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Mobile Learning Initiative

Public Group active 9 years, 9 months ago

This is a new programme from the Design and Deliver team (Neal Baker, Jennie Kiffmeyer, Mark Pearson, Jason Robbins) to put some ‘cutting edge’ technology into the hands of faculty in order to leverage pedagogic benefits over the longer term.

by Neal

Faculty Reflection on iPads: Additional

May 15, 2012 in general by Neal

Here are remarks from Jay Roberts in the context of questions posed by the Design & Deliver team:

  • How would you rate your overall iPad experience? Why? …. “Excellent. I am increasingly seeing and experiencing how the iPad is normalizing itself into my work flow. I am almost entirely paperless now as I take notes with it, I grade papers, and read articles and books. I can imagine this will increasingly be the case as I continue to integrate my work life into its interface via things such as dropbox, iannotate, notesplus, etc. As an example, I went to AERA– largest ed conf in the world and they had an iPad app for the conference– it completely changed my conference experience being able to search for sessions, make notes, and call up various pdf’s of papers at sessions, etc. The applications of this sort of thing educationally on campus are endless.”
  • Did it meet with your expectations? Please give an example of a surprise and a disappointment you experienced …. “Surprise: notes plus and iannotate and how useful they are to me daily. Disappointment: powerpoint, word doc, typing, etc. Just is not a good tool for this (my laptop wins here hands down).”
  • Did the iPad have a pedagogical impact on your teaching? …. “Not really. It has work and productivity impacts but not really pedagogical ones. I had a hard time seeing how it could really change or improve the learning experience of my students. I used it a few times to take pics of things on the board. One time, I used it to show a quick video clip to the class spur of the moment. Those things I suppose were useful.”
  • What were some creative and engaging approaches to teaching with this technology? …. “See above.”
  • What about feasibility? (i.e. Did the work you planned to do with the iPad go as planned, on time?) …. “Very feasible- not a lot of technical glitches, etc.”
  • How would a second year of iPad implementation look like to you? …. “Again, I would argue that tablets seem to have a productivity impact and less of a pedagogical one (but that just may be me). It could help us reduce paper waste, we could leverage apps more creatively (how about an Earlham iPad app for prospectives and students?). But, honestly, giving one to teaching faculty with the assumption that it impacts pedagogy is a bit of a reach to me.”
  • How can the Design and Deliver (D&D) team–along with Earlham’s ITAM, ITS, and the Libraries–improve upon this experience for future pilot programs? …. “I liked the idea of a blog but like so many things at EC it starts with a bang and ends with a whimper. No one to keep the feet to the fire and because the blog is so buried in our technological interfaces I completely forgot about it. With all the “static” in the air it is really hard to cut through it to the point of user awareness. This is why I don’t really like the EC internal blog interface (and why I am just replying by email because I can’t even remember how to post on that blog). Its just one more thing to keep track of. Twitter seems much more useful to me as a catalyst for faculty collaboration and community building for that reason. It is short, quick, and you can track multiple conversations quickly at the same time.”
  • Your feedback is critical. It has been a pleasure working with you as part of the Mobile Learning Initiative, and we look forward to working with you in future projects …. “Thanks for experimenting! We don’t know what works until we try a lot of different approaches. I fully support these sorts of efforts moving forward.”

by Neal

Faculty Reflection on iPads: Continued

May 15, 2012 in general by Neal

Here are remarks from Kevin Miles:

“Overall the iPad actually delivers the goods in terms of efficiency and practicality.  I still prefer a complete keyboard when making normal responses to student e-mail because I tend to write short essays when doing so, but when making a quick check of my e-mail intending not to make any responses or only relatively short ones the iPad is, in my opinion, to be preferred by far.  It turns on and is ready for use more quickly than my laptop and I am more likely to carry it with me than I am a laptop so that I have more opportunities to check e-mail that I would not have otherwise.

I have never once carried a laptop to faculty meeting even though I have seen a few other colleagues do so.  Since receiving man iPad I always carry it with me to Faculty Meeting and every other committee meeting I attend.  Stout Meeting House needs to be made a wi-fi site in order to make better use of such a device in that space, but despite the fact that reception is hit and miss I have on a couple of occasion been able to open faculty meetings documents while in Stout.  The benefit in saving paper is obvious.

