Embedding tablet and mobile technology into the teaching and learning ecosystem

This post started out as a comment on the image in this post about using iPads and other tablets and mobile devices in the classroom:

http://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/ipadproject/2012/09/25/teaching-with-tablets-infographic/

I think this image really just scratches the surface of the potential for using tablet type devices in learning and teaching. In addition to the possibility of using devices as electronic multimedia textbooks and to access apps, these devices can be used right across the learning and teaching process and environment. Just some examples:

  • They can be used to facilitate enquiry based and collaborative learning – such as by enabling students to research a topic, discuss and collaborate, share information and present it
  • They can be used by students to structure their time, plan projects, make todo lists, etc
  • They can facilitate less linear approaches to thinking, problem solving and learning, such as through the use of Mindmapping, card sorts, cork boards etc – this may also be of benefit to students with Dyslexia
  • Although there is room for improvement, iPads in particular have some useful accessibility features such as text to speech, dynamic screen zooming, audio cues for touch control, contrast control, dictation support etc, which potentially widens opportunities for students to participate
  • They can be used to access research, databases and web based resources such as Moodle, Mendelay, research comunities like Linkedin etc
  • They can be used by students or staff to review literature, comment on articles and provide feedback on work (including the potential to do this more creatively and interactively such as via Facetime and video links or audio comments)
  • They can be used by educators to prepare and present sessions interactively and using a variety of media (including virtual anatomy, physics etc)
  • They can be used by staff and students to create blogs and websites, videos and multimedia portfolios; these in turn may provide a basis for assessment as well as presenttaion of research, learning or discussion topics

I tend to think that sometimes when considering the integration of new technologies into teaching (or many other things) often we tend to be captivated initially by the “shiny new toy” aspect of the technology, such as apps and their uses, which tends to focus on the technology as a thing in itself rather than as a means to an end. To get beyond that we need to consider how the tools we use (in this case iPads etc) may be embedded into educational processes right across the board (potentially) but also recognise in practice we need to ensure that process is student centred and not a one size fits all approach. Its about providing opportunities not prescriptions.

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