What our users think

Ipad consultants in Oslo municipality testing our prototype


Based on our research we decided to make a teacher and student app store and forum. It gives teachers an arena to share their experiences and views on the different EDU-apps available.

Goals and hypothesis:

Our goal with the test is to see if our solution can help build a community for teachers using tablets in class. Our research shows that one big challenge for teachers today is overview and to navigate the huge number of EDU-apps available.

Our hypothesis is that our solution will make this problem smaller by nesting forum, review and app store into one arena for teachers. We also want to encourage pupils to take an active role in their education. If they can feel that they have “a word” in solutions they use in class it could contribute to minimize disruption, which has shown to be a negative side effect off the introduction of tablets in classrooms. and off-topic activity during class.

The pupil-version of our solution allows pupils to navigate and rate the available apps, suggest apps for their teacher and recommend apps thats should be available in the app store.

Mockup description:

The prototype is an app where teachers can learn and discuss apps meant for use in class. We have combined this with an app store where teachers can download and control the apps available for the pupils in class. Students are part of exploring apps so we have included a way for students to easily explore, rate and suggest apps to the teacher.


Amalie Meek, 10 years old, pupil at Rødsmyra school at Kråkerøy

Hanne Holhjem, assistant teacher at Gjennestad vgs

Team leader Thomas Reichborn and the team of iPad consultants in Oslo municipality

Øystein Kjellstadli, teacher at Åsgården elementary school

Prioritised list of functionality we found important to test:

  1. The link between the app and the community section. How obvious is the link from the app your seeing and the discussions and ratings of the same app? Can this be implemented in any other way?
  2. Is the design (colours, fonts, text size etc) good, and are the app easy to use? Is the readability strong?
  3. The push button, and how this improves the control of apps the student use.
  4. The functionality where a pupil suggest an app for the teacher.
  5. The ability where teachers can suggest new apps for the app store.
  6. How the forum can be used to explore discussion about apps for different courses.

Task and scenarios:

Scenario 1:

You want to find a creative app for creating comics, you have heard about an app called Pixton with an icon like this (bilde). You want to know more about this app and see what other teachers have to say about it. You find that the app has good reviews and want to download it and try it out yourself. After trying it out you want to use the app in class to do this you decide to push the app to all students of this class.

This scenario will test how the users experience the link between the app-part and the community-part, how the design works for this purpose,  if the functionality of push, add, folder and rate is properly positioned in the design and the overall user experience of the prototype.

Scenario 2:

Your a 5th grade pupil give a task in class to create a cartoon about your summer holiday. You don’t think the app you’re using today is any good but know about an app called Pixton that’s allot better. You want to recommend it to your teacher. First you want to check if it exists in the app store. If not you want your teacher to add it. If it exists you want to recommend it to your teacher so he/she can download to all the ipads in class.

This scenario will test how the design works for a typical user among the pupils, how she responds to the functionality of recommending apps for here teacher and the ability to rate an app she knows.

Testing scenario 1:

Group of iPad consultants

Ipad consultants in Oslo municipality testing our prototype

Results: We managed to get the team of iPad consultants in Oslo municipality to test our prototype during a session they had. This team assists all teachers in Oslo with iPad related questions on a daily basis. We introduced them to scenario 1, and the task we had listed as most important as described above, and asked them to comment on the fly. Since they are a big group, and had limited time, we have summarized their feedback under each task.

Task 1 & 2. Feedback:

  • If you don’t know the app icons it’s hard to identify each app since the name doesn’t show next to the icons on the main page.
  • When you know the app its intuitive where to press to get more related info and comments/reviews.
  • Star-rating next to each icon on the front page is a big plus.
  • In the app-section its somewhat unclear what the add to folder functionality does if you don’t know the concept from other programs or web solutions.
  • You should generally increase font size because it’s sometimes can be hard to read the text.

Task 3. Feedback:

  • The idea is really good. This functionality could improve teacher control and in a good way simplify the process of distributing solutions to groups of pupils.

Regards to this functionality the team had a concern. They pointed out certain technical limitations regards to app licences, each teachers limited permissions to distribute apps and also the possibility of flooding the pupils iPads with to many apps.

Task 4. Feedback:

  • This functionality looks good, but where does the pupils find the link to the app they wish to recommend?
  • Each pupils often has multiple teachers, they should be able to choose which teachers they want to send the suggestion.
  • In general they really liked the possibility for pupils to be involved and suggest apps for their teacher.