The way I prepare to employ documents in Faculty Meeting is by storing them in “Dropbox.”  I use this app as well for files I prepare every semester for the courses I am teaching.  Prior to using an iPad I would carry a laptop to class only intermittently to make use of it for something I believed was best presented using the in-class projection system.  I now carry an iPad to every class the way in which I would carry my primary source material.  This allows me the luxury of introducing materials that did not occur to me in my class preparations, but suggest themselves as a result of the class discussion.  In the past, depending on how close the classroom was to my office, I might momentarily leave the class to retrieve something from the files in my office, with those same files now loaded in my “Dropbox” I can retrieve them without having to leave the classroom and introduce them into the conversation with a couple of taps on the iPad.  Things come up in classroom conversations that I have not anticipated and frequently I have ideas about passages from some text that I believe speaks to the matter at hand.  One of the ways I would expose these additional materials to the students was by posting them on our Moodle site after the class itself and then send the students an e-mail instructing them to read it.  By being able to immediately expose the students to the additional material and comment on the relevance of its connection during the classroom conversation increases the likelihood that more students will understand the significance of the connection being suggested and, thus, increase the likelihood of their accessing it from the Moodle site on which I can post it even before leaving the classroom.

Additionally, it has been my experience that the in-class projection systems in Carpenter Hall interface with the iPad in a much more straight-forward and efficient manner than my campus laptop.  Granted, my campus laptop never worked properly since the day I received it, so much so that after numerous returns to the folks in our computer services I decided it would be easier to buy my own laptop so as to avoid the daily headache my campus machine gives me.  Not only has the iPad never had any of the several problems of the laptop I have been issued, it works like a charm with the in-class projection systems in Carpenter.  Again, I am always only a couple of taps on the screen away from doing whatever it is I intend to do with it in the classroom.  In my view the iPad is worth the price of the ticket for this feature alone.

As well as “Dropbox” I have grown fond of using “Evernote.”  I realize that both of this applications can be used with both laptop and desktop computers and are not exclusive applications for an iPad, but the iPads size and weight relative to a desktop or a laptop makes use of these applications more efficient and practical.  I suppose I could have become aware of them without having made use of an iPad, but it seems to me that I would not have become aware of them as readily nor would I have been as readily aware of how useful these applications are.  These two applications along with a Notepad application have made it much easier for me to keep track of ideas that occur to me in situations that would have previously required me to have paper and pencil handy and, then, to be able to keep track of the pieces of paper that I collect when noting an idea.  Using notepad and “Evernote”  I have been able to organize in the most  systematic way ever my initial notes for a course I will teach next year.  Using the iPad alone I tracked down bibliographic references for books, journal articles, and music, sketched a game plan, and began the syllabus design using snatches of time as time allowed, 15-20 minutes here and there without the bother of having to remember where I put this or that little piece of paper or in what notebook I jotted down that idea.  In this respect the iPad has been of tremendous assistance in my writing.  I have not been accustomed to writing in brief increments and normally could only get any real work done by blocking out large chunks of time exclusively set aside for whatever particular task for which I set the time aside.  The iPad has made me aware that I am, in fact, much more capable than I previously believed of writing in snatches.

The iPad has also made it easier for me to keep track of my schedule.  Students approach me after class and ask to schedule an appointment and I can access my Zimbra calendar and schedule to appointment then and there while also sending them an electronic invitation that will act as a reminder that they have made an appointment to see me.   This feature, of course, has also served me well in keeping me better organized with respect to the meetings I am obliged to attend.  Keeping track of a hard copy calendar and remembering to consult it was a chore in itself in the past, but the iPad has taken on so wide a role in so many of the things that I do on a daily basis that it is unlikely that I will go a full work day without consulting it for something which increases the likeliness that I will consult my calendar both daily and weekly with much more frequency than I did in the past.  I also believe that since using my Zimbra calendar and primarily accessing it through the iPad I have not once double-booked an appointment and that is something I did far too often in the past.

Suffice it to say that I enjoy using the iPad for a wide range of activities.  It plays my music when I am in the car for long drives, I read recipes from it when I am working in the kitchen, I use it for e-mail, reading, and taking pictures I will send via e-mail.  I use it in class and in committee meetings.  I am least likely to use it on weekends when I have a lot of grading I want to do, for that I use a laptop, but otherwise I think the iPad is the device I prefer if for no other reason than its range of power and versatility.”

by Neal

Faculty Reflection on iPads

May 15, 2012 in general by Neal

Here are remarks from James Logan:

“My major initial use for the iPad was that of attempting to write an essay to be published for a Duke Law School journal. This endeavor proved fairly difficulty since word processing functionality is not really an iPad’s  strongest suit. For one thing, utilizing, and keeping on the desktop, more than one app at a time is not possible; this made it difficult to work with multiple sources since one must open and close one at a time.

It was great to have the device in the classroom: accessing, storing and viewing media etc…

One of the most frustrating aspects of using the iPad was that I could never print documents, photos, charts etc. Despite speaking with computer services several times (3) about this, apparently no assistance could be provided in this regard.

So, for the most part, the iPad continues to be most useful in the classroom. It has also been excellent and convenient for accessing library resource materials online, but the printing difficulties made me stop using the iPad for this purpose.”

