Understanding learner attitudes towards the use of tablets in a blended learning classroom
In 2004, the South African Department of Education (DoE) published the White Paper on E-Education. The aim of the E-Education White Paper was to ensure that South African learners could use education communication technologies (ECT) skilfully by 2013. However, these goals have not been met and a significant digital divide exists between learners with and without access to ET. The lack of consideration of intra- and inter-personal factors such as attitudes in the rollout of ET has often been cited as one of the reasons for the present lack of ET integration and uptake in schools. Hence, this study contributes to this gap in research by exploring attitudes towards the use of iPads in a sample of South African learners in a blended learning environment. A demographic questionnaire and the ET Attitudes Scale were administered to a convenience sample of 285 learners from a private school in the Johannesburg area. Descriptive statistics, ANOVAs and thematic analysis were used to analyse the results. From the findings, it was evident that overall learners were more positive than negative about the integration of iPads in school. However, this pattern differed across the grades with lower grades demonstrating better attitudes towards the use of iPads in terms of enjoyability, ease of use and usefulness. These results suggest that ET attitudes do have a role to play in order to ensure the successful implementation and adoption of ET by learners and should be considered in policy and practice.