Literature Review


Literature Review : Student engagement with iPad

Vonn Miller 

EDLD 5305 Lamar University



We see students using mobile devices every day. Often almost every waking hour. Students are ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, and they look to institutions and instructors for opportunities and encouragement to do so (Dahlstrom et al., 2013). In recent years many colleges have addressed students’ expectations and opportunities for learning transformation by providing all faculty and students with an iPad (Cardullo & Clark, 2020).  One advantage of providing all students the iPad as a mobile device for learning is universal access for all learners (Grabiec, 2016).   Additionally, iPad 1:1 integrations address digital equity by ensuring that every student, regardless of socioeconomic status, language, race, geography, physical restrictions, cultural background, gender, or other attributes historically associated with inequities, has equitable access to advanced technologies, communication and information resources, and the learning experiences they provide (Hughes, 2013, p.27). As the level of technology and features increases, the iPad becomes a more accepted player in higher performance majors like art, music, audio video and augmented reality.


While many schools showed interest in the use of mobile iOS devices for learning by attending the Connected events at Abilene Christian University (Abilene Christian University, 2011).   Most came around the idea when the iPad was introduced in 2010. Since then hundreds of university programs have started using iPad (Cardullo & Clark, 2020).  Institutions have embraced the idea of building programs and physical spaces around the improving technology of the iPad. They save money by not building current technology into the space, but building the space around the advancing technology (Oblinger, 2004).  Several institutions have made these 


decisions for academic results and have achieved a greater benefit for their communities through better graduation rates, increased student job placement and interest from alumni and grants. (Northwest Kansas Technical College, 2012). 


Lynn University’s experience since providing all students with iPads is that students are more engaged and “the things that we’re requiring from students from an outcomes standpoint was enhanced by all these tools” (Lynn University, 2019). the iPads provide.  In this situation, engagement refers to how involved or interested students appear to be in their learning and how connected they are to their classes, their institutions and each other (Tong et al., 2018).  Students need to do the work required to learn. We can help them by setting up conditions for active learning. By being active participants in their own learning, students build their own minds at the level of involvement required for engaged learning (Barkley, 2009).  According to Anderson University, “students are empowered to take ownership of their learning, find their voice, and develop their creativity in their academic experiences. Through thoughtful instructional design and the integration of technology, students develop those skills through a wide variety of course- and content-specific apps and their iPad. ” (Deaton, 2017, p. 7) The applications are becoming more and more sophisticated and the iPad provides a broader canvas for creativity.


Students can create works of art including painting, drawing, video and audio, with applications for first time users or more experienced creators.  Even those new to iPad can use simple but powerful tools like Apple’s iMovie and progress to a full featured non-linear editor 


like Luma Fusion by Luma Touch LLC. (Morrison, 2018, November 19).  The iPad makes available on one hand-held device an amazing range of musical technologies (microphones, speakers, sound mixers, and the like) (Chong, 2012, p.42). Even professional music producers are using iPad to create music anywhere (Morrison et al., 2018, November 23). More mobile than laptops, iPads can more easily be used for new technologies like augmented reality. “Students who design an AR simulation for an artwork will display a significant increase in perception of  visual design forms when compared to students who engage similar projects without the AR design context.” (Abilene Christian University, 2013, p. 12).  


While Educause studies suggest more students are using laptops, (Brooks, 2016).  With the advent of the iPad Pro, the lines are blurring between high performance and greater mobility. Educause has also recommended that institutions prioritize the development of mobile-friendly resources and activities that students say are important (Dahlstrom, 2012).  Another ACU study showed laptop users are focused around class time and the Tuesday/Thursday class schedule, while iPad users demonstrate more widely distributed use patterns.(Abilene Christian University, 2011).


Clearly students are using mobile devices like iPad more frequently and for more diverse and personal learning experiences. The technology is getting stronger and encompassing fields at the high end of creative works. It’s an important time to be an education leader, and the opportunity for making a positive impact on your school is greater than ever. (Apple, 2020).  Schools have discovered the advantages of the iPad as a mobile, equitable information access 


device for all learners and an ever expanding creative platform for teaching innovation for instructors. The innovative use of the iPads in the classroom can enhance critical thinking, student collaboration, and classroom participation (McBeth et al., 2015). and overall engagement.



Abilene Christian University. (2011a).  Abilene Christian university 2010-2011 Mobile Learning Report. pp.26-27

Abilene Christian University. (2011b).  Abilene Christian university 2010-2011 Mobile Learning Report. p.31

Abilene Christian University. (2013).  2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report. ACU Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, p.12

Apple, Inc. (2020).  Excerpt: Designing for the Future of School. Apple, Inc., p.1 

Retrieved from

Barkley, E. F. (2009). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass., p. 23

Brooks, D. (2106). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2016. (Research Report Summary) Louisville, CO: ECAR, October 2016. , pp. 8-10

Cardullo, V. M. & Clark, L. L. (2020a). Exploring Faculty and Student iPad Integration in Higher Education. In Management Association, I. (Ed.), Mobile Devices in Education: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice, pp. 752-772

Cardullo, V. M. & Clark, L. L. (2020b). Exploring Faculty and Student iPad Integration in Higher Education. In Management Association, I. (Ed.), Mobile Devices in Education: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice, pp. 752-772

Chong, E. (2012). Contemplating Composition Pedogogy in the iPad Era. Weller, J., Paper presented at the Draft Proceedings of the 19th International Seminar of the Commission for 


the Education of the Professional MusicianInternational Society for Music Education, Athens, Greece.

Deaton, B. (2017).  Anderson University: Mobile Learning Initiative. Anderson University, p. 7

Dahlstrom, E. (2012).  ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012. (Research Report) Louisville, CO: ECAR, September 2012. , pp. 9-16

Dahlstrom, E., Walker J.D. & Dziuban C. (2013).  ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013. (Research report) Louisville, CO: ECAR, September 2013. , p.5 

Grabiec, J. (2016).  iCan with iOS. : Jenny Grabiec. p.3

Hughes, J. E. (2013).  Preparing 21st century teachers : the relationship of technology integration, digital equity, and the preparation of new teachers (Doctoral dissertation). The University of Texas at Austin. p.27  Retrieved from

Lynn University. (2019).  Engage. Elevate. Expand. Lynn University, Introduction video. Apple Books.  Retrieved from

McBeth, M. K., Turley-Ames, K., Youngs, Y. L., Ahola-Young, L., & Brumfield, A. (2015). The iPad Pilot Project: A Faculty Driven Effort to Use Mobile Technology in the Reinvention of the Liberal Arts. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 4(1), pp.1-21

Morrison, J. (2018, November 19). I tried to edit an ENTIRE video on iPad Pro… . Retrieved from


Morrison, J. (Producer), Henderson, J. (Creator), Lewis, K. (Creator). (2018, November 23). Audio Engineer tries to MIX MUSIC on iPad Pro. . Retrieved from 

Northwest Kansas Technical College. (2012).  Northwest Kansas Technical College – Self Study. pp. 115-123  Retrieved from

Oblinger, D. (2004). Leading the transition from classrooms to learning spaces. Educause Learning Initiative, pp. 1-2  Retrieved from

Tong, V., Standen, A., Sotiriou, M. (2018). Shaping Higher Education with Students Ways to Connect Research and Teaching: UCL Press, p.3 

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