Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ipad - convenience and mlearning tool

The mobility of netbooks / ipad along with Wifi has changed the way in which my family interacts. Both my ‘kids’ (one 22 , the other 25) are currently back at home. The younger establishing herself into work after completing uni. last year & the older back home a month ago, after a 6 month break in Thailand and a couple of years working in Melbourne. He is now back at Polytechnic doing a Cert. in Fitness course. Most evenings, we are gathered around the TV, each with netbook (2 eee PCs), ipad or ipod touch (2 of them), surfing the web, playing games, reading etc. while the 6pm news does its best to bring our attention back to things happening in the big wide world. The husband now has the daily newspapers all to himself but does borrow the ipad for his bit of web surfing as well, he finds the ipod touch screen too small. So besides comments on what is happening on the news, we also share sites we are surfing, latest videos, music, compare scores on games (Scramble2), plan movies to see or walk/tramp/ski trip over the weekend. In the past, we tended to each be busy at our computers & four to five years ago, just before both of them left home, they had TVs in their rooms. We actually now interact socially much more in the evening then we used to!!

From the education focus, I have never been a great fan of teaching in computer suites. The students ‘hide’ behind their computers and group activity, peer interaction is difficult when the physical barrier of a large computer screen prevents people from seeing each other properly. Access to WIFI and encouraging students to make use of laptops/netbooks/ipads presents teachers with a much better physical environment which can be flexibly reorganised to enhance learning activities taking place in the classroom. Untethered web access leads to mobility and the opportunity for students and teachers to centre learning on the tasks at hand.

The classroom then becomes a true learning space as access to information relevant to the lesson is much more easily sourced. This information can then form the basis of learning moments for students and teachers.
Here and here are comprehensive lists of links to various ipod touch/ipad apps – many educational including a good list from Rasmussen college. Also an example of an interactive book in the digital form of a well loved NZ book - Hairy Maclary of Donaldson Diary with a video trailer.