Monday, March 02, 2015

Surface RT – working with multiple accounts in education context

Back into the fray with project surface tablet. The 12 projects we started out with last year have morphed into 16 with 2 of last year’s 12 moving on to BYOD or to other types of tablets and several ‘new’ projects.

We have learnt much from experiences last year. Chiefly, capabilities of RT surfaces in the various classroom / workshop environments at CPIT, staff capabilities requiring support and limitations of the RT surface to allow the running of video annotation apps. Here is another blog cataloging experiences in the higher ed. sector.

One of our main challenges has been to work out how to best manage accounts on tablets. Although Surface RTs allow for several user accounts to be set up on each tablet there is still the challenge of ensuring the right students accesses the correct tablet with their account set up on it.

A work around has been to set up a class account for each intake of students. We then coach students to transfer, at the end of each session, all their data on to onedrive or a memory stick. So, classes with small numbers of tablets (up to 8) are set up with individual student accounts. Larger classes or programmes sharing tablets (20 plus) are set up with a generic ‘programme’ account and students download the data when they complete each session.

The RTs have only a limited range of apps and in our bid to move to BYOD in the next year, all our projects do not rely on apps. Instead, the main functions revolve around some use of office 365, the video/camera capabilities and accessing web-based platforms including our Moodle LMS, etextbooks and echo350/socratic. One of the projects is working with computing students to develop an app but this is a long range project as each component of the app is developed and tested.

The main objective of surface tablet is still to upskill students and tutors digital literacy. Once tutors (and students) realise the potentialities of using tablets in classrooms / workshops, our role is to support the introduction and deployment. Before full digital literacy occurs, there is still a need to be 'guide on the side' to ease programmes into introducing technology enhanced learning into programmes. 

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