If a major technology company like Apple can launch a new mobile device and only 1 month later find itself selling more of them than it does of its desktops and laptops, and when a recent survey showed that more kids owned mobile phones than books, I’d say perhaps the move to a world of ubiquitous computing is getting closer.
The reality of this move (the coalface as teachers like to say), is the emergence of tablet devices, and as I’m currently testing one, please be prepared for a few posts around what I find.
My investigations of the iPad from the perspective of how it can enhance my teaching (as opposed to how it might be used by students) have led to me playing with three intriguing types of apps that I thought others may be interested in, two of which have the common feature of working via the video out cable of the iPad:
1. ‘Whiteboard’ type apps that allow you to draw on the screen but have the results shared up on a big screen. This brings all kinds of collaborative planning/ visual definition applications to mind as I think about classroom use. Some of these apps even allow audio to be recorded while the session is going on – brilliant for students who need to review what occurred. I’m testing JotBook and PaperDesk in this category (both have free lite versions).
2. Apps that get around the ‘must be implemented by individual apps’ limitation of the iPad video out by combining multiple functions. Basically, they allow you to show all kinds of file types, from powerpoint/ keynote, PDFs, Word, images – and even web pages via built in browsers – all from within the one app. As a teacher, I can imagine this allowing me to load all the files I need into the app via iTunes sync (or later via email if I’ve forgotten something), choose during the lesson/ workshop what I want to show, and during the session, switch to the web if need be as I need to also. The app I’m using is Big! Browser.
3. Note taking/ audio recorders – that do pretty much what the Livescribe Smartpen does – records audio while you take notes and allows you replay the audio by tapping on sections of your notes so you hear what was being said at the time the text was written. SoundPaper seems to be the best one in this category at present if you can see the potential for rich, searchable meeting notes for yourself, or automated podcasts of each lesson for students to review.
More to come…