Friday Research Spotlight: Comparative observations of learning engagement by students with developmental disabilities using the iPad and computer

The researchers in this study examined the use of the Apple iPad for learning. “A single case design was used to record the participation of four students with developmental disabilities when taught with their standard computer at baseline, followed by the introduction of the iPad. A six-component participation scale was developed to quantify observations of these students during the learning sessions. Visual analysis of data indicated no differences in participation with the iPad as compared to the computer for three of the four subjects. One subject appeared to have notably higher participation with the iPad. Individual variations were identified in each student along with some common concerns with attention, task persistence, and goal directed behavior with use of the iPad. Student academic scores improved during the course of iPad use. Nevertheless, the findings drawn from this pilot study do not justify the use of the iPad over the computer (and vice-versa) for achieving academic goals in students with DD. The need to document best practices and barriers in use of emerging touch-tablet devices to support individualized education was clearly evident.”

Read the article: Arthanat, S., & Curtin, C. (2013). Comparative observations of learning engagement by students with developmental disabilities using the iPad and computer: A pilot study. Assistive Technology (in press) DOI:10.1080/10400435.2012.761293