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Students using handheld computers to learn collaboratively in a first-grade classroom

, Drexel University, United States

Drexel University . Awarded


This ethnographic study investigated how first grade students used handheld computers to learn in collaboration with others throughout the learning process. This research focused specifically on how the use of handheld computers impacts students' learning outcomes and relates to technology standards.

A qualitative methodology was used to capture detailed descriptions of 23 first grade students' experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and interactions while they used handheld computing devices to learn. Data collection included observations, interviews, and student artifacts. The researcher observed students while they used handheld computers to learn. She also conducted informal small group interviews to capture the students' and teacher's perspectives. The researcher collected and analyzed student artifacts which included items from the students' handheld computers, items beamed from one handheld computer to another, and documents they created on paper as a result of work completed on the handheld computer. Documents were assessed according to content standards and technology standards.

The results are that students achieved learning outcomes while using handheld computers. The students learned content through collaboration with others. The students also met technology standards through individual discovery and collaborating with peers.

The researcher stated five conclusions. Handheld computers facilitated collaborative learning which in turn helped the students learn content and meet technology standards. The students themselves said that the handheld computers helped them learn content and technology. The teacher's role is critically important as a facilitator in providing support for helping students learn to use the handheld computers. The discovery approach of teaching students how to use the handheld computers leads to independent learning.

This study is significant for several reasons. This study supports and extends various studies. The students learned how to use the handheld computers in a holistic nature. Students used reflective thinking about their use of technology. This study contributes to the expanding group of researchers who are looking at technology and learning using a qualitative approach.


Fritz, M.L. Students using handheld computers to learn collaboratively in a first-grade classroom. Ph.D. thesis, Drexel University. Retrieved March 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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Cited By

  1. Collaborative Software and Focused Distraction in the Classroom (Revised)

    Steve Rhine, Willamette University, United States; Mark Bailey, Pacific University, United States

    Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Vol. 19, No. 4 (October 2011) pp. 423–447

  2. The Teacher’s Leadership Role in Facilitating One-to-One Computing in an Elementary Classroom

    Megan Fritz, Penn State Great Valley, United States

    Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2007 (Mar 26, 2007) pp. 1489–1491

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