National Research Council (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 4970-4978
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1312
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Tablet are characterized by features such as their ease of use, portability, feasibility and they are easily employable in collaborative learning (Schuck et al., 2013). Students themselves consider them as an effective tool for reflection, since it allows them to deepen their knowledge thanks to the possibility of on-line searching (Parmigiani et al., 2015). On the other side, teachers are aware of the fact that tablets can help in making lesson more interesting and varied (Heinrich, 2012), but their use also needs a rethinking of the pedagogical approach (Culé & Gasparini, 2012) since tablets allow a more students-centred learning (Ludwig et al., 2011). Further, Information and Communication Technologies in general are also used for the inclusion of the disabled children into class activities (Ifenthaler & Schweinbenz, 2013). We argue that tablets, thanks to their abovementioned features, may be particularly helpful in fostering the inclusion of children who are not disabled, but who cannot attend school for medical reasons. The socio-educational inclusion of these children was the main aim of the TRIS project (Tecnologie per l’Inclusione Socio-educativa [Technologies for socio-educational inclusion]), and Information and Communication Technologies, combined with new pedagogical methodologies, played a key role for the pursuing of this aim. During this project, we equipped a middle school classroom with one tablet for each teacher and student.

In addition, after one year several activities were planned in collaboration with teachers to evaluate the use of tablets and some specific apps in different teaching area. The activity developed for chemistry involved the use of augmented reality software, and we were investigating its effect on students’ attitudes towards the subject. The one developed for Italian language was aimed to the investigation of whether the affordance of a specific app for the creation of mental app have helped the students in their creation in respect to paper and pencil.

In this paper, we report the results regarding teachers’ perception of tablet use in everyday class activities, involving both their competencies and the frequency of use. We considered the impact of the tablet after six months and after one year and a half from their introduction. Furthermore, at the end of the specific activity, the teachers were interviewed in order to understand the potentiality of the tablet for the abovementioned subjects, for the inclusion of the homebound student, and the difficulty found in the planning and managing of the activities.

All the teachers involved (n= 7) sustained the utility of the tablet for classes, mentioning its capacity to foster communication in collaborative working and to gain students’ attention. They mostly used the tablet for students’ individual work, on-line research, and for collaborative activities with the homebound student. Regarding the activities carried out with the teachers, they kept sustaining the tablet capacity to motivate students and to foster their active participation, but they also expressed several concerns regarding the high amount of time needed to plan and to implement the activities using the tablet.
Inclusion, tablet devices, school, augmented reality, mental app.