BOSTON, MA (CBS) – A lot of research has been done on the effects of too much “screen-time,” but a new study is putting a positive light on tech in terms of learning.
According to researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), iPads are actually better than traditional teaching methods when it comes to helping students learn about space.
The reason, scientists say, comes down to scale.
“Pretend you are going to make a scale model with a basketball representing the Earth and a tennis ball as the moon. How far would you put the tennis-ball moon from the basketball Earth? Most people would place them at arms’ length from each other, but the answer may surprise you: At that scale, the balls would need to be almost 30 feet apart,” a release on the study explains.
To come to their conclusions, the Harvard-Smithsonian researchers looked at “gains in learning among 152 students who used iPads to explore simulated space” and compared them to more than a thousand students who used more traditional approaches by asking the students questions about space, including many that focused on understanding scale.
Scientists found that while students taught with traditional methods had made no gains in understanding, those who used iPads to learn showed strong gains.
According to the researchers, those findings might be beneficial for teaching concepts in many scientific fields because “students similarly struggle with concepts of scale when learning ideas in biology, chemistry, physics, and geology.”
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