Among the many questions I am hoping to answer through this iPad Pilot is whether using eBooks as opposed to print books would affect the willingness of students to read. I know that for me having my iPad with my school books on it allows me to get to them more quickly when I want to check or confirm something. Where I might not get up and go down the basement to the bookshelves, I will definitely check on the iPad. On the other hand, I am not as prone to using the iPad for playing games while (gasp) I suspect my students are.

So I made a chart for both sections, the iPad and the non-iPad class. It’s anonymous and simply asks students to make a check in one of three columns regarding the amount they read: ‘None’, ‘Some’, ‘Most to All’. Hardly statistically sound, I realize, but enough to give me a snapshot. So here they are.

In the non-iPad class, over five classes of reading, 25 of 91 checks were in the ‘none’ column, 29 of 91 in the ‘some’ column, and 37 of 91 in the ‘most to all’ column. In the iPad class, over six classes of reading, 21 of 85 checks were in the ‘none’ column, 22 of 85 in the ‘some’ column, and 42 of 85 in the ‘most to all’ column.

Percentage-wise, those numbers break down as follows: in the non-iPad class, 27% reported having read none, 32% having read some, and 41% having read most to all. In the iPad class, 25% reported having read none, 26% having read some, and 49% having read most to all.

For some statistical context, I tabulated the mean and median GPAs for each class. The non-iPad class’s mean GPA = 2.83; median = 2.93. The iPad class’s mean GPA = 2.95; the median = 2.91. I will thus conclude (more on my conlcusions below) that using eBooks has a slightly positive effect on reading completion.

When I was tabulating all of these numbers, I of course figured I would go to the experts in the math department. So I ran the numbers by one of our stats teachers (thank you, MD), who, unfortuntely for us, proclaimed (unsurprisingly) that the statistical sample, taking into consideration the standard deviation, was too small to draw any viable conclusions. Which I hate to admit I understood on a more intuitive level but, let’s be honest, how often do I get to use numbers this way? So I present them here for each to make of what they will.