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iPad for Teaching and Learning

This cloud is set up to collect opinions and resources related to IPad as a tool for education

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Antonella Esposito
30 January 2010

This cloud is set up to collect opinions and resources related to IPad as a tool for teaching and learning. Any ideas for a first pilot? Any concerns? Actually it is not easy to imagine the spread and utilization of a device that to date we only know thanks to a demo show. However, its impact on discourses is already apparent and some traces of new scenarios are emerging even in these early days. I think it is worth reflecting on issues such as: what can an IPad add to the experience of a mobile learner? what kind of (e)learning the IPad will privilege = i.e. + multimedia - conversations? what is its sustainability in an era of funding cuts also in academia? Will the "Everest syndrome" (Maddux) affect educators again, with the advent of IPad? I mean: will we all are willing to use the new device merely because "it's there" available? And so on...Certainly you have better questions on this theme.

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Santanu Vasant
10:35am 31 January 2010

As a Learning Technologist, I like the design of the iPad, but it's lack of things to plugin (due to it being very thin) is a concern. The lack of Flash support, as with the iPod Touch is also a concern. It depends if students buy these technologies, for you to have a pilot. I think the iPad is the Mercedes Benz of Tablet PCs - it's a flashy tablet PC, but doesn't have any more or less functionality over say another Tablet PC on the market now or in two months time when they launch this. I think it's interesting to the HE sector in particular, because now it brings the ideas of mobile learning to the foreground and I think more people should be creating content for mobile devices, after all, most students do have a mobile phone, often a 'smart phone' or at least a laptop / netbook, which I know at the University I work at, is not being used enough for learning.

Antonella Esposito
6:17pm 31 January 2010 (Edited 8:32am 1 February 2010)

Agree with you, Santanu, that design (as usual) is appealing, but some flaws should be fixed in the 'real' product'. Some flash notes:

1) Personally I looked forward having an idea of IPad as an e-reader: what I saw at once recalled to me the series of cd-rom by Voyager (did you remember 'Poetry in Motion'?) produced for and with Apple Mac. That one was a niche product, but an authentic pilot of digital books. Now it seems to me that there is a minor value as an experimental product per se, but a high value in innovating the context by merging the media and creating value network (IBooks, with its pros and cons). I mean: I don't remember who invented the early prototypes of cars, but was Ford who made them a mass product. This is important for education.

2) As a learning technologist in an Italian university I experienced that the spread of the digital devices is never omogeneous both among faculty and students. This constitued a problem - at a micro-level - with any pilots using IPod/MP3 because it implied taking into account many variables of functioning (and difgital literacy) from different devices to be harmonized so that enabling a unique learning activity for all participants. Moreover, I don't think that models of wide (funded) adoption as those ones adopted by the Duke University for IPod Project from 2005 and by the Abilene Chrstian Univesity for IPhone experimentation (see cloudscape ) are applicable in public, large universities. Duke and ACU share three key features: small, private, wealthy. The context in which I have been working is truly different: ownership of devices and computer literacy is patchy and fluctuating.

However, I believe that postgraduate students - particularly in some disciplinary areas in which most are professionals - are likely to be  IPad pioneers. Therefore I suppose that early pilots could start in such contexts.

Santanu Vasant
9:58am 1 February 2010

Yes, lets hope so that in the real product we get something more. I'm personally not sure I will purchase one any time soon. I agree with you, that the idea of the iPad as an e-reader is interesting, although the time in front of a screen, as opposed to an e-ink e-reader, which is better for the eyes.  I don't remember that  CD-ROM, think I might have been very young at that time :)!  Let's hope Steve Job is the Mr Ford of e-readers and tablets! I agree, that in the main, the take up of technologies and therefore their use in Higher Education is patchy, because of wealth.  

Will Pollard
11:29am 1 February 2010

The lack of Flash support could be just one aspect of trouble with Adobe. How is the content created for a new form of book with video and/or music albums with sound tracks and photos? Most creatives are using Adobe methods so Flash will be part of this. In the UK there is a big wait for the books part of the store. Apparently the format will be ePUB, an open standard but with DRM from Apple, another tussle with Adobe perhaps. They offer ePUB DRM through a Reader and a development kit. You may not like DRM anyway. Can you just load your own? No USB connection it seems so I may stick to Sony kit. 

Long ago desktop publishing started with Apple and Adobe working together. Surely they can work something out?  If not this seems to be a bit of a mess.

Santanu Vasant
12:05pm 1 February 2010

The lack of USB connection is a problem - I have a Sony PR505S e-reader (the non-touch screen version) - that's an excellent e-reader, allbeit monochrome. Yes, Apple and Adobe did work together, companies are not doing themselves any favours by making kit that's not compatible!

Tony McNeill
4:23pm 1 February 2010 (Edited 4:23pm 1 February 2010)

Much as I want one - and will convince myself I need one in order to spend £500+ to buy one - I'm not convinced that the iPad is a particularly innovative technology. As some have noted, it has the visuals of the Macbook Pro (glass and aluminium enclosure) with the internal technology of an iPhone/iPod Touch (both of which have been around a couple of years now).