Task 5. Feedback:

  • This functionality is great. It looks good but might be a little bit hard to find in the prototype.


Test with teacher Hanne Holhjem

We had Hanne Holhjem, an assistant teacher at Gjennestad VGS to look at our app and test the functionality of our prototype. We wanted her to give us feedback on the usability of the app and possible improvements we could make. Not only did we want to find improvements to the usability of the app, but also find if our app solves the problems we found that many teachers and students experience using ipads in school. To test the app we created a scenario we thought would be representative of a common use case. We had Hanne try to follow scenario one. She was asked to read out her thoughts while following the scenario and comment on things she noticed. Some parts of the app was not as intuitive as we had hoped but some confusion also came from the language barrier because the prototype was created in english.

Frontpage for apps:

App store teachers

She knew how the pixton app looked like but said that it was strange there was no title for the app. The description was also small and hard to read. She would prefer if the rating was under the description as she is more interested in what the app does than what people think of it.
The value of the news and trending community was not immediately obvious, but after further explanation she could see herself using it. The title “Trending Community” still felt off.

It was not self explanatory that “All courses was apps categorized by courses

Single app page:

App page for pupils. They can read and write reviews

After clicking on pixton and entering the page for pixton it was strange that the explanation of what the app does in bellow ratings and mentions. Mentions was far from obvious for someone not used to how # is used on twitter/instagram, but after having explained the use it felt more important than ratings. Would be more interested in an average rating instead of ratings with comments.



Hanne focuses on the description and the video when deciding if she wants to try out the app. The rating and mentions was not that important to her. This could be because it’s new and she is not used to the option. When asked to try out the mentions function she was confused when suggestions for other apps appeared. It was also not clear what the top post was and what was comments. Having comments or replies to the post appear without taking action felt bad as it reminded her of the comment section in the newspaper.

Downloading and sharing:

She liked that downloading was as simple as in the normal appstore. When using the function to push the app to students she had questions about how one could define a class, was it possible to push to a group or a few students. Could you create a new group or class while pushing or do you have to do this in another part of the app.


Test with teacher Øystein Kjellstadli

Øystein Kjellstadli was one of the test participants to test the app store prototype we made. He is a teacher at Åsgården elementary school and he’s been using iPad in some lectures at the school. We thought therefore he might be able to give us useful feedback on the prototype we have made. Like what improvements can we give to the app so it can solve problems that teachers struggle with when it comes to iPad in elementary school. We also wanted feedback on what is good with our app prototype, problems that it might solve. We made Øystein follow scenario one with some guidelines. When going through the prototype, we asked about his thoughts on the different functionalities.

On the frontpage before going into the Pixton app, he noticed that the apps were sorted in courses. This was a very positive thing he said, because he has found it difficult to find apps that fit for a specific course.

When he entered the Pixton he would have liked information about the recommended grades for the app. He didn’t have many thoughts at first about the mentions from the forum on the Pixton app page.

But when he entered the forum he thought the forum is a smart idea. Didn’t have much else to say about that part.

He asked specifically what the push button did, we told that the push button would push the app to the pupils and the pupils would only be able to have apps that a teacher pushes to them. He thought is was smart that the pupils will only get apps that he teachers pushes to them.

Testing scenario 2:

Pupil Amalie Meek, 10 year old

Feedback: I, Tore Meek, showed our prototype to my daughter which is 10 years old. I asked here to test it without giving too much information about how it worked. I watched as she navigated around the pupil-section of the app. She has experience using iPad, both a home and in class, so she did not have any major difficulties understanding our solution.


One thing Amalie pointed out, besides everything being written in english, was that the icons should have the app name included. This has also been pointed out by other users and is something we would improve.

Another suggestion the test pupil had was to make the sections for the different app types more child friendly. To use more illustrative icons so it would be easier to find apps related to the course she needed. She liked the ability to suggest app but was a little afraid that here teacher would get to many suggestions. A solution here could be to give each pupil the ability to give a certain number of suggestions each semester.

She liked the rating functionality but she thought that someone should read the ratings before they were posted so people don’t just write nonsense. One solution could be that next to each rating the pupils name would appear. This might make it less attractive to post nonsense.

