24/7 access to iPads: middle school students' perceptions





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This qualitative research study explored middle school students' perceptions of 24/7 access to an iPad to increase the researcher's understanding of students' perceptions of learning with an iPad. The research design included an anonymous online survey administered to 430 students, a focus group of 10 students, and four individual interviews. The research participants were in grades six through eight. The motivation to pursue this dissertation topic was the result of a one-to-one initiative at the study site that had been awarded a grant to become an environmental science, technology, engineering, and math (E-STEM) school. This grant funded all students in grades five through eight with 24/7 access to an iPad. A second motivation to pursue this study was the significant lack of middle school students' perspectives in the research related to one-to-one initiatives reviewed for this dissertation. Since students are the reason for schools' existence, a lack of their voice in current research is problematic. Major survey findings include that a significant number of students use the iPad to communicate, organize, and revise their work. Findings from the focus group and individual interviews included a revelation regarding a high level of stress participants reported experiencing as a result of having to care for an iPad 24/7. Focus group and individual interviews also supported that access to the iPads increased participants' organization, communication with peers and teachers, and eased researching and creating academic projects. Based on the results of this research, there are three recommendations for schools planning to implement one-to-one access to iPads. They include reducing damage to iPads, reducing distractions, and providing meaningful professional development on technology integration. Based on this research, another recommendation is to proactively assist students with set-up of their iPad.

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