Tablet use in schools: A critical review of the evidence for learning outcomes

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Haßler, B 

The increased popularity of tablets in general has led to uptake in education. We critically review the literature reporting use of tablets by primary and secondary school children across the curriculum, with a particular emphasis on learning outcomes. The Systematic Review methodology was used and our literature search resulted in 33 relevant studies meeting the inclusion criteria. A total of 23 met the minimum quality criteria and were examined in detail (16 reporting positive learning outcomes, 5 no difference and 2 negative learning outcomes). Explanations underlying these observations were analysed, and factors contributing to successful uses of tablets are discussed. While we hypothesise how tablets can viably support children in completing a variety of learning tasks (across a range of contexts and academic subjects), the fragmented nature of the current knowledge base, and the scarcity of rigorous studies, make it difficult to draw firm conclusions. The generalisability of evidence is limited and detailed explanations as to how, or why, using tablets within certain activities can improve learning remain elusive. We recommend that future research moves beyond exploration towards systematic and in-depth investigations building on the existing findings documented here.

Android, iPad, learning outcomes, school, systematic reviews, tablets
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Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
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We gratefully acknowledge a donation from ARM Holdings Ltd. that partially supported this literature review.