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Research on tablets for learning

Posted by Shelley Mannion on | May 25, 2011 | 12 Comments

Samsung Galaxy Tab 715w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" running the Junaio AR browser

Here at the British Museum’s Samsung Digital Discovery Centre, we are about to acquire a set of Samsung Galaxy Tabs for a large scale education project. The project will involve museum visits by 700 secondary school students (age 12-13) in June/July 2011. The students will complete a two-part activity: 

  1. Completing an AR/web-based game activity on the Tabs in the galleries; 
  2. Making films in our digital center based on the data they collect through the game.

Since we have such a large number of participants doing the same activity in a short space of time, we are keen to use this as an opportunity to gather research data on how technology facilitates learning in museums and the use of Tabs in galleries. (We are less interested in evaluating the film making activity.) It would be incredibly helpful to have input on what our research questions should be and how to structure our study.

Our intial brainstorm yielded the following questions:

  • How does location-based AR interface help participants find objects in galleries?
    (And do they enjoy that experience?)
  • How does technology encourage discussion around objects?
  • What is the nature of those discussions and how is the app/device talked about?
  • How do groups of students make use of a large-screen mobile device?
    (e.g., do they pass it around, does one person take control, can they all see the screen, etc.)
  • Does using the device challenge their preconceptions of what a gallery activity is about?

We could potentially gather data in the following ways:

  • Quantitative stats from the mobile app
    (e.g., how many page views, time taken to complete the game activity, etc.)
  • Observations of how groups use the devices/work together
  • Listen in, capture and categorize types of conversations among group members
  • Interviews with participants directly after the activity
  • Interviews with participants two weeks after the activity

Suggestions about what/how we could flesh out these initial thoughts are most welcome! Research will begin in mid-June 2011.


12 Responses to “Research on tablets for learning”

  1. Research on tablets for learning : MuseumMobile Wiki | swipe I like
    May 25th, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    […] Research on tablets for learning : MuseumMobile Wiki. […]

  2. Richard Abbott
    June 8th, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    I wish I’d seen this earlier! It’s exactly the kind of thing that interests me as someone interested in ancient history/egyptology and also mobile/tablet development. See
    for an app on the development of the early alphabet in the second millennium.

  3. Kate Haley Goldman
    June 8th, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    How cool. I haven’t played with the Tab before.
    Can you give us a little more about the project? Specifically, is the goal of the exercise to try out the tabs in different use cases? Or is this formative testing for what will be an established project? Is the core goal for them to talk more about objects in general or to focus in on specific objects? What is the experience supposed to feel like?
    Will you try and hit more than one of the research questions from your initial brainstorm or just one?
    Again, exciting.

  4. Ranti Junus
    June 9th, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    This sounds like a very interesting project.

    The questions and data gathering plans sounds good. To me, question no.2 (how does technology encourage discussions around objects) really depends on how the information about the object is written and presented. I suspect typical object labeling (“this is an object from that village built in this year”) won’t generate much discussions. Another angle that you probably can take is whether using a technology would encourage more discussions compare to not using a technology.

    Good luck and have fun! 🙂


  5. Mickey Maley
    June 9th, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    We are about to obtain a few iPads for our Public Floor Programs at the Franklin Institute in the United States (Philadelphia, PA). I am very interested to hear what your results will be as I am sure they will be useful to other Science and Technology centers as this technology becomes more integrated into our everyday lives.

    Will you be looking to see where the discussions go? Sort of how Wikipedia ties in the ability to go from topic to topic as you want more information. Something in one of your galleries could spark a discussion that leads to something deeper in science.

  6. James
    June 10th, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    I suggest adding some considering of accessibility. For example how does giving a visually impaired visitor a tablet improve their ability to learn about the item and take part in the discussion.
    Consider other disabilities such as hearing impaired and learning difficulties.

  7. Around the web and back to teknolearning | teknolearning
    August 7th, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

    […] The British Museum is conducting some research into how tablets could change the face of learning. […]

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    November 30th, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    […] British Museum. Samsung Digital Learning Centre: AR gaming with children […]

  9. Aaron
    January 23rd, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    ANy follow up on this? How did it go? I’m trying to get a set of tablets–maybe Galaxy Tabs– for our education programme. We are a regional museum in NZ so funding is a problem–we’ll get there though

  10. Jordan Poulton
    June 29th, 2012 @ 6:44 am

    As per Aaron’s comment – Is it possible to see the results from this?


  11. Beyond Cool: Making Mobile Augmented Reality Work for Museum Education | ubinote
    February 15th, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    […] project provided the opportunity for formal evaluation ( of how groups work together with tablet-sized mobile devices, what specifically AR adds to […]

  12. Touch Screen Kiosk Games
    September 23rd, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

    Tablets and phone apps are great for learning/teaching. We don’t see them replacing touch screens in museums but see them as a compliment. We’re working on several projects that require a hybrid approach to the multimedia and we expect this approach to become more and more popular.

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