In the Rhetorics and Technology course at Penn State, eight graduate students are using the iPad in their studies. For some teachers and professors the sight of students having computers may be disturbing, but for these students they constantly use their iPads.I love the use of the term "disturbing."
January 2011 Archives
Patricia Gael, an instructor in the English department, is teaching the course taking part in the study this semester. Gael said she's had her iPad for seven months and the English department is providing a lot of support for her along the way.
"These are great because students are able to access a lot of material really easily such as textbooks and online materials," Gael said.
Selber said the researchers are still going through the results from last semester to determine how effective the devices were in the classroom, but he thinks it was a good experience for the students.
"I am positive the students had a valuable experience in investigating the integration of iPads into educational activities," Selber said. "They got to do a first-hand experiment for themselves."
In summer 2010 Penn State's Education Technology Services (ETS) bought 40 iPad tablet computers for faculty and student projects. Michael Faris, an instructor in the Department of English, planned a technical writing course for fall 2010 featuring the iPad in its curriculum.
"Students in my class were juniors and seniors who had already developed their reading, writing and research habits," Faris said. "The iPad forced them to adapt to different strategies and change the way they think about their work."
Each student in the class received the touch-screen-only iPad and an accessory keyboard for the semester. Apple donated iTunes gift cards to cover the cost of applications students may have needed to download for the class -- like a word processing program -- as well as a gift card from publishing company Bedford/St. Martin's, to cover the expense of the digital textbook they needed to download.
Faris said that his students found the iPad's light weight convenient and told him it's a great tool for reading and doing simple writing tasks. However, they also reported having trouble writing more extensive papers and creating multimedia projects with it.
"I think right now it's best to view tablet devices as supplements: they don't replace anything, but they fill needs and gaps in work activities," Faris said. "For instance, a tablet can't replace the writing and heavy research capabilities of a laptop, but it can provide for a second screen, supporting some research that might have been open in a browser or printed off or in a book."read the rest