To improve usability we should overall increase font size. The apps on the front page should have a title to make it easier to find them. The title of some sections could be improved to make it more intuitive what purpose it serves.
Students should be able to choose the teacher and class to which they want to recommend an app.The app page should have information about recommended grades.

From idea to prototype

From the idiate process we created our idea an appstore for teachers with a forum where they can discuss and recommend apps among themselves. In addition to this we wanted to include the pupils in the process by giving them access to the app store with the ability to suggest apps and leave reviews.

We started by brainstorming functionality that we wanted for our app store. We used a black board to conceptualize the feel of our app, with the different pages that were necessary. For each page we discussed how we could implement the functionality we wanted. Having a visual wireframe representation of the app helped us create a more solid plan and make it easier to not forget something and to not create something with flawed user experience.

We used Adobe XD to create the actual prototype, because it’s easier and faster to implement the functionality we wanted on Adobe XD then on paper. We also tried Sketch but Adobe XD felt more intuitive since we have experience from other Adobe programs. In Adobe XD you can easily link pages together, this made it easy to show what happens when someone clicks a button in the app, which is important because we want the prototype to be high fidelity and testable. Adobe XD also makes the prototype look more like a real app store than when you use a pen and paper.

As a starting point we knew the user had to log into our app, we planned to let the user login using something similar to “feide login”. For the prototype we have created two different login buttons to open the app in teacher or student mode. This would usually happen depending on the account login.

When the teacher logs in the frontpage for apps is the startpage. This page contains a list of featured apps where the teacher can click to view the page for one app. We wanted to combine the app store with a community were teachers could discuss apps and teaching methods. To make the community accessible at all times the frontpage also includes a discussion part where relevant discussions appear. The relevancy of the discussion and featured apps is based on the account and earlier searches and downloaded apps.

From the front page the teacher can view one of the featured discussions or view other discussions by clicking one of the courses/categories on the bottom of the page. The teacher can also enter the front page of the forum by clicking the “Community” button at the very bottom. To view an app the teacher can either search/browse or click on of the featured apps. On the single app page the teacher can view ratings, mentions in the community and have the opportunity to add a review.

The teacher can also add the app to a folder for later use, download it or push it to a user group. A group is usually a classroom or some other predefined group. When the teacher pushes the app to a group the app will be downloaded on the users device the next time it connects to the school network or possibly any network. If a teacher works at a school who does not support the “push to all”-functionality he or she can send a reference link to the schools IT manager wich again can install the app on the iPads on behalf of the teacher.

We wanted to have a “pupil version” of the apps too, where pupils can send in app suggestions to the teacher. These app suggestions could be apps that already are in the app store, and apps that are not in the app store.

We also want the pupils to be able to write reviews of the apps, therefore they also need to be able to browse all the apps in the app store. The part that the pupils doesn’t need is the community part of the app store. There is also some other functionality we didn’t want to have in the “pupil version” like the Download and Push button. Pupils can also suggest app that they think should be available in the app store for both teachers and pupils.

Video prototype:

In the video version of our prototype we wanted to show functionality in a real life situation. Since the ability for pupils to suggest apps for their teacher is one of the most important functions in the pupil version we wanted to show that. We asked Tores daughter to play the pupils, Tore the teacher. We think that this video, in an effective way, explains some of the most important aspects of our solution. The pupil suggest an app, the teaches receives the suggestion and can read other teachers experiences. When he decides to allow this app he easily can push it to the pupils iPad.


  1. Pupils comes home from school and starts on her homework. Her teacher has asked the class to make a cartoon about what they did this weekend. He has asked them to do it using pen and paper.
  2. The pupil has used  cartoon app on her dads iPad earlier and feels frustrated about having to do this homework the old way.
  3. She decides to suggest an app for here teacher, hoping he will let her use that to complete the homework.
  4. She logs on to the app store and post the suggestion.
  5. Teacher receives the suggestion and decides to take a closer look at the app in question.
  6. He reads reviews and other teachers experience with the app.
  7. He decides that its was a good and relevant suggestion.
  8. The teacher pushes the app to the whole class with a notion that they can use this app to complete the homework, if they want.
  9. The pupil completes here homework using the iPad she got from school.

Here is a video showing more functionality:

Here you can test our prototype online:

School app & forum

Screenshots from our prototype:

Personas, Scenarios and Storyboards

1. Personas

We made two personas, Siv Andersen wich is a pupil and Johanne Berntsen who is a teacher. We chose theese two personas since they are our core users and the most relevant to understand the behavior to.

