iPad Pilot Update 3

iPad pilot program participants learning new techniquesAt the start of Spring Quarter 2013, members of the UC San Diego faculty were given iPads to use in their courses this semester as part of a pilot program run by Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS). For the third and final time, participants gathered for a brown bag lunch to reflect on their overall experience using iPads as part of instruction.

One professor completely replaced his laptop by using the iPad. He used Goodnotes to upload his lecture slides directly from Dropbox. The zoom box in Goodnotes made it easy to annotate on top of his slides. He used AirPlay, which has been installed in some UC San Diego lecture halls by Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT), to wirelessly connect his iPad to the projector. This allowed him to display his lecture slides without being tethered to the front of the room. The professor also utilized the video camera built into the iPad to show small items and demonstrations in the front of the room through the projector so all students could see them. Additionally, everything that the professor did through his iPad was captured by ACMS’s video podcasting service, which captures all projected material with audio recorded in class. This allowed students to refer back to all of the professor’s notes from class at a later time. Student feedback collected by the Center for Teaching Development shows that students use video podcasts to review points of difficulty and to supplement notes from class instead of as a replacement for lecture.

Another professor used his iPad in conjunction with his laptop during the semester. He used Doceri to mirror his laptop screen on his iPad where he could annotate on top of his lecture slides. One of the benefits of using Doceri is that it allowed the professor to show his lecture slides, which frequently included animations. Goodnotes converts slides to PDF, which does not support animations, making Doceri a better application for this professor. Additionally, when there were lag or connection problems through AirPlay, the professor was able to seamlessly transition to his laptop and continue lecture without losing student attention.

One professor used the iPad on its own by plugging it directly into the audiovisual connections provided in the classroom. This had the benefit of guaranteeing zero connection issues, though it did tether the professor to the front of the classroom. This professor primarily used Notability to make non-handwriting annotations with varying line weight and colors on lecture slides and images. She said that students were very responsive to seeing annotation on the screen compared to previous classes where she had used a laser pointer. This professor also had her students draw on the iPad for certain assignments. This replaced previous assignments where students would have to describe their work. Students enjoyed being able to visually demonstrate their assignment, though doing so did take up more class time than anticipated.

The majority of participants expressed their interest in continuing to use an iPad in their courses. Many said that the iPad had already been beneficial to their teaching that they felt that further use and investigation could result in even greater student learning.

ACMS shared preliminary results from an ongoing survey of students from the participants’ classes. The survey was designed to provide insight into student preferences regarding the use of the iPad in the classroom. The participants themselves also filled out surveys about their experience to help ACMS learn about what worked well for them and what was challenging. ACMS intends to run another iPad program in Fall Quarter 2013 and use both student and faculty feedback to improve the program.

ACMS will be sharing full results of the pilot on the ACMS Blog later in the summer. Until then, enjoy the sunshine!

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