End of Semester 1 – My Thoughts 

This week marks the end of the first semester and I thought I’d share my thoughts about how I think the semester has gone through the use of iPad.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag right now. Tutors are aware that students have these tablet devices, but are a bit uncomfortable in changing their teaching style to incorporate them. They are happy with their current teaching methods and don’t want to mix in technology just yet. More than a handful of lecturers have implemented them in any way they could, but there are so many more lecturers that leave students thinking “we could’ve answered that for you via the iPad” or “we could collaborate on that on the iPads.

Other than that, I found myself using the iPad for a lot of things myself. One of the things I have used the iPad devices extensively for is staying organised. I use a combination of apps, unlike others who might want to keep it simple and use one app. Here is a list of the apps I use on a regular basis on the iPad to help me stay on top of things:

  • Calendar app (stock app)
  • Reminders app
  • Checklist+
  • Clear

Sometimes the most basic app can work wonders – like the built in Calendar app. I have added my university timetable in to it and my iPad has learnt the times I usually leave for university and when I might make my next move and then suggests actions automatically – based on my location. It even tells me about traffic conditions and when I should leave! There is nothing to set up to make this work. It happens itself and you can see iPad making predictions in Notification Centre (swipe down from the top of the screen). It takes time to learn your habits though – about a week should do it. It also helps to have location details for events in the calendar too.  I find this really useful and I have avoided being late to some lectures because of this feature alone!

I personally challenged myself to become more paperless with iPad and I have been very successful in doing so. I find myself carrying my MacBook less and less (apart from when I want to get some serious work done I.e making a website or programming) and it’s been great to carry less weight. It can become really tiring to carry a laptop around all day, especially when the days sometimes finish at 6PM. iPad is really thin and light and you hardly know you’ve got it with you. I have been using Pages to take notes in lectures and then pick them up at home on my MacBook, to save to my USB. So far, this has been a great tactic and I hope to continue this in the second semester.

To summarise: iPad has definitely started to change the way we learn at uni. So many students being their iPads in to lectures and tutorials, the same way they bring their phone. It’s become part of their “things to take to uni” and when tutors ask students to complete a task on the iPads, the room becomes full of people who start to become part of the lecture itself -rather than their mind wondering off 20 minutes in.

Granted, students may not be utilising them 100% right now, but I can see them being used more in semester 2. Hopefully we will get more people to attend the iPad lunchtime sessions and find out how others students are using the iPad. I’m interested in knowing how students who have never owned or used an iPad (or even an iOS device) are finding the FST iPads and the mobile learning project overall.

Did I mention how cool it is to go to a university that encourages you to use iPads?

I will continue to update you during the Christmas break (if needed) and will definitely document the use of iPad in the second semester.

Irfan

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