PUSH OR PULL? A LONGITUDINAL SURVEY STUDY INTO THE ACCEPTANCE OF TABLETS IN SECONDARY EDUCATION

As today’s society is saturated with information and communication technologies, education cannot afford to leap behind. The present research engages in the public debate on the introduction of tablet computers for educational purposes in Flanders (Belgium). Supporters of this rollout point to the supposed added value, stressing its potential to offer a paperless, independent and interactive learning experience. Opponents on the other hand emphasize the alleged hype-factor, financial burden, and the questionable degree to which it actually motivates and supports learning. Clearly, specific academic research into this topic is strongly required.

Based on the theory of planned behaviour, we present a longitudinal survey research on the introduction of personal tablets in a large secondary school (N = 694), looking into the expectations towards and experiences with the device, i.e. the Apple iPad. The central research question is whether the acceptance of the tablet is instigated by an intrinsically motivated attitude, or by social norm, as experienced through relations with peers, teachers, school board, and parents. The first wave took place at the first day of school, in September 2012, while the second wave is scheduled by the end of November 2012.

Preliminary results of the first wave indicate a substantial explanation of prospective tablet use for school by attitude, rather than social norm. More specifically, attitude is significantly explained by perceived usefulness, prospective ease of use, status and, most importantly, perceived enjoyment. Furthermore, peer and parent attitudes, rather than those of teachers and the school board, explain social norm. Still, the question remains whether the pupil’s high expectations are met; an issue that will be addressed shortly in the second research wave.