ED 650

Can the iPad replace the computer?

The use of personal mobile devices in the classroom is a growing trend in educational technology. With the cheaper cost to purchase, maintain and replace broken tablets, it makes sense that more and more school districts are looking at the adoption of tablets into the classroom. Additionally, “the growing interest in mobile technologies is obvious: they comprise flexible, personal devices that potentially support the learning process” (Montrieux, Grove, Shellans, 2014). The adoption of tablets has been found to have a positive effect on both teacher’s instruction and students learning, but how and what makes the adoption of tablets successful or unsuccessful?

With our decreasing budget, our school district recently sold all of their computers to replace them with iPads for every student in our district K-12th grade. The adoption of the tablets into our school district has been met with mass resistance by teachers and students. Key factors that determine if the integration of tablets is successful or unsuccessful are teacher and student attitudes toward technology, training, and instructional purpose. 

The implementation of tablets into a school district can often be determined for teachers not by them. Teacher attitude and willingness to use the devices for instruction is going to be a major determining factor in the successful integration in the classroom, “nowadays, the use of technology is becoming increasingly popular in many schools, but the element determining the success or failure of the implementation, namely the teachers, is often underexposed” (Montrieux, Vanderlinde, Courtois, Schellens, Marez, 2013). For teachers to have a positive mindset and welcome the use of tablets into the classroom they must be adequately trained to use the devices and have time to learn how to use them before expected to integrate it into their instruction. 

Without properly training teachers, the use of tablets into the classroom will not be successful. Teachers need to be able to confidently use the devices in the classroom, to do this they need training, “this modified training is a necessary component for the effective integration of tablet devices into classrooms” (Soykan, 2012). Without training, teachers will not only be unprepared to use the devices in the classroom but also unwilling to try. Time is something that teachers never have enough of, the improper use of technology can cause additional lost time and frustration by both the teachers and the students. This frustration can cause teachers to be resistant to integrating new technology like tablets into the classroom. 

If teachers are ill-prepared to use the devices because of a lack of training, how are they going to help students learn how to use the devices also? In addition, a teacher with a lack of support or training trying to integrate technology into the classroom can become frustrating causing resistance from teachers. Teachers are not going to want to lose too much of their instructional time to integrate technology if they are not adequately prepared for it. Not only does teacher-training influence the educator’s attitude toward the technology it also influences how they use it.  

A qualitative study about the implementation of tablet computers in secondary education: the teachers’ role in this process found that teachers can be categorized into two main groups when integrating tablets into their classroom instruction. “The first group is labeled ‘instrumental teachers’; teachers who perceive the tablet computer as a device with instrumental advantages; the second group is labeled the ‘innovative teachers’. This group of teachers transformed their lessons to suit the medium of the tablet computer” (Montrieux, Vanderlinde, Courtois, Schellens, Marez, 2013). The teachers that are not adequately trained I believe will fall into the instrumental teacher category that they have identified. These teachers are using the device as an instrument to improve their instruction delivery, ie being able to share documents without having to make copies. The use of the tablet in this manner is semi-effective but it does not actually change or work to improve their instruction. If teachers are properly trained to integrate the technology, they are not only able to make delivery of instruction easier, but also increase learning outcomes and student engagement. 

Tablets or other like devices in the classroom can have a positive influence on classroom instruction,  “it is observed that academic studies supported by multimedia applications, increase the students’ skills in higher-level cognitive thinking and in addition to contributing positively to student achievement both motivate students and help to increase their academic achievements,” (Soykan, 2012). Increasing student engagement, motivation and achievement have all been found to be results of effective technology integration into the classroom with devices such as tablets. Making a strong case that tablets and other mobile devices can effectively replace computers in the coming years. From what I have found, for this to happen, teachers will have to be adequately trained not only on how to use the devices in question but also how to integrate the use of devices in instruction.  


Montrieux H, De Grove F, Shellens, T. (2014). Mobile learning in secondary education: Teachers’ and students’ perceptions and acceptance of tablet computers. Retrieved: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287323883 

Montrieux H, Vanderlinde R, Courtois C, Shellens T and D e Marez, L. (2013). A qualitative study about the implementation of tablet computers in secondary education: the teacher’s role in this process. Retrieved from: www.sciencedirect.com

Soykan, E. (2015). Views of students’, teachers’ and parents’ on the tablet computer usage in education. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.18844/cjes.v1i1.68

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