Touch My Class
We give out MacBooks to all incoming freshman here at George Fox and for next year’s class we are also including an iPod Touch. We are doing this partly because of a purchasing incentive, but more because we want to increase penetration of these Apple “touch” devices on campus. So along with the new students we will put some in the hands of faculty and we will have some for classroom handouts and we will make sure our CS and Engineering programs have all they need. So why is this the time for a “Touch”? Because the anticipated release of the 3.0 Touch software will set the stage for an explosion of great teaching and learning applications. And I think one of the key ingredients will be the addition of BlueTooth in addition to WiFi in support of Bonjour type peer-to-peer networking.
Yes this will be the Clicker killer and the application possibilities will surely amaze us. With some attention applied to various classroom network management for tabulating surveys, allowing for questions, distributing data, we should see value from these mobile devices in the hands of our students. But this will be different, we won’t treat these touch devices as computers, if that was the case we would have been doing this for the last five years since all our students have been bringing their laptops to a WiFi enable class. No, the touch device will be a communication device, what the Clicker vendors always aspired to. It will be the personal tutor offering clarifications and supporting information. Now if we can effectively tie this in with our LMS and favorite collaboration cloud then we extend the classroom with no effort. Next year we get our feet wet; the following year the industry will better define mobile computing devices which may in turn redefine education.