  1.   Scenarios & storyboards

Setting: Getting a task in class

Actors: Siv Andersen (10) and Johanne Berntsen (34)

Goals/objectives: Enable user to complete task given by teacher

Action/events: Make a cartoon story about the pupils holiday

During class Johanne gives all pupils a task where they were asked to create a cartoon about what they did during the summer holidays. She wants them to be creative and motivated to write a short story with pictures. Siv is going to make a cartoon about a boat trip she went on with her family and two girlfriends. Johanne suggests that students can use powerpoint to create the cartoon. Siv’s thinks that the app here teacher has suggested is difficult to use. She also doesn’t think it allow here to make something that actually looks like a real cartoon. At home, she has used a cartoon app when making a birthday card for her little sister. She tells Johanne about this app. Johanne searches the apps in the school’s app store to see how other teachers have experience using the suggested app. Several teachers at other schools recommend this app. One teachers has posted screenshots of students artwork, and Johanne is impressed. She decides to distribute the app her pupils through the push-function in the app store. In seconds all the pupils, which is organized as here users under here account in the app store, receive the app on their iPads and they start exploring it.

These are the most important thing to include in the storyboard:

  • Johanne creates a task that will be engaging for the students. She wants them to create a cartoon story about their holiday.
  • Siv gets the task and finds it difficult to complete using the apps suggested by Johanne.
    Siv knows of another app that could be used to complete the task and suggest this app to Johanne.
  • Johanne have never heard of this app but is interested in how she can make it easier and more fun for the students, so she tries to find the app in the schools app store.
  • Johanne wants to find out more about the app and uses the app store forum to ask if anyone has experience using the app. She also searches to find any discussion about the app.
  • She found that  several teachers has used the app before and has had good experiences so she distributes the app to all pupils in class.
  • Siv and the other pupils simply have to open the app and can try it out, Siv is happy that her suggestion was followed up on and that she has access to an app she can be creative in.

Setting: Teacher

Actors: Johanne Berntsen (34)

Goals/objectives: Get overview of new apps and prepare for a new semester

Action/events: Johanne gets advice from other teachers

It’s late summer and Johanne has started preparing for the next semester. This year she is assigned to teaching 5th grade at Bogstad elementary school. She used to teach 1th grade, but because of retirement among the staff she now is a 5th grade teacher.

This means a whole new curriculum and also a whole new set of apps to use during class. She logs on to the schools app store and looks at what the previous teacher used. She has taken over the account for this class. She is not so happy with some of the apps and decides to ask other teachers for advice. She navigates to the forum for 5th grade teachers and post that she is looking for good apps to use in language and math. She quickly gets replies from teachers with more experience and start downloading.

These are the most important thing to include in the storyboard:

  • Johanne started preparing for a new curriculum as she has been assigned to a new grade.
  • There is a lot to prepare when teaching a new grade but she has taken over the class account from the last teacher so she can see what apps was used in this class before.
  • Johanne is not satisfied with the apps used by the previous teacher and wants to explore the options available, she uses the schools app store to find what apps are commonly used.
  • Johanne is a bit overwhelmed with all the new apps and how to use them so she decides to ask her fellow teachers for help trying to figure out what apps they use and how they use them.
  • She gets a lot of answers and she can see one heavily upvoted answer that has a lot of suggestions on how to use some apps.
  • She begins her exploration of apps by downloading the apps suggested by the other teachers. Having the suggested use cases explained by the other teachers makes it easier to understand how to use the app.


Update on our IDEATE process

After getting some guidance from our supervisor during our supervision we decided to change our main idea (IDEATE) to an appstore for teachers with a forum where they can discuss and recommend apps among themselves.

Generating ideas

We started our IDEATE process with going back to our empathy stage and looking at the problems, and the problem statement we ended up with in our previous task. We then brainstormed using the ‘How Might We’ technique for half an hour. One of the students in our group wrote all of our HMW’s ideas up on the blackboard.

After our half an hour was up, we moved on to brainstorming possible digital solutions for our ‘HMW’-questions. We spent an hour on this stage. We then voted on our three favorite solutions. These ideas were the ones that got the most votes:

  • Control interface that let teacher turn on and off and assign app access
  • Use more playful apps in teaching, like Minecraft
  • AI that guide pupils to relevant apps and help pupils stay focused



HMW improve pupils focus?

