I Like Apps in Lectures

Its now week 3 and I already have so much to talk about.

3 out 5 of my lecturers have been using the iPad as a way of engaging with students and as a student I am really happy with the outcome.

In one of my module lectures We have used the app ‘Kahoot it’ as a way of playing a quiz with the class and its proven to be very fun and engaging. We’ve used this in 2 out of 3 lectures so far and its really fun. It can become competitive really quickly.

The tutor displays the question on the projector, and we answer using coloured icons on our iPads – much like “who wants to be a millionaire”. After 10 seconds, the answer is displayed. The music is also very funky 🙂


Secondly, at the end of another tutorial, we use the ‘Poll Everywhere’ app to gather answers to questions set by the tutor. They ask us questions relating to the tutorial (what we’ve learned, what could be better and to define words used in the tutorial). Again, I found this really interesting and its great to see the instant bar charts at the end of the poll to see how many people got what right or wrong. Its anonymous too.

Finally, in another tutorial, the lecturer has been using the Nearpod app as a way to go through tutorial slides and then asks us to complete a range of tasks by drawing on the screen. I found this to be the best way of learning as I was really not understanding the new topic at first, but by the end of the activities I became very competent in labelling parts of a webpage accurately. So this is by far the best use of iPad this semester, along with Kahoot It.

I now have big reasons to bring the iPad into uni on a regular basis and hope this new learning trend continues!


Lecture Notes on iPad

The biggest thing I wanted to change this year was the way I took notes in lectures – something I’ve talked about a lot on this blog.

Today I just want to go a bit more in depth about it (don’t worry, it’s the last time!) and talk about how easy (or not so easy) it is.

First and foremost, it’s amazing how easy it is to get to grips with the large on screen keyboard of the iPad. It sort of becomes natural to type on when you get used to it.  I’ve owned several iterations of the iPad myself but never typed extensively on them, but typing on it is relatively painless and I find myself using the ‘touch keyboard’ A LOT to select text, indent a selection of text, create lists etc.

The real problem is really how quick it is. In a lecture, it’s really easy to get left behind while the lecturer is moving forward with his talk because you’re not striking real keys, rather a flat bit of glass, so I found myself typing slower than I would like. Often at times I would miss the lectures talk because the iPad constantly auto corrects you changes words. Also, sometimes the keyboard accidentally activates its touch keyboard mode and selects text, which then gets deleted when I start typing again. Luckily there are undo buttons in apps, but in the time I’ve made these mistakes, I’ve also missed a few minutes of the lecturers talk – which might not seem like much but it is a lot when you’re trying to understand Java!

Talking about Java though, I noticed that it’s quite challenging to type code in my notes. The special characters are not easy to type as you have keep changing the view of the keyboard from letters to symbols – which is understandable, given the fact you can only see so much on screen as one time. It also likes to correct any code I type into other “proper” words and changes the formatting of some code. It’s definitely not designed to take programming notes but it can be done.

If you overlook these small problems, I found the iPad to be a solid device for taking notes on and I am happy to report that a notepad has not been seen in my bag at all. It’s SUPER easy to get to my notes on iCloud.com and download them to my USB.

My preferred app for taking notes is Pages because it’s integrated with the iPad and iCloud (being an Apple made app) and is also clean and easy to use. I have seen other students using the built in Notes app, which is great. Another student uses the Notability app and they said they liked the larger text area and the amount of features it has.

At the top of my lecture notes, I like to write the name of the module, followed by the lecture number. It can be very long to keep typing “Object Oriented Programming 2” every time, so I have set up some keyboard short cuts to help me with them 😉


So now I can type “OOP2”, and it will expand automatically!

A small number of students are still lagging behind on pen and paper and an even smaller number are carrying laptops for notes + following slides. However there so are many brave students that are taking notes, following the slides & interacting with the lecture on the iPads.

In the next post, I will be talking about textbooks on iPad 🙂


iPad in Lectures

Have the iPads been used in lectures?

The main point was to enhance learning through the use of them.

The answer is… yes!

I have a module called “Professional Practice” this year and the lecturer has encouraged us to bring in our tablets/laptops every single lecture. This lecture is the only one where we use the iPads in every single one so far. It makes a slow, long lecture seem more interesting and engaging.


He uses it as a gateway to Google Forms – to gather answers to questions set by himself. After we complete the form, he displays a graph on the projector showing us the percentage of answers – which he then goes through and gives us explanations on the correct and wrong answers.

Granted, the form can be completed via a laptop or phone too, but he encourages the use of iPad to complete them too.


Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 20.23.29

Email text from lecturer asking us to make sure we bring iPads fully charged and ready to go!

Another lecturer, for the module ‘Advanced Client Side Web Development’, has been using the iPads with the NearPod app, asking us to follow the slides and complete the short questions in between. This is a great way of seeing how much we’ve picked up or what we are weak on. She does not use the iPads regularly, but we have used them in about 4-5 lectures thus far.

Hopefully more and more tutors will involve the use of iPads from semester 2.