iPads, apps and student thinking skill development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In recent years, handheld digital devices such as iPads have become commonplace in many schools in New Zealand. Paralleling this has been discussion about how ubiquitous access to information via these devices, provides an ideal opportunity to support the development of critical, evaluative and reflective thinking skills.

This chapter details a study that probed the nature of student thinking while using iPads and a content-builder app during a literacy learning task. Using a display recording tool, data were captured of students’ physical and oral interactions, that were then analysed using a ‘thinking types’ framework developed from Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy (cognitive domain).

Findings identify the effect of a range of learning ‘resources’ and environmental variables on how well the students are able to apply different thinking types to the content building task. They also challenge historical notions of thinking skills existing hierarchically, but rather being exercised as ‘fit for purpose’ according to the needs of a task. The importance of task knowledge and clear evaluation criteria for encouraging analysis, evaluation and reflection is identified, and discussion of how devices such as iPads may help facilitate this is provided. Several implications are presented for teachers considering using iPads and apps in this way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApps, technology and younger learners
Subtitle of host publicationinternational evidence for teaching
EditorsNatalia Kucirkova, Garry Falloon
Place of PublicationMilton Park
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315682204
ISBN (Print)9781138927872, 9781138927889
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • thinking types
  • collaboration
  • fit-for-purpose
  • knowledge
  • evaluation
  • framework


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