HMW make pupils stay on task?

HMW remove distractions?

HMW improve benefits of iPad?

HMW make the apps feel more exciting? 

HMW make iPads more controllable?

HMW let teachers assign apps?

HMW improve collaboration?

HMW make communication more efficient?

HMW block distractive website?

HMW avoid pupils watching each others screen?

HMW let pupils help each other to avoid distractions?

HMW make school the favorite part of the day?

HMW make learning more playful?

HMW make the teacher more interesting?

HMW create rewards for completing task?

HMW make it more rewarding to stay on task?

HMW the distractions as motivation?


Possible digital solutions for our ‘HMW’-questions:

Integrated screen(iPad) in each desk, remote controlled by teacher.

Control interface that let tacher turn on and off, and assign app access.

Autonome robots that distribute and collect iPads. They also control pupils use and report violations.

Reward program for pupils that follow teachers instructions. 

Use more playful apps in teaching, like Minecraft.

AI that guide pupils to relevant apps and help pupils stay focused.

Filter for web-browsing that teacher can control.

Involve pupils more in development of learning apps.

Implement elements from popular games in learning. Make educational apps in collaboration with game designers.

Promote and facilitate more collaboration between pupils. 

Privacy filter on all screens.

Cultural Probes

The users for our probes are 5th grade pupils at Bogstad skole in Oslo. We also included a probe meant for teachers at the same school. Together these two user groups could give us valuable insight into how iPads are being used in education and how it affects communication flow in the classroom. We chose Bogstad skole because it is one of the schools in Norway with most experience using iPads in education. We made an appointment with the headmaster Karoline Hoel who we also met when we delivered the porbes at school.

Bogstad skole in Oslo where we handed out our probes.

The goal of our cultural probes were to get feedback from both teachers and pupils on their experience using iPads at school. How does it affect their communication and what are the benefits and challenges? We also wanted to know if they had any ideas on improvements.
We designed our probes to be an easy, interactive and playful method for the kids to give us information about their user experience. We made a scrapbook for them to draw and use clip art to express themselves. With the freedom they get from drawing the keywords sets the subject matter. In that way they could share how they see the iPad as a tool for learning in their “own language” while we still get relevant information. For the teachers we created a simple word cloud with keyword from our interview. The teachers were encouraged to comment on the keywords they felt most relevant for them. In this way it felt more inviting and free than a questionnaire. We also included a chocolate treat for the teachers.

All the teachers at this school is iPad certified. They have to do a online course where they get insight into the different solutions available.
    Our probes consisted of:

  • Two mailboxes with customized top. One for the teachers and one for the pupils. The mailbox for the teachers had more information about our project and described what we wanted them to do. The box for the kids were simpler and with less information.
  • For the kids: An envelope containing; A scrapbook with a front page where we described two simple tasks we wanted them to do. The second page was page with emojis they could use and two blank pages for 1) expressing what they liked/disliked about iPads and 2) drawing/writing they’re app-idea. The probeds also included laminated keywords carefully selected for them to use in their scrapbook.
  • Empty iPad with a word cloud inviting the teachers to comment words they felt most relevant and/or they had an opinion about.
    Chocolate treat for the teachers. We put this, and the pages with word cloud, inside the mailbox.

Her are pictures of our probes:

The way the probes were delivered to the school. Two «mailboxes».

Scrapbook for the pupils:

Front page of the scrapbook for the pupils
Emojis for the pupils to express themselves.
The first «assignment» for the kids. Whats good and bad about using iPads in school?
The second «assignment». Whats your app idea?

Wordcloud the teachers:

Wordcloud for the teachers. They were asked to comment the keywords they felt most relevant for them.

Result of the scrapbook:


All the answers from the pupils first assignment. We read through and found what was the most supprising and gave us insight.

App idea:

All the answers from the pupils second assignment. Not many had a idea but the once who did is represented here. We read through and made comments.

Result from the teachers:

All the answers from the teachers. A total of 13 teachers answered. We read through and found what was the most supprising and gave us insight.

Documentation of the literature search

Our goal for the literature search was to figure out if there’s enough information about the topic to actually write about it. We also wanted to find out what the major challenges and benefits are after the introduction of tablets (iPads) in elementary classrooms. How has the information flow between teacher and student has changed and in what way can it be improved?

