From across pond in the U.K., comes word of new research being conducted with children (ages 5– 7), parents, and teachers, and the central role that Tablet PC technology is playing.
The research is being conducted by the University of Sussex and the London Knowledge Lab on a system called “HOMEWORK”. According to this press release, the system enables children between the ages of 5 and 7 to practice Key Stage 1 math using multimedia technologies at home with their family and in the classroom utilizing a Tablet PC.
I’ve got an email in to Professor Rosemary Luckin, the Research Team lead, to learn more about the software, the hardware they are using, and where she envisions this system going. UPDATE: I recevied an email from Professor Luckin. They are using the following tablet pc for their project, and have hopes to turn this research prototype in to commercial product. In addition, they hope to include older children. The image below is a screen shot of the HOMEWORK application.
BTW: the image above is courtesy of our own Hugo Ortega and his son, Leon. Looks like he is really enjoying the Tablet PC, too.
Here is some more information on the HOMEWORK system from the press release:
The researchers found that using HOMEWORK:
* improved communication between parents, teachers and learners
* provided continuity between home and school learning
* made numeracy learning more engaging for many learners
* increased participation and enjoyment in homework (by parents as well as pupils)
* and may have increased the effectiveness of time spent learning.
HOMEWORK integrates educational software with broadcast quality video from the Channel Four educational TV series ‘The Number Crew’. Children work in a teacher-led group using an interactive whiteboard, either on their own or in small groups using tablet PCs. The teacher can use his or her own tablet PC to plan lessons, manage the class, allocate work and monitor each child’s progress. Parents can see what their children have been doing at school, are able to offer help and hence feel more involved with the classroom.
Teachers were enthusiastic about using the HOMEWORK system – as long as it was robust and well integrated with the rest of the school’s activities. For the children using HOMEWORK meant they spent more time on their learning, displayed greater concentration and engagement and enjoyed the choice of activities and computer game style ‘rewards’. Parents enjoyed using the tablet PCs with their children, they were better able to talk with their children about school numeracy work and were able to better understand what, and how, their children were learning at school.
Commenting on the study Professor Rosemary Luckin, who led the research team said:
“Children benefited from having their own personal tablet for learning about maths at home and in the classroom. Teachers appreciated being able to offer learners exciting multimedia activities and non-paper based homework. Parents enjoyed working with their children using the technology at home and being able to see what their child had been doing at school. All-in-all a great success and a model for other such schemes”