The iPad: Magic, you all ready know how to use it and its crazy powerful. Or at least that is the claim. Many Universities immediately believed it, and many have been handing them out to students already. Whoa, hold on … we didn’t do that with laptops or netbooks, how come we’re doing it with iPads?
I admit, I bought one on day one, and I like it. But I didn’t buy it to learn per se. Nor has it made me a better learner really. As much as I like it, I am not at all sure that the 95% of conscientious objectors, avoiders and ‘busy’ people will either. So at Macquarie University – We applied for some grant money to investigate and test Apple’s marketing message.
We’ll probably end up with about 40 in the field. Roughly 50/50 split between academic staff and ‘professional’ staff. Over 2 months, we want to let staff have an iPad Adventure, drawing upon ideas of ‘cybergogy’ in that the device has a number of domains that come together to create engagement with whatever you might do with it.
We are looking at four areas: Dextrous (can you use it), Emotional (do you like using it), Cognitive (did you learn with it) and Social (did you do something with others). In those areas, there are numerous sub-sets and possible uses.
The adventure on day one, set’s out to hand out iPads to staff, with iTunes cards and basic ‘pack’ of information, so that they can go off and explore.
We are asking for a fornightly evaluation to collect data; but also offering staff the opportunity to post reflections on a group-blog. It will be interesting to see if what people make of it – and how that moderates what we think and believe we will do with them in professional development.
I firmly believe that we don’t do enough ‘moderation’ in technology. I wince at the top down ‘roll out’ where some committee determines what is good, bad – worse or good enough for everyone. Teachers often have little input to ‘big decisions’ yet wear the consequences, good and bad.
We may have staff that leave them on a desk for two months, or find a new affinity with technology. But in a large institution, we are going to see a diverse attitudes and use I hope.
So, if you we’re asking someone to evaluate an iPad in the context of ‘engagement’ with technology …
- What software do you think would be essential for engagement?
- How does an iPad change the nature and purpose of technology in engaging educators?
I welcome any comments and suggestions … the adventure awaits.