The keywords we decided to use were:

iPad, Student, Teacher, elementary school, classroom, information flow, homework, learning, communication, creativity, tablet, educational, education.

We used Google-scholar, Google news search, Web of Science, Education Research Complete and Eric as search engines.

We divided the group into two parts, one group searched in scientific search engines and the rest did searches in news articles and from other, non-scientific sources. In this way we wanted to avoid getting the same search results. In our literature research we have focused on iPad over other touchpads because iPad has dominated the education market starting early with a 75% worldwide and 90% control in Canada in 2013. Norwegian schools has also chosen iPads as the platform to use in classrooms.

During our search we found a lot of interesting articles that appealed to us, both scientific and from media sites. We also realised that most of the research about tablets, and especially iPads in the classroom, isn’t about information flow directly. Although much of the information we found can be relevant for our project because it describes different challenges and or situations where flow of information is important and can be improved by new solutions.

Literature review

While teaching previously was passive and based on receiving information from the teacher learning today is about interaction, creativity and participation in the classroom. The introduction of digital platforms such as the iPad helps to reinforce this trend, according to a report from Telemark University College. Here scientist followed the introduction of iPads to all the pupils in 6th grade at Stathelle Primary School. Among the findings made during the two-year pilot project was that students through the iPad became more active in their own learning process. They could search the web for sources themselves and evaluate the sources’ relevance to the task. It also became easier for the students to organize and take care of the learning material, which was a great help for the students’ overview. On the basis of this, the researchers who followed the project concluded that this contributed to better adapted education and that the students got more benefit from the training provided. The researchers also found that Ipad made it easier to fully integrate all students into the classroom. Those with special needs got more organized for this with the help of the iPad. (Kongsgården, Midtbø 2014).

In Bærum, every pupil in elementary school has their own iPad. According to a report published on the municipality’s website the effort to give every pupil a Ipad isn’t about technology. Its about new ways of learning. According to schools enrolled in the pilot program the relationship between pupil and teacher has changed. Communication has become more imminent. They can give feedback to the student almost in real time. The teachers can also adapt and differentiate teaching based on each pupils special needs. The teachers also see more motivate and creative pupils who gets more learning outcome. (Bærum municipality, 2015).

Project leader for iPad in Bærum municipality, Christian Sørbye Larsen, says to the Norwegian daily Aftenposten that there were protest from both parents and teachers before introducing the device in the classroom. Among the positive elements are more efficient students, better collaboration and better feedback.  (Nipen, 2019).

The reason why iPads has become popular in educational is how it makes for new ways of communication between students and between student and teacher. By using the built in communication possibilities the teacher can have a face-to-face with students who are sick or away from school. (Apple support pages).

There are challenges to the introduction of technology in classrooms. Education are based on a constructivist approach (Henderson, Yeow, 2012). It’s based on the idea that knowledge is not a substance that is transferred from teachers to students, but that knowledge is constructed by students themselves when they interact with objects in their environment. Children learn by doing and construct their own knowledge by actively performing a task.

Educational technology as iPads and tablets, on the other hand, is based on behaviorist perspective. It posits that learning is manifested by change in behavior and that the environment determines these changes.

“It is only relatively recently that educational technology has been able to support a constructivist approach. Smaller devices are better able to facilitate social collaboration than PCs which users must use singly, and the rise of more social application software enables much better opportunities for collaboration than were possible in the past.”

The size of the iPad promotes collaboration. It stimulates to face-to-face social interaction between children (Hourcade, Beitler, Cormenzana, Flores, Druin, 2009). (Leichtenstern, Vogt, 2007).

A school in New Zealand was one of the first to start using iPads in education. Scientist did a case study to understand their experiences (Henderson, Yeow, 2012). According to two of the teachers the iPad has allowed learning to become more accessible and productive. They found that it allows information to be easily searched and accessed quicker at any given location in the classroom. For example, as described by the teacher and senior teacher, students will not need to wait for the desktop computer or netbook to boot when they log in as they previously did, but simply press the iPad’s button and tap on the web browser. Accessibility has also empowered students through not only allowing them to view a wider variety of information to enhance their learning and productivity, but also provides students with a sense of pride in their work, as the teacher explains:

“The ease of access to information makes a huge difference… The standard of their presentation has hugely improved. They have a lot more pride in it so they’re putting a lot more time into it… The presentations most students created I was amazed, they just looked so impressive… and the information was of a higher level as well” (section 5.3, Henderson, Yeow, 2012)

One issue brought up by the senior teacher is that they are aware that the iPad is a difficult tool to be used for creating content but easy to consume, due to the nature of it. However, it was made apparent by the senior teacher that the iPad should not be used as an exclusive tool in education but to be used alongside others:

“It’s difficult to create content, it’s easy to consume… I’m not convinced yet that typing out a big document is easy on the iPad as it is on a computer… I don’t think it couldn’t replace everything we certainly wouldn’t ditch everything in place of the iPads” (section 5.7. Henderson, Yeow, 2012).

Not all students readily adopt the iPad. In the interview it was discussed by the teacher that there was a case where a student chose to use the school’s netbooks rather than the iPad:

“I’ve only got one student in my class who if there is a choice will go for the laptop … its new technology, she’s a bit scared” (section 5.7. Henderson, Yeow, 2012).

Report by the Canada Research Chair in Technologies in Education based on a survey of 6,057 students and 302 teachers in Quebec, Canada. With this survey they wanted to gain a better understanding of how students and teachers use the iPad in class, as well as the associated benefits and challenges. To limit the scope of the survey other touchpads were not included. This is because iPad is the most used and developed platform in the education market controlling 75 % of the education market worldwide and 90% in canada in 2013. The study found that “On average, the teachers felt that they were moderately satisfied with using the iPad in class (average score of 3 out of a maximum of 5). The students felt that they were moderately to very satisfied with using the iPad in class (average score of 3.6 out of a maximum of 5).” When students were  asked for words describing the experience of using ipads the main responses were “Fun, useful, useless and portable”. They note in the report that one one answered that it helped them learn.

In addition to finding out how satisfied the students and teachers were using the ipad they wanted to understand how the ipad was used in the classroom and outside it to improve learning. They found that for a 60 minutes lecture 88.5% of students reported using the ipad for 30 minutes or more. This varied based on the subject with math and science seeing less use. Part of understanding how ipad can improve learning is to look at what applications the students use. The most used apps were eTextbook, text processing and not taking apps. Later teachers were asked to suggest improvements and many wanted a list of useful apps and training in using the apps.

When asked how the students were using the iPad for educational purposes doing school work was the most popular answer mostly interacting with eTextbooks. Internet searches were also frequent and students said that they appreciated being able to decide how they search for information  they needed. Despite being asked about educational purposes the third most frequent answer was games. Some students said it worked as a reward for doing work and motivated. At the same time this speaks to the distraction the ipad introduced.

Outside of school, the most frequent uses were social media (facebook, iMessage). Second most frequent answer was homework. Some students said that using iMessage made it easier to ask other students about homework. One student said that before he never took out his school books when he had finished homework but now the ipad is always out.

When students and teachers were asked about challenges using the iPad the most frequent answer was distraction. A lot less frequent was difficulty writing, difficulty organizing and unsuitable textbooks. The extent to which the ipad was a distraction became clear in interviews with teachers and students. Students found it hard to pay attention when receiving messages on facebook and seeing other students playing games. The limitations of the eTextbooks was another point of frustration with problems such as needing to be online or exercises that did not work.

In a study of young children using multimodal devices to help them become literate in the 21st century it was found that tablets help children thrive in their learning.

Since children responds very well to change and adapts quickly, as well as they’re easily intrigued by new ideas and forms of learning methods, it makes the tablet an excellent addition to teaching. There’s evidence that the quality of learning increases when children use tablets as they collaborate and communicate with one another, as well as the independent learning thrives.

Teachers are eagerly using tablets in their literacy programs. It seems to be easier to tailor a solution to a single students learning difficulties, as the children can use different apps, i.e. LetterWorks to help enhance their struggles with reading. This broadens the specter of possibilities and resources for both teacher and student. (Nicola J. Yelland, 2018).

The digital abilities of teachers are not equal, which may have a significant impact on differences within students learning environment. A study showed that the abilities differed so much as it gave a result of 65.9% teachers belonging to the intermediate level. 26.1% were placed below, and 8% above intermediate.

The teachers with higher understanding of tablets spent more hours to support and develop their subjects, as well as higher usage of tablets in the classroom itself. The tablets may therefore be difficult to incorporate and use in classes depending on the each teachers digital abilities. (Cantú-Ballesteros, L. Urías-Murrieta, M. Figueroa-Rodríguez, S. Salazar-Lugo, G. M., 2017).

