Language Resource Center
LRC Newsletter Spring - 2013
Tablet Computing and Role of Language Resource Center

     In a recent piece in the Huffington Post, President Janet Riggs discussed online learning via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the potential of technology in higher education to engage students. She describes how thoughtful and creative use of technology and communication tools will facilitate an extension and enrichment of learning and teaching.

     According to “National Multimedia Consortium (NMC) 2013 Horizon report Higher Education”, MOOCs and Tablet Computing are considered to be the near-term technology trends. The report indicates that tablets such as iPad are proving to be powerful tools for learning inside and outside of the classroom. “Tablets are not a new kind of light weight laptop but rather a completely new technology” in terms of portability and the accessibility of thousands of applications that can enhance collaboration and sharing. Furthermore, the report states “schools and universities are rethinking the need for computer labs” on campus. image from http://images.apple.com/education/labs/images/laptop_program.jpg

     Apple has developed the educational learning solution called “Apple iPad Learning Lab” (link). It streamlines the management of the classroom sets of iOS devices. The content can be synched among devices and the data can be stored and secured instantly to the server or Mac computer. Some institution will find this sort of tablet computing beneficial especially since computer labs could be used as both enhanced classrooms and standard computer labs when space issues are apparent. An iPad lab can be very powerful solution for such the situation.

    Some faculty members on Gettysburg College campus own iPads distributed through IT. There are also others for personal use or owned through external grants. Professor Brian Meier in Psychology Department uses iPads for his research. iPads with a specific application are distributed to research participants who use them to complete questionnaires about their behaviors and feelings at several random times throughout the course of a day. The application sends data to a server via a Wi-Fi connection.

     Professor Meier emphasizes the advantage of extreme mobility and safe and valid data collection. He says “the self-report data becomes more valid when using a tablet because it allows one to measure behavior and feelings as they happen as opposed to assessing participants recollection of their behavior and feelings for a given time. Furthermore, sending the data to a server provides more security in the case of a lost, stolen, or broken iPad.” image from http://images.apple.com/education/labs/images/macbook_labs.jpg

     Challenging and Seeking the possibility of iPad mobile lab is very important as the role of Language Resource Center or any other IT division. However, the physical lab with fixed/stable computer is still necessary in order to test, research, and assess the advantage and disadvantage of what we can do better in either tablet lab or traditional computer lab.

Also faculty member need to consider what kind of content and applications can be provided by this mobile computing as well as what they want to do with them. Without the deep analysis and assessment of the hardware, software, and content, as well as network infrastructure, this portable lab can be just ‘light-weight laptop which even do less than standard laptop’.

     [Note] Some of the contents distributed for iPhone/iPad can also be used in iTune in the computer. Some materials can be supplemental for the courses offered on campus by accessing to ‘iTune-U’ in iTune. iTune U

Janet Riggs (2013) “MOOCs, Flips, and Blends”, Huffington Post, Jan 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-riggs/moocs-flips-and-blends_b_2593733.html

National Multimedia Consortium (NMC) 2013 Horizon report Higher Education http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed

Apple iPad Lab http://www.apple.com/education/labs/

iTune U http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/

MOOCs http://www.bdpa-detroit.org/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57:moocs-top-10-sites-for-free-education-with-elite-universities&catid=29:education&Itemid=20

Academic Earth http://www.academicearth.org/




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