Measuring the impact of using mobile devices on student learning in an outdoor science classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of using mobile devices on student learning in outdoor science instruction. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to determine if there was a measurable change in student mastery of content and in students' attitudes towards science instruction outdoors. Additionally, the study aimed to discover if students' use of mobile devices facilitated self-guided learning. The intervention took place over an eight-week period in the winter of 2015, involving 33 seventh grade science students at New Canaan Country School, an independent suburban day school in New Canaan, CT. During the intervention, students completed a unit in the field on forest ecosystem structure and function. One group used mobile devices for tasks in the field while the other group worked without devices. During the second field unit on winter adaptations, the intervention switched so that by the end of both units of instruction, each group had used mobile devices. Assessments were administered during and after each unit; students also completed attitude surveys and questionnaires, and they participated in interviews.




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