I'm not concerned about the lack of Flash as I'm less interested in academics producing mobile content (I have an aversion to e-learning or m-learning as 'broadcasting') and more interested in these devices as tools that enable participation - e.g. Twitter-enabled backchannels, creating sharing and commenting on content. On this question, the iPad offers less than an iPhone (which has a camera) and no more than most laptops and netbooks beyond aesthetics.

Rebecca Galley
4:45pm 1 February 2010

There was an interesting comment on Twitter last week (sorry I can't remember who posted it - if I find out I will add it) suggesting that the iPad was designed to consume rather than to create material. I find myself agreeing with this and think this impacts on its use as an educational tool - certainly in terms of where the learner/ pupil sits in the process in relation to the information/ content.

Tony McNeill
5:15pm 1 February 2010

Hi Rebecca - really interesting point - it would be great to have the link. Yes, I suspect that a significant slice of Apple's future income stream will come from selling content to be consumed on its devices - songs, videos, apps and now books, newspapers and magazines. But as an ed techie, I want my devices to be able to make things - even if it's just a low-res picture or short audio recording. The iPad's not great for this and, as educationalists, there's little to get excited about (in 5 years time I may be made to eat my words though ... ;-) Btw, you've probably seen it but Charlie Brooker's got a great take on the iPad:

Juliette Culver
5:47pm 1 February 2010

The interesting question I think is whether the iPad essentially makes e-book readers mainstream by being nice enough to use that people enjoy using it (so says somebody who spent a large part of Christmas struggling to get books onto the e-book reader she bought her parents!) A lot of the free educational content out on the web would be be more likely to be read if fewer people had to sit in front of a PC to do it.

Tablet PCs have been used in the classroom for a while now and I know some teachers rave about them (although we actualy don't seem to have much about them on cloudworks unfortunately!) Again, it'd be interesting to see how if the iPad again make that more mainstream.

The fact that the iPad is a device for consuming rather than creating content certainly struck me when somebody mentioned it. You definitely wouldn't want one as your main computer. However, reading isn't always such a bad thing. Most people who write a lot also read a lot after all. I admit that I do often find myself reading things on my iphone sitting on the sofa, and a larger screen would be nice!

Antonella Esposito
6:09pm 1 February 2010

Rebecca, maybe it was this article from the NYT: "To deliver, iPad needs media deals"by David Carr, who states: 'This is a device for consuming media, not creating it'. Indeed my early impression was related to an old cd-rom! As regards to all that we know so far, maybe an iPad classroom wouldn't be veru different form this image: (reported on Twitter by @digitalfprint)

However, I think it will depend a lot on what kind of applications developers will make available (pressure by educators?) in the next years.

I also read - from an Italian journalist - that the future spread of this device could open new opportunities for the individual authors/teachers/researchers. These ones would use ePub format and find in iPad and iBooks a distribution network.

Rebecca Galley
7:20pm 1 February 2010

I found the original  Tweet @zen_habits. He wrote: Important: the iPad is for consuming info, not for creating. It'll help seperate the two, which is wonderful for creators.   And I think you're right Antonella, a lot will depend on the applications developed over time (and already it is becoming easier to create apps for ourselves). I'm a governor of a cash strapped school and can't help thinking that £500 is a lot of money given that it doesn't seem to offer much more that a touch would educationally. I really hope that schools/ colleges don't see the iPad as something to replace a 'laptop for every child' vision. 

Santanu Vasant
8:15pm 1 February 2010

The idea of the iPad is for consuming is interesting. A lot what we buy these days is based on consuming the technology not customising, programming or adapting it to our needs. I think £500 is a lot and I think a real PC (either Desktop or Laptop) is better than a gizmo like the iPad, which is aimed at the high salary professional in the city, reading his Metro on his massive iPod Touch...! I think if we take the principles of the iPad or iPhone / Touch and use those, i.e. the Apps, the Podcasts, Vodcasts etc, these I think will be benefitical to education. 

Rebecca Galley
8:17am 2 February 2010

I've just had a look at that picture Antonella - what an awful thought :-o

Gráinne Conole
8:34am 2 February 2010

Lol! Yep as usual we need to be careful not to get carried away with the technology and to see it as the panacea for all educational problems - as usual it will be innovative, creative use by teachers and learners that will make or break this technology and see whether it lasts the tests of time...

3:14am 25 May 2010

hi, i am a math teacher, hope the apps will have following function.

-edit/ Type equations (very important).(most apps in teaching are all not favorable to math teacher…..)
-easily draw coordinate, circle, triangle, ellipse, hyperbola, parabola….with different color.
-Can replace blackboard, that means i can draw and write in iPad, students can see what I wrote through projector connected with my iPad. and of course, i can upload what i wrote in that lesson to cloud for students to download.
-academic calendar, HW, Test reminder.

Santanu Vasant
9:52am 26 May 2010

The lack of flash support is not very nice and I'm not sure if the average student will buy one, but you never know. I worry about disadvantaging those that don't have this technology and I think that's another concern.

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