There was a project that investigates if tablets can enable students with additional needs to access the curriculum in Australia. In many situations some apps were specifically selected for individual children. One app might gave motivational value to a specific student, meanwhile that may not be as relevant for another student. The reason for the difference of relevance had to do with the student’s interests. (Watts,  Brennan & Phelps, 2012)

«Much of the success of iPad integration was felt to depend on the enthusiasm, creativity and pedagogical skill of the TA and teachers involved as they needto be able to identify how they can use the iPad productively to support individual students’ learning. If this ‘spark’ isn’t there the educational effectiveness of the iPads is not maximised. «(Watts,  Brennan & Phelps, 2012, p. 8)

At MHOC the TA’s got access to a Ipad before the project. They were more responsive and familiar to be able to suggest apps in class, then the TA’s at JPC who did not get access to a Ipad before the project. (Watts,  Brennan & Phelps, 2012)

«A key learning, then, was that TAs needed good access to the iPads to become familiar with them and to help identify apps that would be most suitable for individual students and to be able to respond quickly in a classroom setting to identify the best  app tosupport learning at any particular time.»  (Watts, Brennan & Phelps, 2012, p. 8 )

Two teachers took on the challenge of improving elementary reading. They decided to use Ipad’s to reach this goal, though it was a step into the unknown.

There were some noisy apps that made some distraction from the learning environment. They solved this by purchasing headphones. (Getting & Swainey, 2018)


Last year New York Times (Bowles, New York Times 2018)  had an article about digital gap between rich and poor kids. But not as you would expect. While America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screen, private schools for rich kids are banning screens from class altogether.

“Silicon Valley’s parents increasingly panic over the impact screens have on their children and move toward screen-free lifestyles, worries over a new digital divide are rising. It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens, while the children of Silicon Valley’s elite will be going back to wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction.”

In the article, Kirstin Stecher and her husband, who works as an engineer at Facebook, are explaining how they raise their kids almost completely screen-free.

“Is this coming from a place of information — like, we know a lot about these screens,” she said. “Or is it coming from a place of privilege, that we don’t need them as badly?

Challenges and what needs to be improved

From the different articles we have found some challenges has become apparent. Some of the challenges have already been worked on and the information flow has been improved.
One challenge that was mentioned many times was the teacher and the students lack of experience using the touchpad. Teachers wanting more training and guidelines for using ipads in class and developing assignments that is designed to be done using an iPad. Since the individual teachers has different experiences with tablets, it should be required to take annual courses so that all the teachers and therefore students will have the same starting point.

For many students the iPad can be a distraction with access to games, videos and social media. It can also be distracting for the rest of the class if one student watches a video or play games. This was described in older articles and one improvement in the experience using iPads was to give the teacher more control of the students iPads. Today there are available apps created by apple to give the teacher the option to limit what the student can do on the ipad during class and many other improvements in creating a more efficient experience.

Another challenge that has become apparent is the need for a framework designed for teaching pre installed on the devices. Today many hybrid solutions make many of the tasks more complicated and time demanding than necessary. A solution designed for information flow, cooperation, sharing and feedback between teacher and student, and between the students themselves, would be a great contribution to promoting better learning and interaction with technology in classrooms.

There are multiple solutions for the use of tablets, especially iPads. Apples own app-store offers many different apps for teaching, from reading digital school-books to solving math questions. Apple has also launched several projects that has as a main goal to introduce apple products in the earliest stages of elementary school, such as specific features like Guided Access or Apple’s own apps Shared iPad, Apple School Manager, ClassKit and Schoolwork. All these apps does only work on Apples own devices and is under Apple control. The Norwegian school system should consider  to atleast make some own solutions that doesn’t depend on Apples framework. Considering Apples price range, som schools may prefer tablets using the Android software. These tablets includes Google’s answer to Apples imperium of school-related content, such as Google Classrooms which now connects with all Google-apps like Google Spreadsheets, Google Calendars, Google Docs and a diverse array of other apps.

Even though Apple and Google both have their own solutions to make the teacher and pupils learning experience easier, the goal is the same. The apps and software lets teachers limit the available apps, keep track of the pupils progress, share documents and send notifications to the entire class.




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