Study Shows iPads in Kindergarten Class Improve Literacy

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iPad in Kindergarten

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Initial results from a research study in Auburn, Maine show that kindergarten literacy scores increased in classrooms where iPads were used. Auburn is the first public school system in the US to provide iPads to each of their youngest students; and they are monitoring the iPad program carefully. The research findings are part of a randomized control trial, as explained by a report from the Auburn School Department:

During the Fall of 2011, the district provided iPads to half of Auburn’s sixteen kindergarten classrooms. The remaining eight classes used traditional resources. The eight iPad classes were selected at random to provide a better examination of the short term literacy impacts. Auburn kindergartners from both settings completed a series of standardized literacy assessments in early  September (pre-iPad) and in late November (post-iPad), which provide an objective measure on each groups’ emerging literacy skills.

The study results were presented last week, and they are very positive:

The School Committee was pleased to learn that the study results were quite positive. In fact, students in the iPad classes outperformed non- iPad students, on average, across every literacy measure they were tested on.

Here are a few quotes from the Auburn School Department report on the iPad program that caught my eye:

On how the iPad is fitting into classrooms:

Sherwood Heights Elementary School Principal Laura Shaw summed up the district’s work to date, "Teachers have seamlessly blended the use of iPads into their everyday best practices. It has become part of the daily ritual of assessing students’ needs and targeting those needs in the most effective way possible. At times, they see that the need can be met best using the technology of the iPad. At other times, using paper and pencil, games, manipulatives and more traditional methods works best."

On children’s engagement levels when the iPad is used, and why the classes using iPads do better:

Auburn kindergarten teacher at Fairview Elementary School, Michelle Green thinks, "Being part of the Advantage 2014 iPad project is very special. It has been an eye opening opportunity to watch children use a tool of technology to learn in a way I never did as a child." Michelle’s colleague at Washburn Elementary School, Jess Prue, agrees, "We are not only giving kids a new engaging way to learn, we are also preparing them for technology in the future. It is exciting!"

Why might the iPad classes do better? Sue Dorris, who serves as principal at the participating East Auburn Community School explained, "We are seeing high levels of student motivation, engagement and learning in the iPad classrooms. 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."

This is just one school department of course, but it’s great to see tangible results showing the positive impact iPads are having in classrooms. I’m certain that my 8 year old daughter has benefited from having iPads around the house, and using them often, over nearly the last two years. Her school is now beginning a rollout of iPads and I’m very excited to see how that progresses.

I spotted the Auburn School Department news via The Loop.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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2 thoughts on “Study Shows iPads in Kindergarten Class Improve Literacy”

  1. i really thought this was amazing, since i am doing a research paper on the different tools of learning and how they affect our childrens grades and knowledge. it gave me a great insight!

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