Issue Number: Vol. 2, No. 3
Year of Publication: Jul - 2012
Page Numbers: 256-269
Authors: Alma Leora Culen , Andrea Alessandro Gasparini
Journal Name: International Journal of Digital Information and Wireless Communications (IJDIWC)
- Hong Kong


The iPad as a learning tool has made its way into many elementary school classrooms worldwide. It holds a promise to be a game changer in elementary school education supporting more constructivist learning practices. This paper offers an insight into what happened when, in two elementary school classrooms, the students were enabled to generate both content and context for their own learning. One of the cases describes how the 5th grade children influenced their teacher and obtained permission to use one of the iPad’s creativity apps over a two-week period in order to learn about writing. The second case is about 6th graders involvement in a participatory design process aiming to design an application for the iPad. The application was to support learning about media production by enabling students to publish a weekly newsletter describing their school week in words, pictures and video. The children participating in the studies evaluated the projects as truly successful. The children’s criteria of success were how cool, fun and enjoyable it was to use the iPad. The teachers did not find the projects to be successful. The main criterion they used was the learning outcome. Both teachers found the learning outcome to be inferior to what they usually obtain using traditional teaching methods. Both teachers preferred to use the iPad as a plug-on to traditional ways of teaching. Although our study is small, the results point towards important issues, such as the evaluation process and the decision making process, that may have large influence on the use of technology in the classroom.