The report lists a number of concerns including that a Pearson app lacked a high school math curriculum and that components of the English Language Arts curriculum were also missing. Several respondents also noted that uploading the application's content was "cumbersome and lengthy."
The 95-page study also noted that schools encountered many challenges with technically deploying the devices, and that the teachers needed stronger professional development instructional support. Less than half of the teachers who received an iPad attended the two- to three-day training sessions offered by the district during the summer before school started. And it wasn't clear that the offered PD focused on the most pressing issues for teachers, the report noted.
"The available research suggests that one-to-one computing can change how teachers approach instruction, as both teachers and students are given an opportunity to teach, creating a "student-centered pedagogy," the report noted. But time and culture are key to making this idea a reality.
What are they doing?
Those conducting study logged in 245 "observations" of classrooms and noted 91 instances of using technology. A total of 125 apps were seen. They were sorted according to the following categories:
Content: News, information, books, or other sources (eg: TED, Storia, Reading Rainbow, Khan Academy, PBS Kids)
English Language Arts: ELA curriculum content and practices (eg: Lexia Core 5, Achieve 3000, My Access, Imagine Learning)
Mathematics: Mathematics curriculum content and practice (eg: IXL Math, ST Math, Pick-a-Path, Envision)
Platform or sharing: Manage class content and share resources, also for learning management (eg: Edmodo, Drobpox, Nearpod):
Search & reference: Assists in finding information (eg: Google search, dictionary)
Social media: Allows users to create social networks and share updates, pictures, videos and other information (eg: Facebook);
Tools: Productivity tools such as calculators, word processing, presentation, movie & music editing (eg: Noteability, iPhoto, iMovie, QR Reader, Keynote, Powerpoint, Prezi and Haiku Deck);
Other: Serves another academic purpose (eg: Class Dojo);
Nonacademic: Games, music entertainment (eg: Candy Crush, Netflix, Pandora).
Here are a couple of summaries of the data:
Of those "whole-class uses," 58.5 percent of the teachers used the technology as a replacement for an overhead projector. Just about a quarter of observations showed teachers encouraging students to use their devices individually as the class worked on a group activity or lesson.
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