Category Archives: iPad
Our student News team wanted to do a story on our iGFU Mobile Portal. They tried to video record a demo off of an iPAD which was not going to work so iGFU author, Brian McLaughlin, made them a simple tutorial that we now use on our website. Checkout the tutorial if you have any interest in what a university mobile portal needs to be. Remember, our mobile portal is basically a skunk works project that leverages the flexibility and performance of HTML5 using Java and PHP to access useful data from general data feeds, Moodle and our PeopleSoft ERP.
The tutorial also highlights a couple of other useful tools. Brian made the video by using an App called AirServer that allows him to mirror an IOS device to his MacBook. He then records it with Quicktime and with a little editing on iMovie you get a very real view of a mobile app. Then we upload the video to our new ShareStream video distribution system which gives us total flexiblity to manage and distribute video (especially if we want to manage copyright). We are investigating if AirServer might offer a better path for iPad mirroring to projector in the classroom.
The iPad or mobile computing hype for Higher Education continues to be strong but grasping for articles. I sense media is a bit frustrated that Higher Ed has not been able to embrace the iPad, but that is just the calm we are in before the storm. The larger question of technology in Higher Education may be the more interesting topic right now. Our university was just selected by Fast Company as one of the top five technologically decked out institutions that students would want to select. Of course a mid size regional private university like George Fox was impressed most by being listed with Stanford, Duke and Notre Dame. The reality is that we really are technologically ahead of the game but it is not strategically driven. We just happen to have had a visionary president 20 years ago who initiated a laptop program for undergraduate students to distinguish us for marketing value. And that core laptop commitment gave me the institutional motivation needed to drive EdTech initiatives. So Fast Company made a selection based on headline hits, and yes our students are technologically decked out. But the real reason we are a good choice is that we keep technology in perspective. We build or buy it if it will really be used. We understand that at best 20% of our faculty will actually benefit or care about these great technological advances. But that is OK, that 20% is enough to justify the attention we want our students to place in the technology we provide them.
The larger question I mentioned is technology in Higher Education. Technology that is no longer about the computers we provide or require our students to use. No longer about the software that we believe is the gateway to prosperity. No longer about how to make information available for learning. No, it is about how to use what we have created. Students have plenty of acceptable choices for managing the information they need for the creation of knowledge. Higher Education now must help optimize this use of technology. Teaching may be more important then ever. Teachers used to provide the information that they molded into knowledge. Now they must help the student filter the information in hopes of influencing the knowledge that will be formed. So maybe being technologically decked out helped George Fox to have the largest and smartest new class ever. But maybe we have been recognized for the importance of a 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio working with a great information filtering system.
Here is what happened. Left work at 5:00 tonight. I set my iPad in its case on top of my car as I was putting other things down to get into my car. Yes there were distractions, like dealing with my recovering new hip and the Remote TV crew that was filming for some reason in front of our university. No excuse for me forgetting that my iPad was on the roof. As I was leaving the Newberg City limits I was accelerating to 55 mph when luckily I saw the black pad fly off my roof and bounce on the highway via my rear view mirror. I quickly turned around and was the first car to get back to my iPad which was fortunate since it could easily have been run over. I jumped out, new hip and all, grabbed the iPad, saw that it appeared to be intact, opened up the case saw that the iPad screen was OK and voila I turned it on and all was well.
Well this iPad owes its life to the extra strong convertible case jacket by incase which was recommended to me at the Apple Store when I bought the iPad. It was $60 and obviously nicer than you might think you want or need, but now I feel like a genius for buying it. The iPad itself has a couple of small scratches on one end but otherwise it is as good as new.
It has been about a month since we decided to offer the iPad as an alternative to the laptop that we have been giving out to our students for many years. There have been mentions of this by mostly technology publications around the world with many comments ranging from concern to praise. And of course there has been a fair amount of discussion on campus about what this really means. Actually the greatest advantage for us is that it has forced our programs to consider what their minimum computing requirements are so that they can properly advise their students about whether they really need a laptop or not. We have no idea what the adoption rate for iPads will be but we know there is excitement growing especially with incredible hype that has been accompanying the scheduled release of the iPad this coming Saturday.
What struck me tonight as I was thinking about all of the standard interviews that I have been giving is that the most interesting aspect of George Fox giving out iPads will be the direct comparison to the MacBook. It has been interesting observing faculty consider and realize that the iPad probably can do all that they require. Unfortunately as I have mentioned before this is not exactly what Apple wants explored at this time in Higher Education. But this may be really interesting in that our university has totally defined the usefulness of a laptop and in recent years the MacBook for support of academic technology needs. Next year we will get to compare the experience of those who select the iPad with this wealth of laptop experience.
It is interesting how quickly it appears the book publishing industry has embraced digital distribution and yet the Newspaper industry can’t. Well I decided to write this blog as I read my last home delivered Sunday Oregonian newspaper. Yes we finally gave up, that feel good morning coffee and paper just is not what it used to be. Generally it is a wet paper that requires you to remove the tricky half wrap add to see the front page, then search threw the rest of the paper to find Business and Sports. I think it was the recycling effort that finally did us in.
