• Lars Westh
  • Stine Bøgh Frej
The purpose of this study was to research on teachers’ adoption of the iPad into the
classroom. Main focus has been to gain knowledge about how teachers experience the
iPad in a learning context, and what factors are influencing teachers’ didactical skills
when using the iPad in their teaching. The study uses a phenomenological approach, and
is based upon semi-structured interviews, where teachers express their experiences
related to the use of iPads at two schools in Rudersdal Municipality in the North of
Sealand, Denmark. The participating schools represent two different areas within the
Danish school system. One characterized, as a school conducting teaching for children of
special needs while the other school is a normal school with only a few students who
demands a special engagement. Both schools teach children from the age of six to
sixteen. The schools operate in the context of the given laws made by the state, region
and the municipality, but are independent units with authority to make decisions
regarding their own organisation. Twelve teachers and two leaders were interviewed, and
with consent from these respondents, all interviews and discussions were digitally
recorded and transcripted for further analysis. Barriers and potentials were categorised
and analysed to underline areas of meaning more clearly.

The findings indicate that the iPad holds potentials, but teachers are facing barriers at
different levels in adopting the iPad into the classroom. Barriers that goes from the
individual level to the organisational level. All of the respondents have adopted the iPad
on a personal level to help them plan and organize their teaching practices, but the
problems and concerns are unavoidable when students are added to the equation.
The schools involved had a clear vision about iPads in education. The principals where
convinced that iPads where a device to empower students learning and found the finances
to invest in getting iPads for both of the schools. Later both schools found that getting the
finances for the iPad from the budget was one thing, but investing in the use of them
another and much more complicated matter. ”Nobody really knew what to do”, said one
principal while the other principal was determined of the importance of a lead user to
guide and accelerate the adoption process. This acknowledgement had a significant
impact on how the other teachers at the school adopted the iPad. The study clearly shows
that a lead user is important as a change agent, bringing in curriculum innovations and
emerging practices at the school. This person get’s new ideas and provides appropriate
professional support and development for the colleagues in a developing collegiality. The
use of iPads on this particular school revealed some positive results, as the iPad helped as
an inclusive tool for students with special needs. They did not feel stigmatized while the
teachers where still able to activate individual helping tools. The research also found that
there was a growing resistance among the teachers for the students with special needs
school, against the iPads. The teachers were frustrated because of the chaos the iPad
could bring into the classroom. The students’ lack of ability to concentrate determined
that the teachers had to change from using creative and productive apps to using only
training apps with a tight instructional design. The teachers felt a loss of control in the
learning processes and could not see the benefits of teaching special students with iPads.
Furthermore the teachers all felt it difficult finding relevant educational content, which
came out to be a significant barrier for the use of iPads in both schools.

The empirical data was obtained and held up against Hooper and Rieber’s model for ICTadoption
development to be able to determinate the didactical improvement of the
teachers. This improvement model is based on levels, which define to what point teachers
are adopting ICT, this model could be questioned as an outdated approach to interpreting
meaningfulness. The understanding of ’didactical’ is related to a didactical theory -
Didaktik 2.0 – and the theory operates with several categories to embrace the complexity
of a teacher practise. This approach is used to gain knowledge and make conclusions
about the educational capabilities of iPad adoption and the didactical improvement of the
teacher - it is discussed weather this didactical approach is suitable when the teaching is
aimed towards students with special needs.

Thesis in Master of Science in Information Technology,
Specializing in: ICT, Learning and Organizational Change
By Stine Bøgh & Lars Westh
Publication date31 Jul 2013
Number of pages81
ID: 78860989