Today’s post will be based on my vision for mobile learning.
When I first got the email about the FST Mobile Learning Project, I was excited to make changes to my studying and the fact that we were getting a free iPad was a good thing too.
I actually liked the idea a lot because I already owned an iPad Air 2, so I knew what the limitations and advantages were. I had always wanted to try my studying on it, but didn’t want to mix up my education with my personal apps and data. The FST iPad was good in the sense that I could do some serious iPad studying without worrying about my personal data/apps on my Air 2.When asked about my vision of mobile learning at uni, my answer was:
“We are relying more and more on mobile technologies and everyone seems to want a ‘digital hub’ for everything. Mobile devices are increasingly popular with learning because all kinds of information is available at the press of a few buttons.
I believe that the University of Westminster needs to further embrace the digital lifestyle by making it even easier to create events on Blackboard. There currently isn’t a wide coverage of Wi-Fi at the university and it would be great if the coverage could be extended to more areas of the campuses. “
Part of my vision has become a reality because for the times that I take my iPad to uni, suddenly everything becomes easily accessible and seamless with my learning. The University of Westminster has been hot on the heels too as they have continued to improve their services and made them more iPad friendly. SRSWeb and surveys set by the university are really doable on the iPad which is good as you don’t need to get to a computer to get everything to display properly. WiFi at the university has also improved (or so we’re told) and they have installed a few more wireless spots at the uni.
I had missed one of my lectures this semester and my friend offered to take notes on their iPad to me, and told me he would send them to me in the next lecture. He was about to get an email ready, when I told him to use AirDrop. He sort of knew what it was, but told me that it would a long process and that it’ll be quicker to just email it – because thats what he knew what to do really well. I quickly showed him how easy it is to tap the share sheet icon, tap AirDrop and tap my name. He was instantly taken back by how quick it was and how he didn’t have to set anything up. The next question was “What else can I AirDrop?”
As I have mentioned many times on this blog, since September I have not taken a pen and notebook with me to uni and its been a really big change in the way I have been learning. I was used to the idea of either memorising some of the lectures talk, or writing it down with a pen. Both methods are slow and old fashioned and the iPad has dramatically changed the way I take notes.
For the first time in years my notes are organised by date, time and even categorised by module. On top of that, I can search my notes using keywords which is a HUGE benefit as a student because it means I can just search for a topic that we learned and bring that note up straight away. Another way that the iPad is good at note taking is the fact that all my notes are synched across all my devices using my Microsoft or iCloud accounts.
Another thing that is becoming a reality is the fact that I don’t carry around any paper or booklets anymore. The ‘How You Learn’ booklet we were given in our first year is now stored in iBooks on my iPad. So are some of my assignments and coursework specs. It is really easy to get to my documents knowing that they’re all in one place.
As we got in to semester 2, things went a little bit downhill because I was doing Android app development and Java coding – so the iPad sort of disappeared as I couldn’t code on them, but always reappeared during lectures for my notes. It was very useful with the Duet app I blogged about previously.
Overall, I think the iPad is going to continue to increase accessibility to information available to me and further change the way I learn. Part of this continued embracement of mobile learning led me to creating this blog. It has allowed me to fully document my use of iPad and what its done for me. Lecturers will be more comfortable with the iPad of having a tablet in the classroom (so many already are) and we will all be using AirDrop for sharing data around the classroom without any hesitation. To make this a reality, we need to encourage students who have seen ‘AirDrop’ on their iPads but don’t know how it works or how quick it is and are still using email/dropbox to share data.
And as a digital ambassador, I will continue to push the idea of a paper free learning environment that is iPad.