Does the Learning Medium Matter? And, Reducing the Digital Divide

In 2012, Animoca and Outblaze donated 49 7-inch Android 4.0 tablets (Ainol Novo7 Paladin) to a Hong Kong element school in need of mobile touch computing resources. To investigate the impact of tablets used in that local school and advocates addressing the problem of the digital divide from an early age, ThinkBlaze, sponsored by Animoca and Outblaze, worked with the City University of Hong Kong to come up with a report titled with “Does the Learning Medium Matter? A Study on the Use of Low-cost Tablets in the Classroom, and Observations on the Digital Divide”.

As the report is pretty long, here is a brief summary to give you a basic idea of the finding:


Reading comprehension: fourth-grade students scored higher when reading on paper than on tablet, whereas grade 6 students scored similarly on both media.

Perceived performance: fourth- and sixth-grade students who completed the reading comprehension tests reported their perceived performance. We found an interaction effect between “medium” and “gender” in the perceived performance of fourth-graders: boys reported higher perceived performance when reading on tablets, while girls reported higher perceived performance when reading on paper. Among the sixth-graders we found no statistically significant differences between paper and tablet use for perceived performance scores.

Memory retention: first-grade students who attempted to memorize a set of images presented on paper and on tablets obtained higher correct memory scores when they viewed the images on paper; however, their lower scores when using tablets could be explained by experimental procedure (see discussion).

Academic performance: the teachers of grades 1, 4 and 6 students participating in this study reported no effect on academic performance after one month of regular in-class tablet use, although we suspect that longer exposure is necessary to determine the impact of tablets on academic performance.


We strongly recommend reading the whole report because it provides some important information and background that are highly relevant to the above results.


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