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Tablet computers good medium for educational materials, research shows

by Phil Ciciora / Jan 28, 2015

College of Education research assistant Norma ScagnoliTouch-screen tablet computers can support the learning process when used in an educational setting, and not just as an e-reader or laptop replacement, according to new research from a team of University of Illinois experts in business and e-learning, a group that included Norma Scagnoli, a research assistant professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership.

The paper, published in the journal E-Learning and Digital Media, is based on research conducted in 2011 that studied the effects of mobile technology on student performance in a graduate professional business program.

Tablet computers good medium for educational materials, research showsThe research examined the impact of the integration of tablet computers in three areas of student performance: engagement, learning, and professional development. The tablets were given to each student entering the Master of Science in technology program at the start of the fall 2011 academic semester, a time when tablet computers were still a new piece of technology.

Scagnoli said it was an enlightening experiment that showed which aspects of technology did and did not work for students.

“At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information about how to do things like annotate documents on a tablet,” Scagnoli said. “But students found a way and figured it out. It was interesting to see how this new technology engaged them in critical thinking about their own learning strategies.

Read the full Illinois News Bureau article by Phil Ciciora.