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Action Research Plan 1

Tablets in the Classroom
Robin W Watkins
University of Missouri
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Most of the year, I coach Junior League Wrestling. There is a tournament at Jefferson City High
School each season for 5-13 year old competitors. It is a very immense, with over 600 wrestlers,
competition. Throughout the day, I have to journey from one side of the gym to the other. As I
strolled by, I noticed the kids that were waiting for their bouts. I noticed they all had something
in common while sitting in the stands or waiting on the side of the mat. Majority of the kids,
even toddlers, were occupied with a handheld device. They tapped and slid their fingertips on
Tablets, IPads, and Touch-Screen Phones. After the tournament, what I noticed stuck with me for
a while. Children walking at the mall, at the playground, and even at my daughters swim practice
are occupied by Tablets/ Handheld Devices. Furthermore, it has been brought to my attention
that a local High School has issued IPads to the entire student body. The other two local high
schools, only for the honor students, do also.
Area of Focus Statement
My area of focus is to analyze the value of student’s using tablets routinely in the classroom.
There are mixed emotions and responses to the validity, long-term or short, of their use. Some
teachers feel that they are a distraction. That the students are preoccupied with the gaming or
social networking features. On the other hand, there are teachers that laud the use of this
convenient technology. These educators feel that it is the future of education. They say it saves
money, is easy to monitor, and the utility provide an abundance of advantages.

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Related Literature
Technology can be a double-edged sword if not used correctly. In my search for evidence of the
value of Tablets used in school, I have found more pros than cons! For example, Thompson
(2012) states,” In just a month, Superintendent Michael Salvatore said reading ability levels
across all three grades jumped by what he would expect in six months of book-based study”.
Here is proof of a New York school that shows exponential progress from Tablet Integration.
According to (2014), “opponents of tablets say that they are expensive, too
distracting for students, easy to break, and costly/time-consuming to fix”. This seems to be the
constant, distractions and feasibility, in regards to the cons. Nevertheless, Project Tomorrow
reports that 27 percent of middle school and 35 percent of high school students use digital
textbooks. On top of that, the Pearson Foundation reports that 58 percent of college students
prefer a digital format for textbooks. Tablets and e-readers are the ideal windows for that
content. Hill (2012) Even though it may sound cliché, the future is now! Though tablets are a
recent phenomenon, many students in high school and college have been using smartphones for
years, and are already well-acquainted with touchscreen technology. Madan (2011) The literature
that I have chosen has emphasized the receptiveness of students to use Tablets. Having the
teacher’s enthusiasm match their students will be the key.
Research Questions
What are the advantages and disadvantages of students using tablets in the classroom?
Should there be a specific grade level to begin integration of this technology on the regular
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How can we help reluctant educators see the benefit of incorporating this technology into their
lesson plans?
What are the strong points of the apposed educators?
Would the feasibility of tablets hinder the budget for other educational resources?
How will parents feel about tablets over textbooks?
Data Collection
My strategy will begin with the interviews with the administration. Upon receiving permission
and authority to exercise my plan, I will survey students first. After, I will meet with the teachers
in a focus group and have them fill-out the prepared questionnaires. From there, I will observe
the teacher-student interaction in contrast to the findings from the survey and questionnaire.
Once I have gathered enough data, I will study the records of the years prior to integration to
grasp the scope of value.
Data Sources
 Conventional Sources
o Survey- Students will be surveyed first. They will be asked a mixture of
convergent and divergent questions to gather superb data. We want to reveal
what they know, don’t know, want to learn, and have no interest in at all. This
survey will allow them to have an impact on the research that will help them
Student Survey
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1. Have you ever used a Tablet prior to using them in school? (Circle one)
2. How many hours a day do you use your Tablet?
A) 1-2 B) 3-5 C) 6-9 D) 10-12 E) 12+
3. What do you use the Tablet for? (Circle all that apply)
Games Research Internet Reading Webcam Other-
4. Do they make school work easier or more difficult?
A) Easier B) No Change C) Harder
5. What other devices or technology would you like to use?
6. How well does your teacher understand how to use the Tablet?
A) Very Well B) Good C) Average D) Doesn’t have a clue!
o Questionnaire (Appendix D) - Teachers are asked to answer open-ended questions
that will provide information requested by design. It will also all them to provide
further information they deem pertinent or omitted from the questionnaire.
 Interviews - Administration, Teachers, and Students will be interviewed before, during,
and after the research plan has been implemented. Interviews provide real-time data that
is immediately available.
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 Observations – I will take field notes as a passive observer. My purpose would be for
data collection only. Seeing the student and teacher in their natural setting will help view
any clandestine variables not previously considered.
Data Analysis Plans
My Data Analysis plan will begin with a brief Student Survey. I intend to gather raw information
from the primary demographic prior to engaging the teachers. By doing so may help generate
data or behavior teachers are not aware of. A questionnaire for the Teachers will be given after
all Student Surveys have been gathered and analyzed. The questionnaires allow the teachers to
provide valuable information requested and also a comments area at the bottom to add further
incite that may prove fruitful. After comparing the responses from both students and
educators, I will observe the classroom in its normal setting. I will not interact with the natural
flow of the class. Nevertheless, I will take note of the time of use, subjects studied, grade level,
and student-teacher interactions. Last, I will compare the current student’s grades with prior
year performance from the same school and national average.
Thompson, B. (n.d.). NJ Middle School Uses Tablet Computers Instead of Books. NBC New York.
Retrieved February 10, 2014, from
Hill, S. (n.d.). How tablets are invading the classroom. Digital Trends. Retrieved February 13, 2014, from!ziaaF
Madan, V. (n.d.). Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved February 13, 2014, from
Tablets vs. Textbooks - (n.d.). ProConorg Headlines. Retrieved March 1, 2014, from
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Mkaufman. (n.d.). iPad in Schools. iPad in Schools. Retrieved March 1, 2014, from
Toppo, G. (2013, March 6). Can classroom tablets revolutionize education?. USA Today. Retrieved March
6, 2014, from

