The iPad project team thought it would be a great idea to have a place for us to meet students from York St John and discuss:
- how they currently use their mobile devices
- apps that we use
- what they think about iPads.
All students that had a device, be it a smart phone, iPad or other tablets were welcome to our meeting. We firstly spoke about the apps that we have discovered as a result of being part of the iPad project:
ReferenceMe - this is a great app for students who need to include a variety of references in their assignments. Students simply scan the barcode of a book using their devices, and the app will create the bibliography and citations in moments. You can also manually enter journal articles. ReferenceME then enables you to email all your references straight to your email account to then copy-paste into your assignment.
Pages - this is another great app for students. It works just like a word document where you can edit and create documents to record notes, write assignments, etc. However, as we discussed in the iPad Cafe, students with a smartphone may find it limiting to use this app due to the small screen. Pages is a lot more useful on a bigger screen such as an iPad.
Wunderlist - this is a very good organisational app that allows you to manage and share your daily to-do lists. For example, if you are doing a group presentation you can share tasks and sub-tasks with everyone within your group so they all know what they have to do as part of their contribution.
Socrative - the app allows teachers to create quizzes with multiple choice or short answer questions so that the class is more engaged in seminars. This app is available to use on the smartphone as well. It’s a great app for teachers to monitor whether students have understood the content of the seminar. There are a student and teacher apps.
The other students then spoke about the apps they use:
Skitch - one of the students mentioned that she uses Skitch a lot for her studies. She uses it to annotate PDF files. She said it was very visual, colorful and easy to use. This app is also a great one to use in the classroom for students to annotate fellow peers’ posters/presentations.
Evernote - another student spoke about how she uses Evernote. She uses this app to document her financial data, save her ideas for assignments and take notes on her lectures. She spoke about how she shares her ideas with her fellow peers.
Bible – a theology student mentioned how she uses a Bible app to aid her studies. She finds reading through it on her smartphone an easier way than reading an actual book.
We also discussed how they would feel about having an iPad for their lectures/seminars. Some said that they would find it a distraction and would end up going on social media sites and playing on games. Others said that they were used to multi-tasking and didn’t get too distracted by technology. They said that they would most likely check their Facebook/Twitter account but then be able to get straight back onto concentrating with their work. It depends on the person to whether they would be easily distracted by an iPad or not.
What students said they liked about iPads:
- Light and can easily fit in your bag;
- Great for reading books/journals;
- Amazing for organizing yourself;
- So many apps to suit your needs.
One of the students mentioned that she had a an iPad session as part of the iPad project, and she found iPads very useful. She said they were very convenient for looking up information online whilst typing up notes onto the computer. It saved her from having to open loads of tabs on her computer and flicking backwards and forwards to different windows.
Overall, out first iPad Cafe was a success and we very much enjoyed interacting with students and finding out what they found useful about their own mobile devices. When we asked whether the students if they would like to use iPads in their lectures/seminars they all said they would love to!
We are looking forward to our next iPad cafe!