European Apple Leadership Summit – Part 2

This is the conclusion of my report on the European Apple Leadership Summit, which took place 11 January at the Mayfair Hotel in London. Three impressive case studies were highlighted:

University of Plymouth teaches iOS programming
It all started couple of years ago in Computer Science lecturer Nick Outram’s programming class. A student announced that his project was going to be to make an Apple App Store app, with the stated objective to make money on the sales. Nick didn’t know what to expect, but within a week or so, the student had created the app. Apple rejected it at first, but after some fixes, the student app passed. Not only so, but by the end of the term the student had earned £2k. Suddenly, people wanted to make apps. Nick started up a CPD class for students, charging a modest amount. In addition, the university began to offer 3-day app workshops to external developers.

University of Leeds Medical School loans iPhones to students
Gareth Frith of the Leeds Medical School reported that when the medical school CETL wanted to innovate, they decided to loan pay-as-you-go iPhones to students. Preloaded with the most important learning materials: the Oxford Handbook and the BNF prescription manual, students used their iPhones for information access anywhere, even in clinical training. The medical school plans to continue and expand the programme.

IMD Business School in Switzerland launches paperless courses with the iPad
Iain Cooke of IMD reported the executive business school was looking for a way to reduce the hassle and cost of printing 1000 sheets of paper per student per week,which was the norm. Their solution: paperless courses were launched with course materials and apps supplied on loaned iPads. Iain reported a savings of 10 Swiss Francs per student per day, and the programme paid for itself in 6 months just on the cost savings of printing alone.

I won’t go into detail about the app-making workshop I attended, except to say that I made a simple RSS -feeding app with the Apple SDK in about 15 minutes. But there are so many things which must be in place before one can quickly make those apps, that I can’t say it is a simple matter.

In sum, Apple made a pretty good claim to a history of technological innovation for education. Judging from the comments of other attendees, I was not alone in that positive opinion.

And it is only right to say, “Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Steve Jobs.”

Terese Bird

Learning Technologist and Assistant Keeper of the Media Zoo

European Apple Leadership Summit – Part 1

On 11 January 2011 I attended the European Apple Leadership Summit at the Mayfair Hotel in London. This was a by-invitation-only event; my invitation was based on a few things, one of which is my work on the SPIDER project, looking at iTunes U as a distribution channel of open educational resources (OER). This meeting was Apple’s chance to make the case to those in leadership in European higher education that Apple software and hardware should play a role in educational technology. They mostly let case studies do the talking.

A Paperless Conference

This meeting was a one-day conference — keynote, invited speakers, and individual workshops. Apple did not hand out any papers nor post any charts in the lobby listing where each workshop would take place and who was signed up where. Rather, they gave all attendants an iPad for the day. I actually received an iPad for Christmas, and said to the nice Apple lady, “I have my own.” She said, “You’ll want ours, because it’s pre-loaded with conference stuff.” Indeed it was. There was a custom-made app for the conference, showing the Twitter stream, a little movie welcoming me to the event, bios of all the speakers, agenda for the day, list of delegates’ institutions, and an interactive survey to be filled in at the end. Because I signed into the app, with the same email address by which I registered for the conference, it knew who I was and which workshop(s) I signed up for, so it gave me a pop-up window telling me I had 10 minutes to get to my next session and displayed a little map showing me which room to go to. It did not work perfectly, but it was pretty close, and therefore pretty impressive. Of course I used the iPad throughout the conference especially to tweet. It was also a good chance to check out some of the new apps created by featured educators and speakers; while speakers were describing how they made these apps, I could check them out on my iPad. A couple of negatives about giving me an iPad: I had planned to take notes on my own iPad. If the Evernote app had been installed on the iPad they gave me, I would have been sorted; as it was, I quickly decided to take notes by liberal tweeting and a few paper scribbles. Another negative was that I would have liked a list of other delegates’ emails, or at least the emails of the speakers. But I handed in the iPad at the end of the day and had no list of delegates; of course I made contacts on my own, but it’s nice to have a list of delegates’ emails given to you. If this had been a proper academic conference, I would have thought the app should be tweaked to send a delegates’ list if desired.

 

 

'Globe' iPad app. Photo by kenco on Flickr.

 

News from Pearson Publishers

A very senior person from Pearson described how they are producing their textbooks in format suitable for all e-book reader devices: Kindle, epub for most e-readers, and media-rich epub for the iPad. She identified the iPad as the best vehicle for textbooks, because one can have colour photos and embedded movies and sound. The Open University, for example, has produced many free e-books (available on their iTunes U site) with embedded audio and (I believe) embedded video as well. The question I have here is: yes, iBooks displays multimedia-rich e-books beautifully. iBooks is Apple-only. Will there be an iBooks-type software for Windows computers and for nonApple handheld devices– how long will it take for something like this to appear?

There is more to report from this event. I shall write more in a future blog post.

Terese Bird

Learning Technologist and Assistant Keeper of the Media Zoo



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