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ERIC Number: EJ1078171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1436-4522
Engaging or Distracting: Children's Tablet Computer Use in Education
McEwen, Rhonda N.; Dubé, Adam K.
Educational Technology & Society, v18 n4 p9-23 2015
Communications studies and psychology offer analytical and methodological tools that when combined have the potential to bring novel perspectives on human interaction with technologies. In this study of children using simple and complex mathematics applications on tablet computers, cognitive load theory is used to answer the question: how successful are tablet computer educational applications at directing children's attention towards intrinsic and germane content? An eye tracker collected gaze data and cognitive tasks were performed to assess memory and attention. The results show that simple applications are able to direct a child's attention to intrinsic and germane content, regardless of the child's cognitive ability. Children assessed as high executive functioning found the germane content of the complex applications helpful whereas children assessed as lower executive functioning did not take advantage of the germane content. Claims that the cognitive structure of the individual is intimately linked to the forms or systems of communication used were partially supported. The research showed that tablet computers and their applications offer a learning experience that appears to be inherently highly interactive--thereby introducing challenges to the cognitive load of children as users.
International Forum of Educational Technology & Society. Athabasca University, School of Computing & Information Systems, 1 University Drive, Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3, Canada. Tel: 780-675-6812; Fax: 780-675-6973; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A