Last Thursday saw the delivery of 22 wifi-iPads into the hands of excited Education students. Believe me, they were excited — with the experience more akin to Christmas than a university device trial.
The session was not quite what I expected, in short it was absolute bedlam! The spectrum of ability with the device ranged from experts to those who had never used one, had not much experience with Apple products and didn’t have an iTunes account right through to those students who brought their own iPads!
At one extreme I had students who whooped, ripped the plastic off the devices and had run through the setup and was downloading apps while I was still handing the last device out. At the other end of the spectrum, I went step by step through setting up the iPad, and in several cases, guided students through the process of getting an Apple ID.
Working with the tech savvy spectrum
It was definitely a good lesson for me. I’m a qualified trainer, but I have never had to work with such a wide range of technical abilities before. Students have usually come to me with a good grounding in computing and an aptitude for technology. It will be interesting watching how the class manages with the exercises that have been designed specifically for the use of the iPad. All of these students know how to use a pen and paper, but the iPad may pose a challenge in thinking and doing for some of the less technically savvy ones.
Overall the class went well, although we ran out of time to show them how to use the primary app that the lecturer and I had selected for them. In the end I was left uncertain about how prepared they’d be for the next assignment which would be prepared exclusively on the iPad. I have some thinking to do about how much the new technology will impact their ability to get through the subject material in the time available, but that is a discussion for another week.