Talking of iPads and Learning

Well, Steve Jobs and iPad 2 may make these comments seem obsolete! Just as I am writing my blog, he unexpectedly appears on stage…

All the same, I am fascinated by the online conversations among members of the Association for Learning Technology about using Apple iPads for elearning. In part this fascination is because I now have daily access to an iPad, but it’s also because these ALT members are well-informed and adventurous.  

I start with Seb Schmoller’s suggestion: Educause’s “7 Things You Should Know About iPad Apps for Learning” That gives me a quick overview, including a few examples of institutions trying them out.  

Our own Terese Bird notes a US college’s one-iPad-per-student programme and a New York Times article on use of iPads in American schools. 

Terese Bird also says she heard about a paperless course created in Switzerland with iPads that paid for themselves by saving printing costs. 

Simon Brookes sends this report on Reed College’s apparently successful use of iPads. He also mentions Stanford Medical School requiring first year students to have them. Elearning in hospital? 

Then of course there are techie views galore. I shall skip them.

Whether iPad or iPad 2, I still have the same question uppermost in my mind: what educational benefits are there? Or, to put it another way, can I think up ways of helping students who use iPads to learn more from, to understand better, to think critically about – their courses?

If Stanford, Reed and Seton Hill, just to mention three higher education institutions, have found out how to make it worthwhile for students to own iPads, shouldn’t the University of Leicester know about that? I think so. It sounds like a timely small-scale study for the Beyond Distance Research Alliance, possibly one funded by the university itself

David Hawkridge

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