Does a Creative Learning Medium Matter? Impact of Low Cost Android Tablets on Elementary Students’ English Comprehension, Perceived Performance and Memory Retention


Introduction: Android tablet is a relatively newer and cheaper portal electronic device that can be used as a creative learning tool in elementary school setting compared with laptop. However, the effect of Android tablet on students’ learning performance has been rarely studied. Before encouraging schools to implant Android tablet in teaching process, it should be ensured that tablet should at least do no harm on students’ academic performance. This research aims to investigate the impact of an innovative medium—a low cost Android tablet versus paper—on elementary students’ reading comprehension, perceived comprehension performance, and memory retention, and discuss about the implication of the finding and future directions. Method: In Study 1, 18 fourth-graders and 36 sixth-graders read 2 grade-appropriate passages on either a tablet or paper and completed related comprehension tests, then assessed their perceived performance. In Study 2, 16 first-graders attempted to memorize 25 pictures displayed on tablets while another 12 first-graders attempted to memorize 25 pictures displayed on paper. After 1 minute filler activity, participants were shown 50 pictures and asked to identify those they had attempted to memorize. Results: In Study 1, results showed that fourth-graders comprehended better when reading on paper, whereas sixth-graders scored similarly on both media. An interaction effect between “medium” and “gender” was found in the perceived performance of fourth-graders, with boys reporting higher perceived performance when using tablets. In Study 2, first-graders experienced better memory retention when they viewed pictures on paper. Conclusion: The introduction of Android tablets in the classroom did not have a significant negative impact on sixth-graders’ reading comprehension. However, some caution is required when introducing tablets to first-graders and fourth-graders because of the negative effect found in this study. It should also be noted that the use of tablets may enhance the confidence of grade 4 boys during comprehension tasks, but the confidence of grade 4 girls engaged in the same activities may be deteriorated.

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El-Mouelhy, I. , Poon, I. , Hui, A. and Sue-Chan, C. (2013) Does a Creative Learning Medium Matter? Impact of Low Cost Android Tablets on Elementary Students’ English Comprehension, Perceived Performance and Memory Retention. Creative Education, 4, 42-50. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.412A2007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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