Technology

Educational value of tablet computers

Thursday, December 15, 2011

iPads seem to be everywhere these days, including schools, but are they helping kids learn or are they just high tech toys? ABC7 talked to a pair of local app makers who sought to answer that question.

We saw some kids playing a brand new game that had been on the app store for only about two hours, and they picked it up pretty quickly. And oh, by the way, they're also learning math.

"It's great to see that not only are they having fun with it, but it's changing their attitudes about math," said Gabriel Adauto, a Motion Math co-founder.

Adauto's company Motion Math is now on its third app for the iPad. He and co-founder Jacob Klein see the iPad as a natural fit for the classroom.

"This is amazing hardware for learning, especially younger kids. Younger kids, before touch screens, the mouse and the keyboard really got in the way, now very young kids can have a very interactive experience with complex computers," said Klein.

Though hundreds of school districts already have some classrooms with one iPad per student, Motion Math says there had never been an experiment done to show whether an educational iPad app actually helps kids learn. So they commissioned a professor to put one of their apps to the test.

"I actually was, myself, quite a skeptic of the use of games in education," said USC professor Michelle Riconscente.

Riconscente did a controlled study of kids playing a Motion Math app designed to teach fractions.

"In just five days, an hour and 40 minutes of game play, we saw 15 percent increases on the test scores and those tests were based on standardized test items, the kind that students take for the California standards tests," said Riconscente.

Riconscente said this study was just a start in assessing how the iPad is best used in schools. Klein said his answer is simple, show kids math is cool.

"I think that's a great way for games to teach, is to bring that fun, that excitement around what math can do," said Klein.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
iPad, tablets, math, technology, jonathan bloom
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