MyNotes – iPads Research in School

Welcome! You may also want to read Just Jump In – Exploring Options for Netbooks, iPads, and Others

Read the University of Nortre Dame study online

Source: Angst, C. and E. Malinowski (2010). “Findings from eReader Project, Phase 1:  Use of iPads in MGT40700, Project Management,” University of Notre Dame Working Paper Series. Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame,, pp. 1-17.

Note: Italicized items are direct quotes from the study.

Interesting study…give some college students an iPad with the intent it be used as an eReader and see what happens. The experiments are happening with children, too. In case you missed the comment in the table above, allow me to emphasize it:

The ancillary benefits of the iPad (consolodisation of personal/school lives, constant connectedness, etc.) outweigh the device’s drawbacks as an academic tool.

The iPad’s benefits outweigh it’s drawbacks, such as file management, security, workforce abuse, expenditure of funding on things instead of teachers and librariansetc. Ok, that information aside, on to the study….
Some of my favorite findings–quoted from the study–are as follows:

  • It is the opinion of these researchers that it is premature to make a decision about widespread distribution of iPads or any eReaders.  We are using the term ‘distribution’ to mean requiring students to adopt an iPad.
  • Students feel the iPad; a) encourages exploration of additional course topics, b) helps manage time, c) provides new functions/tools, d) increases learning, and e) makes courses more interesting
  • In addition, the cost of the devices ($499 for the model we used) appears to be prohibitive for students, even considering that eTextbooks are usually 60-80% of the cost of a traditional textbook.  Even if the technology were mature, with new competitive offerings coming to the market rapidly, it is unclear which device would be optimal for distribution.
  • on average, students feel the iPad; 
    • a) encourages exploration of additional course topics, 
    • b) helps manage time, 
    • c) provides new functions/tools, 
    • d) increases learning, and 
    • e) makes courses more interesting.
  • It is also true that the iPad LACKS important functions/tools that are available with a traditional textbook.  
  • A considerable amount of non-course-related reading was done using the iPad.
The highlighted section results in a laugh when you consider that K-12 has already jumped into iPad adoptions in the thousands, such as Fort Bend ISD with 16,000 iPads adopted. Will use in K-12 pre-dispose students to use of iPads in higher education? You bet! 😉
What’s even more funny are the remarks from college students…can’t you imagine your grade 5-12 students making these observations, too?
  • It’s very convenient to carry around plus it makes you look tech savy
  • If more classes adopted the ability to use this i probably wouldn’t be carrying a backpack at all.
  • I am more organized and my backpack is certainly lighter since I dont need to carry my laptop 
  • and cord everywhere. I also LOVE the long battery life. (this would have been my remark! I hated carrying around heavy backpacks, and seeing my own children do it makes my back twinge -Miguel).
Onward, into a Brave New World!
Image Source:

Below are MyNotes/Take-aways from the research study:

First, our findings suggest the greatest value of the iPad may not be its ability to function as an eBook reader but instead its capacity to function as a consolidator or aggregator of information.
Second, a statistically significant proportion of students felt the iPad,
1) makes class more interesting,
2) encourages exploration of additional topics,
3) provides functions/tools not possible with a textbook, and
4) helps students more effectively manage their time. While there were some technical and behavioral challenges associated with reading the eBook, overall impressions of the iPads were very favorable and students noted they would tolerate some of the shortcomings as technical improvements are being made.
Because our results do not provide a comprehensive measure of the objectives related to consolidating/aggregating information, nor do they fully explore the extent to which learning outcomes vary with respect to iPad use, further studies that include natural observation, surveys, and student focus groups are recommended.

Some Graphs worth keeping handy:

Other iPad in Texas Schools Posts:

And, unrelated to the study, but worth revisiting again:
iPads vs. Textbooks

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

3 thoughts on “MyNotes – iPads Research in School

  1. Carolyn Foote February 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm Reply

    I have a lot of comments on this and thanks for sharing the study. I'd comment that one of the limits of this study is that they were just looking at iPads as e-readers, but you can see from the student comments that students were using them for far more than that. The comments by college students very much reflect those of our own students in terms of the organizational benefits for their learning. (Although I find it surprising the comment about difficulty notetaking as our students take notes on it constantly–there are a lot of free notetaking apps as well as inexpensive ones that you can use to record lectures or with more extensive notetaking functions). I'm chuckling at the conclusion drawn next to the last graph about printing–that ipads don't increase printing significantly. The survey appears to show that in fact it DECREASES printing significantly and no students report Always or Almost Always printing. That has been our experience as well–we have cut costs with student printing significantly.I'm also really bewildered by their comment that the etextbook can't perform many of the tasks of a traditional textbook? What is that–paperweight? back breaker in a backpack? Seriously, most electronic books are so much more interactive than the average textbook.One last thing–I applaud you sharing all these but as a librarian, I was a little frustrated that I cannot really tell what was a direct quote from the study, and what parts you wrote, and whether you put together the graphs or if they came from the study and if the conclusions were yours or theirs. Before I cite any of this on my own blog, that'd be helpful to know!Thanks again for your work in exploring this topic.We've been sharing a lot of our anecdotal evidence on our blog for our iPad pilot at, by the way.

  2. pshircliff February 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm Reply

    True that iiPad’s lack functions of a traditional textbook…but dont we rail against traditional textbooks, aren’t we trying to come up with a better alternative to textbooks. Most students do not use a textbook, let alone use a textbook correctly. I love that you can take a picture/video of your work and post it to your portfolio on one device…and flip quickly to researching more info.I wonder if I want some magazines to utilize academic/electronic pricing that would enable us to have all students subscribe to current magazines (Discover, Scientific American, National Geographic). They do not have all articles on their websites (I dont blame them for that)I think the textbook infographic is misleading, besides the fact that we want a better alternative than current textbooks and besides the fact that the iPad is much more than an info readerone high school student (incoming freshmen) a) $500 iPad + $360 for eBooks for 4 years = $860b) $75 per textbook x 6 books per year x 4 years = $1800so at half the cost you get the same books, plus Internet access, plus camera (how much do those cost), plus organizer, plus note taker (and we dont have backpacks that weigh as much as some kids)Thanks Miguel

  3. Miguel Guhlin February 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm Reply

    Carolyn, thanks for the feedback. To respond to your final observation, first…I've italicized content from the study for easy identification.I can only concur with your other observations.

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