Using iPads as a Learning Tool in Cross-Curricular Collaborative Initial Teacher Education

Sep. 01, 2015

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 41, No. 4, 442-446, 2015.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper reports on a pilot study developed to support collaborative working between the English and science pre-service teachers, working together to produce an e-book based around a field trip to the seashore.
The participants used mobile technologies to extend their interactions outside the classroom, using iPads in authentic, fieldwork situations.

To explore the pre-service teachers’ perceptions of this collaborative project, they were asked to complete a short questionnaire prior to the project and immediately after it had taken place. The questions asked about their perceptions of using mobile technology before and after the fieldwork. Questions were also asked about how the pre-service teachers felt about the collaboration, what they had learnt from the experience and whether this would have any impact on their future teaching.


The pilot project, creating an e-book, across subject areas and in the field, was effective in a number of ways.
The questionnaires demonstrated that there was a change in the perceptions of the pre-service teachers using mobile devices in ‘authentic situations’ (Martin and Ertzberger, 2013).
The questionnaire responses revealed that nearly 25% of the pre-service teachers had never considered using a mobile device in this way, whilst 14% were concerned about damaging the device in the field. As a result of this work, 66% of the pre-service teachers who had not considered using a mobile device on a school trip, now considered that they would use it to a great, or some, extent in the future. 82% considered that the use of mobile technologies provided learning strategies that might be used in their future teaching. Seventy-five per cent considered using it to capture images, 59% would use it to make video records of the trip, 25% would use it to collect data and 38% would use it to record notes.

The cross-curricular work enhanced understanding of how collaboration can be facilitated by mobile learning, between experts in different fields. In terms of cross-curricular working, 35% considered having another subject/perspective on the topic was valuable. 9% thought it enhanced creativity and 12% literacy skills. Forty-one per cent considered it enhanced their biology subject knowledge and skills, nearly 33% considered it provided an authentic context for poetry writing and 12% considered it enhanced pedagogy and collaborative working.
In conclusion, this pilot study has prepared the ground for a larger, international collaboration on the use of mobile technology in initial teacher education and the authors invite those interested in such a study to contact them.

Martin, F., and J. Ertzberger. 2013. “Here and Now Mobile Learning: An Experimental Study on the Use of Mobile Technology.” Computers & Education 68 (1): 76–85.

Updated: Apr. 13, 2016