Appendix A
Table 1 Literature Matrix
Variables Considered in the Study
Madan, Vineet
2011 X X X X
Hill, Simon 2012 X X X X X
Thompson, Brian 2012 X X X X X
Toppo, Greg 2013 X X X X
Mkaufman 2013 X X X X 2014 X X X X X

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Appendix B
Table 2 Triangulation Matrix Exercise
Data Source
1 2 3 4
How can the integration
of tablets be made
acceptable to both the
student and teacher?
Collect data
from prior
year records
Analyze the
s, and prior
What does the student
need to make the
integration of Tablets a
valuable experience?
Focus Group
Students and
ld notes
What needs to be done
to help reluctant
ield notes
Focus Group

Appendix C: Data Analysis Matrix

Data Collection
Data Analysis Strategy
1 2 3
Student Survey
Collect data from
surveys to
Organize data by
grade, rank, and sex
Use findings to help
contrast prior year
without Tablets
Teacher Questionnaire
Collect data from
Organize data by
subject, grade, and
other comments
Use findings to help
contrast prior year
without Tablets their
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Observe the subjects
the Tablets are used

Observe the amount
of time they are
used during the
class period
throughout the day.
Observe the teachers
level of competency
and the students
ability to stay on task
Test Scores

Establish a base
score from the prior
year without Tablets
Compare the prior
year to the current
year scores per
Use scores to expose
variables that
contribute to
improvement or
decline in

Appendix D: Teacher Questionnaire
This questionnaire has been designed to gather pertinent information in regards to Tablet use in
the classroom. Take your time, and answer each question to the best of your ability. At the
bottom of the questionnaire is an area for any further concerns, questions, or comments you may
1) How familiar are you with Tablets and their functions?

2) Are your students engaged during lectures or distracted by the Tablets?

3) Do the students understand the functions of the Tablets prior to receiving them for class?
If not, how well are they trained to use them properly?

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4) Has the integration of Tablets increased or decreased your workload?

5) Are the students performing better on tests, quizzes, classwork, and homework with
Tablet use?

6) What has been your greatest challenge since the integration of Tablets?

7) What common problems do your students express to you?

8) What ages or grades do you think Tablets are appropriate for in their daily curriculum?