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iPads (Mobile Tablets)

May 2, 2011

I find iPads and other mobile tablets fascinating!

iPad 2 ~ wi-fi + 3G

Thinking about the current and future uses of this new type of technology for work, for learning, and for fun really sparks my imagination.  I would like to share two of the numerous resources I have came across which discuss ways the iPad (and by extension, other mobile tablets) can be used for academics and for entertainment.

In March, there was a thread on the ILI listserv about using iPads for library instruction.  One of the posts shared a link to the report,  “Faculty Learning Communities: Exploring Innovative Teaching and Learning with the Apple iPad”  < http://uits.iu.edu/page/azxr >, produced by the Indiana University (IU) Library Technology Services.  The report states that as a benefit “The  iPad holds tremendous potential in changing how faculty and students think about teaching and learning.”  Additionally, the iPad offers “utility as a reading device for electronic books (as well as a method of reviewing, creating, and responding to other instructional material and media)” (“Client Impact” section).

In the report, there are a variety of IU projects mentioned which demonstrate the potential that the iPad holds for academic use.  One project describes the use of the  iPad Twitter app by students in the School of Education for extended discussions of classroom material.  Another project talks about an IU librarian’s use of  the iPad for the Journalism Learning Communities  to assist in teaching students intellectual honesty and also its use  for  the Informatics Learning Communities to encourage critical thinking using the applet, Popplet.  The report offers a wealth of ideas about using the iPad for teaching and learning.

Use of other mobile tablets could also provide opportunities for engaging students.  However, one of the challenges in using mobile tablets is compatibility because of the diversity of operating systems such as iOS (Apple), Android (Google), and  Windows (Microsoft).  For now, the iPad (iOS) appears to be the most popular of mobile tablets.

I cannot close without talking about the research and also the  fun aspects of  mobile tablets, again focusing on the iPad.  A colleague of mine forwarded me a useful link to the post, “Using the iPad — Research, Meetings, and Fun,” written by a Penn State professor < http://engage.shc.psu.edu/?p=847 >.   Included in the various apps mentioned are  Dropbox (cloud storage), Office HD (Word and Excel editing),  iBooks (books and PDF reading/annotating), and Newsrack (news/RSS reader).

Whether one is using the iPad or another mobile tablet for teaching, learning, research, or fun, it  seems that “the sky’s the limit!”–well, not even the sky, since there is cloud storage. :-0

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