iPad User Group–Now Forming

ITT is teaming up with Haverford faculty to form an iPad user group. Attendees can share strategies, helpful programs, research or classroom anecdotes, and other advice.  The first meeting will be at the Coop on Monday, August 27th at noon. Please join us!

Although the iPad has only been available for two and half years, it enjoys astounding popularity. Several colleges, universities, and K-12 institutions have adopted the device for all or most of their users. Others are adopting the devices for a selection of classes, divisions, or graduating years.

Shortly after the iPad first launched on April 3, 2010, at least 11 colleges and universities implemented large iPad initiatives. Seton Hill, Illinois Institute of Technology, Long Island University, Northwest Kansas Technical College, and Chicago State University each gave all their then newly matriculated class of 2014 students iPads. Such program were widely publicized in news reports, such as CNBC’s story about a similar initiative at Abilene Christian University.

Since the initial excitement over iPad technology, some of the schools have scaled back their initiatives, while others have added them. These schools are sharing their often possitive experiences (http://www.educause.edu/library/tablets-and-ipads), leading to increasingly wider use of the devices on campus. Many using iPads note the devices long battery life, portability, built-in video camera, and hi-resolution writable screen are useful both in the classroom and in field research.  Carrying an iPad is easier than a backpack of books, and iPad books can include sound, video and interactive features to illustrate concepts. It allows easy text searching and collaborative note taking.

However, many of those using iPads have found that it takes a fair amount of time and effort to fully implement these tools in the classroom. Looking for useful apps, and figuring out how to use them is often reported as one downside of this technology. Also, while the iPad is better at some tasks than a standard computer, it is more limited for others. Some people find it cumbersome to use the touch-screen for typing or precise drawing. Also, the lack of Flash support and Apple’s tight control on available apps limit its usefulness for some tasks.

Haverford has been using iPads for several targeted purposes. Starting in 2010, members of the Haverford Board have had the option of reading board materials on an iPad. Meanwhile, Ken Koltun-Fromm, Professor of Religion, and Roberto Castillo, Associate Professor of Spanish & Comparative Literature, have been awarded iPads as part of a Teaching with Technology grant.  This fall Ken will have students share three iPads scattered on classroom tables, and students will use those ipad to call up images or documents and project them for general discussion.  Roberto will use an iPad to create an interactive whiteboard, and will also use it to paperlessly annotate student research “papers.” To support uses like these, Haverford has been building up our infrastructure. Every classroom computer can now project iPad displays (see instructions here)!

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