91.23.81.23.91.2
Do you have fewer questions for the teacher when you complete
assignments on the tablet PC than when you complete assignments from
the book?
3.81.13.81.03.81.2
Do you complete more assignments with a tablet PC than in an exercise
book?
3.81.34.11.23.41.3
Interest task (α=.85) 3.1 0.9 3.4 0.9 2.8 0.8
I usually have fun doing schoolwork. 3.3 1.4 3.7 1.4 2.9 1.3
I usually enjoy learning at school. 3.5 1.3 3.9 1.3 3.1 1.2
I usually find school interesting. 3.2 1.3 3.5 1.3 3.0 1.3
Educ Inf Technol
influence was originally measured with an eight-item scale adapted from Lai et al.
(2012). We decided to remove one item of the original instrument, namely I often get
ideas from teachers on potential apps to use.Schools using the closed tablet system
have fixed apps on the tablet PC. Independence was conceptualized through three
survey items that measure to what degree children feel independent when using the
tablet PC compared to books. Interest in the task was measured with the intrinsic
satisfaction scale adapted from Duda and Nicholls (1992). This scale measures how
satisfied or bored children are with schoolwork. Finally, experience with the tablet PC
is conceptualized by asking if children have a tablet PC at home (no/yes), which was
confirmed by 68 % of the children. The internal consistency of the measures was above
aspiration level (α=>.70).
4.3 Methodprocedure
To increase participation, the surveys were distributed in classes during school time.
After a short introduction of the researcher, the survey was distributed to the children,
and they were allowed to ask questions when needed. The teachers read the survey out
loud and explained some of the items in more detail to account for the specific needs of
children aged around 8. After completing the survey, children were asked to check
whether all questions were answered.
5Results
Regression analysis was used to test the hypothesized relationships between indepen-
dent and dependent variables. First, we estimated regression coefficients for the overall
model (all children), followed by two separate analyses for children using the closed
and open tablet systems. From Table 4, we can conclude that attitudes towards the
tablet PC are determined by perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and indepen-
dence. Social influence, experience and interest in the task do not contribute to
explaining the variance in a childs attitude towards the tablet PC. Table 7also reveals
that separate analyses result in different predicting factors. Attitudes towards the closed
tablet system are predicted by perceived usefulness and independence. Predictors of
Tab l e 6 (continued)
Overall Closed
system
Open
system
MSDMSDMSD
I usually get involved in learning. 3.5 1.1 3.7 1.2 3.3 1.1
I usually find time flies in school. 3.3 1.4 3.4 1.4 3.2 1.4
I often daydream instead of thinking about schoolwork. 2.7 1.2 3.0 1.2 2.3 1.0
I am usually bored at school. 3.1 1.3 3.3 1.3 2.8 1.2
I usually wish school would end quickly. 2.3 1.4 2.7 1.5 2.0 1.1
Educ Inf Technol
attitudes towards the open tablet system are perceived ease of use and interest in the
task. Table 8summarizes the hypotheses.
6Discussion
6.1 Main findings
The first study aimed to discover the process by which primary schools adopt tablet
PCs for educational purposes. This process originated from the need to keep abreast of
changing technology and preparing children for the future. Although the interviews
were conducted among a small sample, the results provide several interesting strengths
and weaknesses of the process that the uptake of tablet systems follows. Note however,
that we do not make an explicit comparison between the two systems. The findings of
our study tell us something about the adoption and use of tablets in schools, and
provide valuable information to schools who are dealing with similar choices. Both
directorsand teachersmotivation to adopt tablet PCs in the classroom was triggered
by the potential benefits of using this technology. Most attractive were benefits related
to facilitating teaching, such as making it easier to provide instant feedback to children
Tab l e 7 Predictors of a childs attitude towards using tablet PCs in the classroom overall (N=139), using
closed tablet systems (N=71) and using open tablet systems (N=68)
Overall Closed system Open system
ββ β
Perceived usefulness .33*** .51*** .13
Perceived ease of use .26*** .02 .35**
Social influence .003 .11 .23
Experience .01 .02 .00
Independence .25** .31* .22
Interest in the task .02 .18 .20*
Adj. R
2
.48 .54 .49
Note. *p<.05; **p<.01; ***p<.001
Tab l e 8 Overview of hypotheses
Hypotheses Overall Closed system Open system
H1: Perceived usefulness Supported Supported Rejected
H2: Perceived ease of use Supported Rejected Supported
H3: Social influence Rejected Rejected Rejected
H4: Experience Rejected Rejected Rejected
H5: Independence Supported Supported Rejected
H6: Interest in the task Rejected Rejected Supported
Educ Inf Technol
