Date of Conferral
Christine K. Sorensen
Although research has identified critical thinking (CT) as an objective of higher education, limited quantitative research has focused on how postsecondary instructors view using handheld devices for classroom collaboration to support CT. There are studies examining how the use of tablet technologies influence collaborative learning (CL), showing a link between CL and CT, and connecting CT to academic achievement. However, understanding how instructors perceive the intersection of these factors has not been well studied. Applying Vygotsky's social cognitive theory as a foundation of CL, using adapted questions from two questionnaires (Technology Acceptance Model and Cooperative Learning Implementation) and two frameworks, this quantitative survey study examined the relationship between tablet application and implementation of CL, and then between CL implementation and the development of CT dispositions (CTD). An email with a link to the survey was sent to a population of 1,932 instructors in a professional education technology organization. From a sample of 59, the key findings indicated instructors accepted the use and usefulness of tablets in the classroom, and used applications for completing collaborative tasks. The Pearson's product moment correlations between tablets and CL, acceptance and implementation appear to be affected by instructor's professional views and teaching practices. Perceptions about the development of CTD were positive with limitations of statistical significance. Results of this study may provide insights into using tablets in effective ways to enhance learning outcomes as one social benefit. Improving the CT of students may support developing citizens who contribute to communities and society in positive ways as lifelong learners.