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Using Educational Applications on tablets to Support Science Learning Among First-Grade Saudi Primary School Children

Alahmari, Sarah (2019) Using Educational Applications on tablets to Support Science Learning Among First-Grade Saudi Primary School Children. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Alahmari Sarah - final version.pdf
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Abstract

Multi-touch tablets and educational apps provide young learners with opportunities to support science learning, rarely offered by traditional science teaching methods such as the chalk and talk method, which is heavily employed in Saudi schools. In many developed countries such as United States and Canada the use of tablets in classrooms has increased when compared with other mobile devices due to the educational advantages of tablets’ unique affordances (Fritschi & Wolf, 2012). To date, research conducted on using tablets as educational tools and the potential of educational apps, especially with reference to science learning among children, is insufficient. The aim of this research therefore, was to explore the role of educational apps on tablets’ potential to support science learning and engagement among first-grade Saudi children, as well as to investigate the challenges encountered in implementing mobile learning to support science education. To fulfil this aim, I designed and carried out an interpretative study in a first-grade class in a private school in Riyadh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I employed a qualitative approach to obtain deep and extensive understanding of mobile learning. I adopted social-constructivist theory to underpin my study. To collect data, I utilized semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant observation. The current study involved 17 female students between 6 and 7 years old. The data was examined by inductive thematic analysis. The findings indicated that these young learners’ experiences of learning using educational and gamified apps was both personally enjoyable and meaningful. It highly engaged them emotionally and cognitively. Furthermore, social interactions between peers regarding apps’ contents and activities scaffolded their science learning and constructed their personal understanding. Also, these findings suggest that animations and multimodal apps provided children with unique learning experiences regarding abstract scientific concepts and assisted them in gaining new knowledge. Mobile apps afforded the children scaffolds and challenges in proper balance, which maintained their motivation, helped them solve problems, and promoted persistence and risk-taking. The findings of this thesis will provide science teachers, policymakers, researchers, and app developers with an understanding of the potential impact of tablets’ affordances and apps’ educational advantages in supporting and facilitating science learning and their roles in encouraging engagement and scaffolding. Which might encourage science teachers to change the traditional methods that they use in teaching science and employ mobile learning and other modern methods.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Depositing User: sarah abdullah alahmari
Date Deposited: 29 May 2020 15:35
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 15:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/27022

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