and stimulating children to cooperate with each other. However, early in the adoption
process, several hesitations also surfaced. For example, some participants questioned
the durability of a tablet PC in the hands of children, or the required motor skills to use
tablet PCs for longer periods of time in class. Information about the tablet PCs
possibilities was sought in several places. Schools that eventually chose a closed tablet
system were primarily informed by the suppliers, who are known to influence the
probability of the presented innovation being adopted (Alshamaila, Papagiannidis and
Li 2013; Frambach, Barkema, Nooteboom et al. 1998). We do stress however that
schools should not rely solely on suppliers, although the system was evaluated posi-
tively. Use of the open tablet system has a large range of possibilities and was also
evaluated positively. Schools that implemented an open tablet system considered
several sources of information before deciding to participate in a pilot. A remarkable
finding is that parents were not asked for their opinions regarding use of tablet PCs in
class. Social influence also did not seem to matter, which might change after more
schools start adopting tablet PCs (Sneller 2007). The ability to participate in a pilot
project was a decisive reason to adopt tablets for participating schools because it was
financially attractive. Overall, decisions to adopt are made more quickly when the
innovation is first used on a trial basis (Rogers 2003).
Both teachers and directors were generally pleased with their experiences with
the tablet PC. Important advantages that directors and teachers noticed were an
increase in enthusiasm among children, which is consistent with the results of
previous studies (e.g., Clarke and Svanaes 2012;Iwayamaetal.2004;Li,etal.
2010;Mouza2005; Twining et al. 2005). Use of the tablet system improves a
childs active participation in class (Agostini, Biase and Loregian 2010). Increas-
ingly, text- and exercise books are considered outdated for children living in a
digital world. Increased motivational levels also seem to result in improved
concentration, which in turn improves the ability of children to keep up with
the rest of their classmates. Previous studies confirmed that computer-mediated
communication is an appropriate means to communicate with students who suffer
from social and emotional shortcomings (Clarke and Svanaes 2012; Eden and
Heiman 2011). Due to the use of the tablet PC, children are less distracted by
pencils, gum, books or other materials and seem to focus better on the assign-
ment at hand. An advantage of the closed system tablet is providing children
with direct feedback (see also Koile and Singer 2006) and providing teachers
with more time to help children and prepare lessons. Furthermore, children
process more work than they would without using the closed tablet PC. In
schools that used an open tablet system, it was revealed that children work
together more frequently. Furthermore, the teaching possibilities are limitless
because of the Internet connection and the ability to install additional applica-
tions. Limited functionality is the most important disadvantage of the closed
system. The closed tablet system lacked Internet access, which is a decisive
factor in user dissatisfaction with them, according to Fister and McCarthy
(2008). Sommerich et al. (2007) also mentioned dying batteries as an important
limitation, although this was not the case in this study. Furthermore, some
children using the open system complained about back and neck pain.
Sommerich et al. (2007) mention physical discomfort, including headaches or
shoulder, neck or back pain, and visual discomfort, such as tired eyes, as
Educ Inf Technol
important limitations. Adjusting desks, using ergonomic devices or separate
keyboards when using the tablet PC may ease some of these discomforts. In
any ways, the learning environment should be properly managed and facilitated
to realize the tablets potential. Henderson and Yeow (2012) furthermore stress
that schools need a plan for managing things like recharging batteries, applica-
tion deployment, backups, and protecting, repairing and replacing tablets as
needed.
Our study showed several advantages of both the closed and open tablet
systems. Although our interviews are based on a small sample, we feel comfort-
able in suggesting that suppliers might design a tablet PC that combines the best
of both systems. It seems that an ideal tablet PC includes the educational software
of the closed tablet system with the ability to extend functionality by installing
applications. Furthermore, publishers might start offering educational applications
in addition to the traditional text and exercise books. Such a technological shift
seems to satisfy educational needs of children, teachers and directors. The advan-
tages the tablet PC has over traditional educational material are promising. Pri-
mary school children are more motivated and children with social emotional
problems are better accounted for.
