Learning to take the tablet: How pre-service teachers use iPads to facilitate their learning
Mobile handheld devices are spreading rapidly in education. iPads, especially, are increasingly being adopted by different educational sectors, but there is currently little empirical evidence on whether, or how, they facilitate student learning. This paper reports on how iPads contributed to pre-service teachers' learning, including their learning about teaching. Case studies of eight pre-service teachers were developed based on semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations to determine how they used the iPad 2 in their learning. Focus group interviews of the larger cohort were also used to support findings. It was found that iPads supported pre-service teachers' learning in four ways: developing understanding of content, developing understanding of pedagogy, staying connected, and staying organised. More broadly, iPads helped them develop a new sense of learning spaces and learning networks. Three types of obstacles to using iPads as learning tools were also identified: device limitations, time limitations, and attitudinal limitations. Based on these findings, recommendations are made for developing pedagogical best practice for the use of iPads. These recommendations are relevant to pre-service teacher education in particular but also to higher education in general.
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