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Can iPads help students with Science? Yes, confirms a study by Harvard – Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics

02 April 2014 By In MyPal Blog

“These devices offer students opportunities to do things that are otherwise impossible in traditional classroom environments,” says study leader Matthew H. Schneps. “These devices let students manipulate virtual objects using natural hand gestures, and this appears to stimulate experiences that lead to stronger learning.”

Schneps and his colleagues looked at gains in learning among 152 high-school students who used iPads to explore simulated space, and compared them to 1,184 students who used more traditional instructional approaches. The researchers focused on questions dominated by strong misconceptions that were especially difficult to correct via teaching. Many questions examined students’ understanding of the scale of space.  All too often, instruction makes use of models and drawings that distort the scale of the universe, “and this leads to misconceptions.”

They found that while the traditional approaches produced no evident gain in understanding, the iPad classrooms showed strong gains. Students similarly struggle with concepts of scale when learning ideas in biology, chemistry, physics, and geology, which suggests that iPad-based simulations also may be beneficial for teaching concepts in many other scientific fields beyond astronomy. Moreover, student understanding improved with as little as 20 minutes of iPad use. Guided instruction could produce even more dramatic and rapid gains in student comprehension.

MyPal Online School’s approach is in complete agreement with the findings of this study.  Multimedia is a better tool for illustration and discussion in the classroom than traditional textbook graphics and multimedia can be easily incorporated in a Learning Management System like Moodle which is a part ofMyPal Learning Environment

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