Tablet PCs and reconceptualizing learning with technology: a case study in higher education

R. van Oostveen (Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)
William Muirhead (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)
William M. Goodman (Faculty of Business and IT, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 14 June 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the experience of 31 university students who were issued tablet PCs for their use during an academic year. The primary research problem which drove this project revolved around the student perceptions of the benefits of technology to provide opportunities to restructure their learning experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

The students were surveyed twice during the year and they were invited to participate in either individual interviews or a series of focus groups. A number of lectures were also visited and observed. The survey results provided quantitative data regarding student usage of the technology. The interviews, focus groups and observed classes provided data around the reasons why the students used the technology in the ways they did.

Findings

Little evidence was found to support a contention that meaningful learning with technology had occurred and, in spite of their comfort and familiarity with the technology, there is no evidence of changing attitudes with respect to meaningful learning on the part of the students surveyed in this study.

Research limitations/implications

A major application of this should be directed towards similar studies focused on combining the redefinition usage potential of new touch interface‐driven devices, such as the iPad, with a new pedagogical approaches to support learners to use the technology as cognitive tools.

Originality/value

It is important to note that the introduction of a new technology, even if it makes a wide variety of affordances available for use, cannot by itself, instigate redefinition of learning tasks to allow for meaningful learning to occur.

Keywords

Citation

van Oostveen, R., Muirhead, W. and Goodman, W. (2011), "Tablet PCs and reconceptualizing learning with technology: a case study in higher education", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 78-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/17415651111141803

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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