Final Reflections

May 2, 2012 in general by Katharine

Thank you; thank you for my ipad. I am loving it and I think I am using it effectively both in and out of the classroom.  I had not originally thought that I would use it so much for reading, but I do. It’s more comfortable to hold than using my laptop.  I use it for reading articles for class- and I use iAnnotate to mark significant things. I really love being able to project the article we are discussing on the screen in class and the iPad makes it possible to enlarge particular parts—like the Figures of an article, so even if we are all looking at it together, projecting it and discussing it seems more effective. This is also true for Tables, drawings or photos of stimuli, etc. I download all documents for Faculty Meeting on it which saves paper. We are now using electronic files for FAC and I read those on my ipad.  I also use a Kindle app for reading (mostly for pleasure.. but I have The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on my Kindle) and I read The Week and sometimes the NY Times on the iPad.

I have some specialized apps- I love my 3-D brain app which I’ve used in class. I also have used Sketchbook to good effect and I blogged about that last fall.  I used the Lightning talk timer for student presentations and it was great—sometimes I get involved in the student talks, but because I set it to give a warning 2 mins prior and it turns red and starts flashing, I don’t lose track of time. I haven’t really used Keynote although I checked it out and I also checked out Voice Thread. Voice Thread is easier on the iPad than on the computer because you don’t need a headset, so I may yet get more use out of it.  There are a number of websites that talk about how to use Voice Thread to flip your classroom and I’m intrigued but not convinced. I might experiment.

Mark Stocksdale showed me TeacherPal which I will use in the fall to learn my students’ names and to keep track of attendance.  I used Virtuoso ( a piano keyboard) in my Sensation and Perception class during our session on the auditory system to play some musical notes and illustrate pitch, tempo and rhythm. Since I was using the iPad for the piano keyboard, I also used YouTube on it for various musical videos that illustrated similar concepts, e.g. Ravel’s Bolero.  In my Cognition class, students were drawing a concept map on the board with colored chalk, etc. We weren’t done on Friday, so used my iPad to take pictures of the concept map, email it to the students so they could think about it over the weekend and then we finished the map on Monday (whether they really did think about it over the weekend.. I don’t know. I did).

I use Dropbox to share material with Rachael Reavis, NancyTaylor and my daughter Kendall, and mostly to have access to documents whatever platform I am working on.

Most of the rest of my uses are personal. I loved taking my iPad on vacation and I blogged some about that. I love playing games on it. I sometime watch movies on it. I use Skype on it; I especially like the rear facing camera while skyping.

I still rely on my laptop for showing powerpoint slides for lecture and I probably should work more with Keynote to see if I can use only the ipad in class. I don’t really think I have been disappointed about anything.  I didn’t get Pages because I don’t want to use the ipad for creating documents. I dislike typing on the screen and even though I do now have a keyboard for it, I’d rather write on my laptop than my ipad.

In summary, I think it has enhanced my teaching and I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to discover it. I’m looking forward to discovering more new apps and ways to use them.

by Robert

Mobile Learning Initiative – findings and experiences

May 2, 2012 in general by Robert

I have enjoyed having the iPad for several reasons. It is easier to read PDFs so I can access online journals and read articles easier. There are some applications that I couldn’t have gotten in any other platform (e.g. a human anatomy simulation and Zite, an online magazine that summarizes recent publications in many fields, including neuroscience). There is something about the interface that makes reading PDFs feel less like work than when I read them on my laptop.

But I can’t say that the iPad has made a big impact on my pedagogy. I still use my laptop and PowerPoint to project the graphics that I use during lecture classes. I had hoped to use the iPad as a digital oscilloscope and a small amplifier to display electrical activity in insect nerves, but I never found the time to trouble-shoot the procedure for class or lab settings.  I still bring my laptop to meetings instead of the iPad, mostly out of habit.

In terms of expectations, the iPad met them but didn’t exceed them. I was not expecting it to change my life, and it hasn’t. I was surprised and pleased at how easy it was to interface the iPad with Zimbra. I was surprised and pleased that it was so easy to use it as a reading device for PDFs and online magazines and journals.I was disappointed in my own tendencies to revert to my laptop for most classroom activities.

In terms of feasibility, most of the work I planned to use the iPad for went as planned and without any delay. The only shortcoming was its use as a digital oscilloscope, and that problem was more because of me and my time limits than the device’s.

I was very happy with the Design and Deliver team’s capabilities, advice, workshops, and information-sharing. The few times I needed one-on-one information, the response was excellent. I’m not a blogger, so I wasn’t expecting to send or receive information by that route very much. If access to the blogging environment could be made easier or more automatic (like email) I might use it more. I found the sessions at Faculty Forum to be very informative and fun, and I wish I had been able to participate in them more. I probably don’t use my iPad to the full extent of its capabilities, so more information-sharing opportunities would make the iPad more helpful to me. A second year of the program would be most helpful to me if there could be sessions for promoting creative uses of the iPad, especially in pedagogical settings.

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