The second study was administered to determine which factors affect chil-
drens attitudes towards using tablet PCs in the classroom. Children aged
around 8 grow and develop rapidly, and increasingly have access to technology
as a learning tool (Couse and Chen 2010). Researchers and educators in the
field of early childhood education highlight the importance of the childrens
activeuseoftechnologyinmakingdecisions,inwritinganddrawing,andin
logical thinking to solve problems (Couse and Chen 2010;ISTE2007). Factors
that affected the general attitude towards tablet PCs are perceived usefulness,
perceived ease of use, and independence. El-Gayar and Moran (2007)con-
firmed the applicability of TAM on studentsacceptance of the tablet PC. If
necessary, childrens attitudes towards tablet PCs in the classroom can be
improved if policy makers or teachers could explain the diverse educational
possibilities. Perceived ease of use can be increased by preventing technical
problems such as storage problems or by adding Internet access to closed
systems. As suggested by Couse and Chen (2010), when children become more
familiar with the tablet PC, their independence increases, and they require less
assistance.
Although social influence is known to impact technology use (Fulk, Schmitz and
Steinfield 1990), we did not find a significant effect. A possible reason might be that
using the tablet PC in class is mandatory in this study. When using the tablet PC
voluntarily, social influence is much more significant than when tablet PC use is
required (Moran et al. 2010). Furthermore, children that used the open system often
worked in pairs. This way, potential effects of social influence might be neutralized,
although we did not find an effect for both systems.
The lack of significant influence from experience can be explained by the ease
of use of the tablet PC. It did not matter whether children already used a tablet at
home. Interviewed teachers claimed that children became familiar with the tablet
PCs very quickly and naturally. The tablet PC is perceived as an easy-to-use
device for educational purposes, making prior experience less decisive (Dündar
Educ Inf Technol
and Akçayır2014;El-Gayaretal.2011; Twining et al. 2005). Overall, interest in
the task also did not affect attitudes, possibly because tablet PCs themselves
increase a childs motivation to learn, despite the topic being taught (Clarke and
Svanaes 2012; Iwayama et al. 2004;Lietal.2010;Twiningetal.2005). Teachers
interviewed in the first study observed an increase in childrens enthusiasm for
learning when using the tablet PC.
6.1.1 Limitations and future research
This research contributes to the body of knowledge regarding the adoption and use of
the tablet PC for educational purposes. The decision to adopt a tablet PC involves
financial and pedagogical considerations. The results from this study suggest that
schools and children support the use of tablet PCs for education. However, the results
also suggest there is room for improvement. Both studies have some limitations that
should be accounted for in future studies. First, this research was conducted in six
primary schools that used the tablet PC in different ways, from considering the tablet
PC as an additional tool to replacing textbooks with tablet PCs. Furthermore, the
number of tablet PCs available in each class differed. Although such differences do
provide a good reflection of how the tablet PC is used by schools in general, future
studies might focus on specific situations in which the tablet PC flourishes best in the
classroom.
The second study used survey methodologies among children aged 8. Based on
studies conducted in the Netherlands, De Leeuw (2005) stressed that the age of 7 is a
major developmental point in the cognitive and social maturation of children, and that
from this age they can be surveyed directly in surveys simple both in question structure
and question wording (e.g., ambiguity and vagueness). Careful pretesting should
always be done to decide whether the questioning is understood, and an informed
parent or daily caretaker can serve as a proxy respondent and provide additional
information (De Leeuw (2005). Although we did our utmost best to adapt the phrasing
of the items to the specific age group, conducted pre-tests to make sure that the
questions were understandable for the intended age group, and provided additional
information and explanation by the teachers, we do stress that additional studies might
further strengthen the validity of our results. Especially since young respondents
between age 8 are far from a homogenous group, and differ in their cognitive
development, memory speed and emotional and social development (De Leeuw
2005). Ideally, questionnaires should be tailored to the cognitive and social maturity
of each child (De Leeuw 2005).
In the model to explain a childs attitude towards using a tablet PC in school, three
factors appeared significant, together explaining 47.3 % of the variance in a persons
attitude regarding the tablet PC for educational use. Future studies should investigate
additional factors that might affect childrens attitudes. For example, Bruner and Kumar
(2005) suggested fun as a positive determinant for attitude towards handheld devices.
