Stephen Morris Blogs

eTexts and Inkling

(iPad Study) Permanent link
Professor Gini Shimabukuro presented eTextbooks available for the iPad. CourseSmart allows the user to annotate and highlight, just as you would do with a hard copy. Unfortunately, the annotations tend to cover up the text you are reading. This is an improvement over reading the chapters on a computer, as you have some additional functionality (but not much). A step forward (small, but still a step) is the application Inkling with launched in August with eight titles. Inkling texts have graphics which enlarge with the touch, definitions of many words are available as pop-ups, It is another step towards 'interactive' - and the graphics are great. Definitely an improvement over the traditional text, but nowhere near taking advantage of the potential of the iPad.

Using Technology in Education

(Using Technology in Education) Permanent link

This blog is intended to explore how technology could be used in education to promote positive learning outcomes. Too often, new educational technologies are hailed as being better than the classroom experience, only to have rigorous studies show that when curricular materials, teaching methodology, and time on materials are equal, there is no benefit for the educational technology. What is needed is an examination of how technology and the burgeoning processing power of the computer might be harnessed to create something that actually is better than the classroom or 100% online teaching.  Educational technology for the 21st century...

Why an iPad for students?

(iPad Study) Permanent link

So why should a student bother with an iPad? I teach a course called Digital Media in Business and took a survey of the 27 students in my class. Exactly zero owned an iPad! Needless to say, I was a bit surprised, especially since 26 of the 27 students own laptops (I expect them to bring their laptops to class and use them in building a e-portfolio website using the open source software Joomla!)

There have been discussions across the country about having e-texts on the iPad, so that students don't have to carry heavy textbooks. But I would very much like to see research on whether the iPad experience makes the students any more inclined to read the material than they do now. My experience has been that unless you are having the students tested on the material (or will be called on randomly in class to answer questions, or some other pedagogical hook to force them to read the assignment), undergraduate students do not read the chapters assigned when they are asked to do so. Why should that change just because they are using an iPad? We have all had the experience with our undergraduates of having assigned a chapter or case and fewer than half of the students will have read it.

So why an iPad for students?

Here is one application that might be very useful, though I doubt it will become a 'killer app': an app that record the lecture while taking notes. There are several on the market, and the one I have used is SoundNote. These are similar to the LiveScribe application, the pen that has been on the market for years, but the similar functionality is now available for the iPad interface. I have spoken to a graduate student that is taking a course (not mine) and the professor uses 25-40 slides per lecture (Death by PowerPoint!) The professor makes the slides available before class so students can make hard copies of the slides and make notes on them during class. The student I spoke with lists the slides by number on SoundNote, and when the prof gets to that point in the lecture, he marks the slide on SoundNote. That way, when he reviews his notes on the lecture, if there is any slide that he has questions about, he simply taps the slide number on SoundNote and rehears that portion of the lecture.

So why an iPad for students? Still searching...

iPad Tinkering

(iPad Study) Permanent link

Professor Helen Piserchio downloaded 26 iPad apps: 11 productivity/teaching; 9 games/entertainment for kids; 4 news/info; and 2 reading/books. She found several that appealed to children. In the games category, Doodle Buddy kept kids busy for long stretches at a time. Productivity apps included Stickyboard by Qrayon, an app that allows users to post virtual 'sticky' notes and move them around. Looks like a good app for brainstorming and organizing ideas. Another app for brainstorming and organizing is Idea Sketch that links together ideas and uses a hierarchical structure. Idea Sketch allows for notes/comments to be included in the background as pop-ups. Another productivity app was Present Pad, similar to other presentation software seen on computers.

Professor Piserchio looked at Audio Note for recording lectures and taking notes. She also tried out Dragon and had aless than stellar experience with it (still very buggy). I have used SoundNote (previously SoundPaper) and this may be one of the most useful apps for students. These applications allow for the recording of lectures while taking notes. With the old iOS, though, a limitation was that you could not go to any other application while continuing to record, so if the instructor wanted you to look at a pdf, you could not do it on the iPad without changing applications. I will investigate this further with the new iOS that came out last week.



28 days of iPad Reflections

(iPad Study) Permanent link

As part of the university's iPad study, professors meet once a month to discuss on how they use or see the iPad in education. Mathew Mitchel presented his interesting '28 days of iPad Reflections.' He broke down his reflections into five themes: 1) It is intimate; 2) he likes to watch on it; 3) 1024 x 768; 4) Finger Apps; and 5) know your iOS. He created videos that showed how he used the iPad in education and a short tutorial on iTunes for the iPad. Creating videos and having them watched on the iPad is a viscerally different experience than on a computer screen.

Professor Mitchel's videos can be downloaded at:
iPads in Education
iTunes for iPad
iPads and Fingers


Citrix for the iPad

(iPad Study) Permanent link

So the question is: how can I leverage 15 years worth of spreadsheets, database projects, and word processing documents that I have used/edited/updated for my students while using the iPad? Without going through a lot of hoops, I wanted to be able to access via the iPad the resources I had arduously created over the years. A solution presented itself almost immediately: USF runs Citrix which creates a virtual desktop. There is a free Citrix iPad app which I downloaded and I had our ITS staff create a VPN connection for my iPad to allow me to connect to the USF Citrix server. The school is a Microsoft application campus, so most of the applications available are MS-based. The applications include Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, IE 8, Meeting Maker, and Opera.

I now have access to all of the documents I have put onto the school network and can use the original application in which they were created