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Digital scribes: A qualitative study of graduate students who brought iPads into their academic lives

, , University of Northern Colorado, United States

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Volume 24, Number 4, ISSN 1055-8896 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


The purpose of this qualitative research was to examine how graduate students at one institution used personal iPads to support their educational needs. This study specifically addressed the questions: What do graduate students describe as the important educational benefits of their iPads? In what ways are graduate students using iPads to study course material, complete assignments, and conduct research? The researchers chose a qualitative case study design in order to examine the use of this technology in authentic learning situations. The data were drawn from interviews with the students, classroom observations, and select artifacts. The study took place at a mid-sized university in the western United States. Each participant was a graduate student in the university's college of education who owned an iPad that he/she used in classes or other educational settings. During the course of the study (15 weeks), 12 graduate students that fit the criteria were identified and participated in the research. The qualitative data for the 12 participants resulted in four shared themes. They were: 1) Affordances, 2) Access to Written Materials, 3) Access to Internet Resources and Services, and 4) Creation of Educational Materials. Each theme is described in detail with supporting data and related literature.


Alyahya, S. & Gall, J. (2015). Digital scribes: A qualitative study of graduate students who brought iPads into their academic lives. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 24(4), 385-401. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .


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