Studying studentsneeds has also been proposed (Lai et al. 2012). Future studies
should add these factors to the model to gain a more comprehensive picture about a
childs attitude towards tablet PCs.
Finally, some findings in the second study require additional clarification. For
example, for open tablet systems, it appeared that interest in the task had a negative
Educ Inf Technol
influence on attitude. This finding suggests that when interest in schoolwork increases,
attitude towards using the open tablet PC decreases, which might indicate that children
prefer textbooks and exercise books and find an open system tablet PC distracting.
Under what circumstances would this effect appear?
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Η σχεδόν καθολική παρουσία της ψηφιακής τεχνολογίας στους τομείς της ανθρώπινης δραστηριότητας σε συνδυασμό με την κατεύθυνσή της σε ολοένα μεγαλύτερο εύρος χρηστών μέσω εργαλείων ολοένα αυξανόμενης υπολογιστικής ισχύος και αλληλεπιδραστικών δυνατοτήτων έχει δημιουργήσει νέες προκλήσεις ως προς τον ρόλο της σύγχρονης εκπαίδευσης, στρέφοντας το ενδιαφέρον σε θέματα ψηφιακού αλφαβητισμού και τεχνολογικής κατάρτισης τόσο των μαθητών όσο και των διδασκόντων. Μια ευρέως διαδεδομένη ψηφιακή τεχνολογία, και μάλιστα απευθυνόμενη σε μεγάλο ηλικιακό φάσμα, είναι αυτή των «έξυπνων» φορητών συσκευών τύπου tablet. Ο τρόπος ενσωμάτωσης εκπαιδευτικών εφαρμογών αυτού του νέου μέσου στη διδακτική διαδικασία αποτελεί πρόσφατο και εξελισσόμενο αντικείμενο έρευνας εκπαιδευτικών και ερευνητικών φορέων σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο και εξαρτάται από μια πληθώρα παραγόντων, συμπεριλαμβανομένων του γνωστικού υλικού, της αναδιάταξης της γνώσης, των διδακτικών μεθόδων, του κόστους εξοπλισμού και της πιθανής τεχνοφοβίας των εκπαιδευτικών. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, το Ειδικό Πρόγραμμα Σπουδών Πιστοποίησης Παιδαγωγικής και Διδακτικής Επάρκειας του Τμήματος Τεχνών Ήχου και Εικόνας (ΠΠΕΤΤΗΧΕ) του Ιονίου Πανεπιστημίου απευθυνόμενο σε αποφοίτους πανεπιστημιακών καλλιτεχνικών τμημάτων στοχεύει στη θεωρητική και πρακτική εξάσκησή τους σε ανοιχτά λογισμικά και ψηφιακές εφαρμογές οπτικοακουστικής τεχνολογίας για την τροποποίηση διαδικασιών διδασκαλίας και κυρίως μάθησης μέσω της καλλιτεχνικής δημιουργίας. Η παρούσα δημοσίευση εστιάζει ειδικότερα στον τομέα της τεχνολογίας ήχου, αρχικά καταγράφοντας τις τάσεις και τους προβληματισμούς σχετικά με την αξιοποίηση εφαρμογών ηχητικής αλληλεπίδρασης για την πλατφόρμα των συσκευών τύπου tablet, όπως αυτά προκύπτουν από τη μελέτη της σύγχρονης βιβλιογραφίας, και έπειτα προτείνοντας μια κατηγοριοποίηση των διαθέσιμων τίτλων σε τέσσερις περιοχές με κριτήρια τη στόχευση του περιεχομένου σε μουσικές έννοιες και πρακτικές και τον βαθμό ελευθερίας που καθορίζει τις επιλογές του χρήστη.
... Education is dynamic, which means it will adapt to the times and technological progress (Ennouamani et al., 2020;Ladachart, 2020;Ledger et al., 2015;Rumahlatu et al., 2021). It is very important for teachers to keep abreast of the latest information about education (Akbaba-Altun, 2004;Ebenezer et al., 2021;van Deursen et al., 2016). Nowadays, everyone (including teachers) can easily access technology-related information to search for information about strategies, models or any other aspect to promote a more effective and efficient learning process (Stein et al., 2020). ...
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