Do Students Really Use iPads for Studying?

With all the back-to-school hype these days we were curious, do students really use their iPads for studying? Or is it just marketing people telling freshmen’s parents that a New $600 iPad is an investment they owe their children?

Despite the fact that some schools integrate iPads into their educational process, a recent study published by Usability News of Wichita State University claims that iPads are all but a study tool for college students in the US. The researches asked groups of students and non-students about how often they perform various activities with their iPads.

Top 3 most frequent activities by students:

  1. Social networking
  2. Playing games
  3. Listening to audio (it is unknown whether it is lecture recordings or iTunes songs)

Other activities are chatting, taking photos or videos, posting and editing photos.

Compare that list to top 3 activities for the non-students group:

  1. Reading news
  2. Reading eMagazines
  3. Reading eBooks

Predominant popularity of reading on the iPad among non-students does not necessarily mean they use it for smarter activities than students.The research refers reading to entertainment like playing games or listening to music, calling it ‘literacy entertainment’, while students’ activities are called ‘active entertainment’. Still, the absence of reading of any sort among student activities is a dangerous fact by itself and unfortunately the survey does not mention whether students input any information or take notes with their iPads.

Probably schools and universities should take students’ habits into consideration when developing effective educational programs that integrate iPads. Today’s elementary students will definitely utilize some yet unknown touch (or thought?) devices for their degree pursuit but right now laptop PCs and Macbooks remain the primary school device and while it is so, MS Office dominates the student market.

Source: Usability News

Photo credit: Brad Flickinger

5 thoughts on “Do Students Really Use iPads for Studying?

  1. I'm in grad school, and I LOVE taking my ipad to school with me. :)

    I read most of our journal articles on my ipad as PDFs and I take most of my class and meeting notes on my ipad. Saves me having to carry around loads of paper and notebooks and is super convenient.



  2. Hi Alex,

    Great article. It’s about time schools go out of the box and introduce more learning platforms with digital media.

    On the other hand, I’d like to share an article to be written by me which is a good sequel to this post.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Allie, sorry that we kept you waiting for so long.
      Your idea is great! We’ll be glad to publish your article:-)
      As a little “thank you” we’ll be happy to give you a promo code for Outline v.2.5 for iPad!
      Please, contact us:

  3. I have been using my iPad for taking notes in class and meetings. I am currently working on a Master’s of Computer Science and I find carrying my iPad much better than carrying around an old-fashioned notebook computer. After testing the iPad as a replacement for a notebook computer for a month, I ditched the notebook computer althogether! As much as I can I seek out electronic textbooks instead of heavy textbooks so that I can always have the textbook with me. I used to have a Tablet PC in the past, and until the iPad I was still looking for a better solution to my mobile computing needs. It is a shame that Microsoft was there ten years earlier and got no where.

    • Hey James,
      thanks for sharing your experience with us! We also find iPad way better than standard PC. That’s why Outline decided to occupy the iOS platform:-)
      Now looking backwards, that’s pretty hard to imagine how the world could do without such a handy gadget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>