Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Mathematics (Mathematics Education Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Committee Chair

James Hirstein

Commitee Members

Matthew Roscoe, David Patterson, Ke Wu, Georgia Cobbs


Elementary Educational Technology, Elementary Student Mathematics Attitudes, iPad, One-to-One Device Program


The University of Montana


Currently, many schools are implementing one-to-one initiatives, where the goal is to give every student in a classroom a tablet or laptop computer. However, there is a dearth of research backing up the assumption that they significantly improve student learning. This study explored the effects of these new instructional devices by focusing on two second-grade classrooms implementing a one-to-one iPad program. Specifically, it investigated how iPad usage affects student and teacher attitudes toward mathematics, student mathematics performance in and out of app environments, the instructional purposes for which iPads are used in the classroom, and implementation issues of the technology. This primarily observational study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to capture a picture of an active program to serve as a source for further questions that may be better answered by experimenting with different treatments. Quantitative data was gathered on student performance in two apps, Addimal Adventure and Splash Math 2nd Grade, as well on the frequency and type of iPad usage. Qualitative data came from interviews with six students and two teachers near the beginning and end of the four month research period. While students generally reported they enjoyed doing mathematics on the iPad, half preferred paper and pencil. Teachers believed iPads helped students stay engaged in mathematics longer, resulted in more time spent on task, and enabled more differentiated instruction. Students performed better on quizzes for both apps than they had in either app environment. While the scores were positively correlated with varying degrees of strength, no evidence was found that app progress significantly explained student quiz scores. It was also found that iPads were being used in two different modes of instruction: free choice and focused. Based on these results, the education community needs to provide additional support to teachers, including technical and pedagogical trainings, focused apps for various skills, and a feedback channel for teachers to quickly report problems to developers. With an active and engaged support structure, educators can take advantage of the technological abilities of these devices and create a more responsive and differentiated environment of mathematics learning than has previously been feasible.



© Copyright 2015 Grant Patrick Swicegood