Exploring the iPad for use in Higher Education

The iPad is often touted as a revolutionary new means of computing, but what exactly does that mean?

How does one explore the capabilities of a device which changes with the apps which may be loaded?

Should we be exploring the iPad as a device? Or, should we explore the educational experiences which might be possible though the Apps which are available?

How can we explore the device, if we do not have the funding to explore promising applications? This is like learning to use a microwave/convection oven without having funding to by the elements required to cook a meal or develop a new recipe. Exploring free resources can be beneficial and lead to rewarding results, but all too often, quality apps require time and funding to develop and may not be able to be shared freely.

Further, should we rely on the applications which are available or should we in fact be developing our own, and in the process, defining what the iPad or the "iPad experience" might be (possibly for our own or our students' needs). Perhaps this is not a unique idea. The history of modern education has relied upon the use of textbooks, but when scholars and researchers who teach cannot find the textbooks or resources to convey ideas, they write or create their own. So it might be with resources for the iPad or other digital devices. The lamentation for resources which are applicable for higher education might just be the canary in the coal mine which identifies not only the need for resources, but the need for educators to develop new "literary skills" to create the learning opportunities which these new devices just might afford.

Consider an interview and behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the his ebook, The Elements: A Visual Exploration. Consider how he has developed a resource which uses the iPad's multiple touch feature, 3D imagery, and the ability to incorporate real-time information, such as his example of linking to the current price of gold.

So, should the iPad be seen as a consumption device? Or, are their unique opportunities to use this as a tool for the creation of knowledge? Should the iPad (of 2010) be explored with the knowledge that it is the first generation of a device of its type? Should we acknowledge the iPad as a learning experience in its' own right and identify means to improve functionality and learning opportunities?

What do you think? What can you contribute? Let's learn together.
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  1. Thanks a lot for providing valuable information about the iPad for use in Higher Education.It'll really help us in future.

  2. This is not higher education explicitly, but it is an example of how iPad's are being used educationally, and perhaps there's something we can learn from it!


  3. More discussion of the iPad in learning, this time in higher ed!


    I think that ereaders still have a long way to go, though I'm an ereader and not an iPad person myself. I do know a number of people who've found excellent ways to integrate iTech and apps into their work life to great success. I suspect one way to start this process is to have a device that can truly be streamlined for work and not for play. Perhaps something like Spaces that are available on mac laptops--I use spaces to set up separate desktops, one for work and one for recreation. It decreases distraction a great deal.