Effectiveness of iPad technology in supporting early
learning: Critical evidence base
Dr Nicola Pitchford
University of Nottingham
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Global education crisis
• Many countries around the world require urgent education reform
• Developing countries are in particular need
E.G. Malawi
•
Very poor standards
•
98% of pupils have only basic numeracy
•
Girls drop out of primary education early
•
Overcrowded & under-resourced classes
•
Poorly trained teachers
•
Short school days (e.g. 07.30-10.30)
UNESCO-IBE World Data on Education Report (2010)
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Global education crisis
• Greater impact on vulnerable children
•
Girls (developing countries)
•
Children from areas of high social deprivation
•
Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL)
•
Children ‘at risk’ of, or with diagnosed, learning difficulties
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Can technology offer an innovative solution?
• Digital technologies, such as iPads, can offer:
Intervention
•
Child-centred individualised tuition
•
Consistent quality for all children
•
Delivery of well-designed software
•
Content grounded in a solid well-constructed curriculum
•
One-to-one interactive instruction with clear objectives
•
Material that can be repeated as often as need be
Assessment
•
Monitoring of individual progress through objective assessments
•
Identification of children with special educational needs
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
How effective are iPads in supporting learning?
• Rigorous evaluation is required prior to roll out
Intervention
•
‘onebillion’ maths intervention with ‘oneclass’ technology
•
RCT at Biwi primary school, Malawi (400 S1-4), 8 weeks
•
Cross-over study at Dunkirk Primary School, UK (61 EYFS), 6 weeks
Assessment
•
New app for assessing basic skills underpinning scholastic progression
•
Grounded in developmental neuropsychology
•
Enables identification of children ‘at risk’ of learning difficulties
•
Profiling of relative strengths and weaknesses
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Intervention
• onebillion software delivered on Apple iPads
•
4 apps based on National Primary Curriculum
•
Teach core mathematical concepts
•
Delivered in local language, Chichewa/English
•
Quiz to assess knowledge at end of each set of activities
•
Automatic, solar, digital recording of children’s progress with ‘oneclass’ technology
•
Robust hardware, easy to use, interactive technology
•
Long battery life
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Assessment
• New app delivered on Apple iPads
•
Basic skills
•
Maths curriculum knowledge
•
Mathematical concepts
•
Delivered pre and post intervention
•
Reliable and valid
•
Generalisation to different format (Malawi)
•
Sustainability over time (UK)
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Key findings
• onebillion iPad intervention is significantly more effective at improving
mathematical attainment than current pedagogical practice for primary
school children in both Malawi and the UK
• Similar learning gains across countries
1 week iPad
intervention
=
3 months standard
pedagogical practice
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Malawi data
Key findings
• Vulnerable children respond especially well to the intervention
•
Girls learning gains were similar to boys (Malawi)
•
Children from high social deprivation showed similar learning gains to children from
more privileged homes (UK)
•
Children with EAL made greater learning gains than non-EAL children – ‘closing the gap’
in knowledge (UK)
•
78% of children ‘at risk’ of learning difficulties (10% of total sample) at pre test
significantly improved their maths knowledge to within the normal range at post test
(Malawi)
• Generalises to different formats (Malawi)
• Sustainable over time (UK)
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Conclusions
•
Combining iPad technology with innovative, interactive, curriculum-based
software, is a highly effective means of providing inclusive, child-centred,
learning to primary school children around the globe
•
It is particularly useful for vulnerable children ‘at risk’ of learning
difficulties
•
iPad technology can also be used effectively to assess basic and
scholastic skills in an objective, reliable, and valid manner
•
With a full range of accessibility features built in as standard iPad
technology that can be exploited to support the needs of all learners, in
any context worldwide (schools, hospitals, remote villages etc)
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Implications for policy and practice
• Technology needs to carefully embedded within the educational
system, so as to maximise confidence and usage by teachers
• Requires educational reform to achieve effective and sustainable
implementation at a nationwide scale
• Scientists need to work in partnership with governments, educators,
charities, IT businesses, NGOs and other organisations for the full
potential to be realised
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Thanks and appreciation
onebilion 
Andrew Ashe (CEO)
Jamie Stuart (Chief Programmer)
Michal Safier (Programmer)
Alexandra Turner (Translator)
EuroTalk 
Richard Howeson (Chairman)
VSO Malawi
Dario Gentili (Country Director)
Frederick Gaghauna (Technical Support)
Malawi Ministry of
Education
Anjimile Oponyo (Principal Secretary for Basic & Secondary Education)
Raphael Agabu (Director of Inspectorate for Schools)
Henry Mphiningo (Primary Education Advisor Area 36)
Kumbali Lodge,
Lilongwe
Guy and Maureen Pickering (Proprietors)
Special thanks to Guy for building the Biwi Learning Centre
Scottish Government
For funding this study
Laura Outhwaite
Running the Dunkirk Primary School Study
Biwi Primary School &
Dunkirk Primary School
All of the staff and children who were a joy to work with
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014
Further information
https://onebillion.org.uk/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29063614
http://journal.frontiersin.org/ResearchTopic/2611
Using technology to revolutionise learning: Assessment, intervention, evaluation
and historical perspectives
[email protected]
Dr Nicola Pitchford
UNESCO conference
New Delhi Nov 2014