iPad comes to the classroom
Just days after being released in Australia, Apple's new touchscreen device, the iPad, was being used at the University of Adelaide to boost student interaction in lectures.
Computer Science lecturer Dr Nick Falkner is using the iPad with a specially written application, developed in Adelaide, to almost instantly measure and graphically display student responses.
Dr Falkner said the new technology would improve student learning by helping bring lectures to life and raising participation and attention.
"This iPad application lets us quickly find out what students are thinking and display their answers back to them almost immediately within the lecture," he said.
"When students see that their opinions and participation matter, they get more involved and they stay involved for longer."
The application has been developed by software developer TwoLivesLeft, a local company formed by three University of Adelaide Computer Science (Honours) graduates, Simeon Nasilowski, Dylan Sale and John Millard.
"As well as their enthusiasm and the skills they acquired during their studies, these three have benefited from the University's membership of the Apple University Consortium, which provides scholarships and assistance with training and networking opportunities," Dr Falkner said.
Dr Falkner said using the iPad in the lecture theatre for presentations and student feedback was just the first step. iPads would also be used to make relevant podcasts available to students.
"Higher education today is increasingly a blend of traditional lectures and making use of online and other digital technology. The next step will be to use iPad in lectures, with a growing body of podcast material available for Computer Science students to support lectures."
Other recent technology being adapted for teaching purposes includes the iPod. Dr Katrina Falkner, also from the School of Computer Science and Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, is leading a project to use iPods to speed up the process for assessment of students' programming skills.
Staff can assess student work with the results instantly recorded, reducing errors and enabling students to get rapid feedback on their progress.
Story by Robyn Mills