Well this week the Oregonian, Portland’s newspaper, had another layoff. Significant in that the “No Layoffs Promise” was rescinded in August of 09 by their parent company when they started the early retirement enticements. So in less then a year with 25% fewer employees the paper is still tossing out the same old lines that the newspaper industry is strong and the only problem is that the darn Internet is stealing all of their advertisers. Yes, and your business model is??? And they complain that they are spending half their effort on the online version, “OregonLive” with no positive results. True, online newspapers have to be real newspapers not outdated web portals. Come on you regional newspapers, you don’t have that much time. Formulate your alliances with some larger digital news service with multimedia development skills that will help you to be competitive.
I will buy a subscription to a good digital newspaper especially if there is some regional presence. I may not feel that it is fair to pay the same amount, but at least half. And considering distribution is 85% of the cost shouldn’t that help your bottom line. Plus you regain those advertisers who bolted for the Internet.
If you have followed my blog or George Fox University you know about our laptop program where in recent years we have given out an Apple MacBook to all incoming freshman. The purpose for the program was for marketing, standardization and convenience. The issue for us is the changing landscape of educational computing and the value dilution of a laptop for a traditional undergraduate. George Fox University happens to find itself at the crossroads for both of these issues.
We had been hoping that the iPad would be the perfect transition technology, but I address some of the shortcomings of the iPad that prevented us from offering the iPad in place of the MacBook next year. However, in looking for a way to offer an option to the MacBook we have decided to offer the iPad as an alternative choice. I think this will be a very interesting opportunity that will first be marked by the percentage who select the iPad and second by the success we find in utilizing and supporting it. Now we will make sure the iPad offering is as complete as possible and we won’t be able to give any guarantees that the iPad equally replaces the MacBook. In fact the smarter value choice would be for the MacBook, but what will the students choose?
There will be many reasons why students may choose an iPad and it will typically break down into those who already have their laptop of choice or those who actually believe that the iPad is the more functional computing device for them to be a successful student. How the numbers work out will be interesting, but no matter what I think we will see many iPads, iPhones and iTouches throughout the undergraduate population. We will be deliberate in tying to integrate these mobile devices into our Teaching & Learning strategies, but in most cases we will just be observing whether the iPad satisfies the technology needs for undergraduate higher education. Of course the rapid availability and our adoption of E-Textbooks will strongly influence the value of the iPad. Stay tuned.
I probably should be posting everyday if I wanted to keep everyone up-to-date on the many discussions and issues circulating around our investigation of the iPad as our university’s recommendation for a student educational technology device. But I took 5 days out to celebrate my dad’s 95th birthday and now the SuperBowl will require some attention. Go Colts.
So a quick update – the excitement that the iPad has generated was summed up well by our President who was in Washington DC during the Apple iPad event where he observed that the iPad announcement received more media attention then the State of the Union Address. Many who fear the change that the iPad will bring have argued for what it can’t do. Here is an example: “but it does not do handwriting recognition” or “it does not have a camera”, “it does not multi-task”, etc. So let’s be clear – the iPad is not a Tablet, or Laptop, or iPhone. It is an iPad and it is not intended to be like anything else, it is a NEW and innovative technology.
Many play the skeptical role questioning whether it will be successful and they are content to wait and see. I say the iPad has no risk of failure, worst case it will be successful if nothing more then as a replacement for our love affair with having a morning newspaper. There is a reason why the book publishers are embracing the iPad and this is different from the music industry and the iPod. First, the music industry did not see or understand what hit them. Second, the iPad comes in as the second or third generation eBook reader that solves most of the problems. Third, the business concept has already been defined and Apple is not the enemy, Amazon and Google have been.
So I need to allocate enough time to fulfill my obligation as a die hard Colts fan this weekend and then I have to present a proposal to my university for why I believe the iPad would be a more effective education technology device then the current MacBook that we give to our students. However, the iPad has no chance of winning that role without the support of our faculty to leverage the iPad’s technological advantages in the classroom and on campus.
After my initial observation of Apple’s new iPad I do believe it will change how we define a student computer. Here at George Fox University we have a more unique opportunity to represent this since through our Computers Across Curriculum, CAC, (undergrad laptop program) we have defined a student computer for the last 20 years. Generally that definition has been based on various software requirements set forth by our curriculum. But that type of justification was based on applications that resided on the computer that produced output such as documents or spreadsheets held hostage by proprietary formats or feature sets. The iPad can change that. The iPad is not dominated by an operating system or major applications. No it is dominated by user design for the most flexible and effective interaction with the Internet. It is a device that was designed for our computing preferences rather then to determine our computing practice.
I do see our university replacing our CAC laptop computer with this new iPad as our recommended educational computing device. That may mean that we leave some needs on the table, students may need another computer or we may need to reinvest in some public computing. But the resource that we can make available to our students with this iPad probably equates more closely to the computing world they live in. Writing will transition from print to electronic publishing and maybe accounting will be more about teaching spreadsheet concepts and less about teaching Excel. So I’m feeling good about embracing this iPad. I believe higher education will be the benefactor of a much needed change in computing strategy.
This post is to applaud Apple’s marketing strategy. They have truly parlayed the art of competitive silence into the most effect marketing strategy a company could ever hope for. The iPhone set the stage for this and carrier agreements somewhat justifies it. Pretending that the silence is for strategic protection is brilliant. I love the Apple employees who do actually buy into this completely, kind of an oath of operation. But the result is an immense amount of free advertising based on anticipation. Who had the greatest impact at the CES last week? The company that was not even there. Aren’t we all anxious about what Apple might announce on Jan. 26th or 27th?