I am co-chairing Technology Across Curriculum Committee which aims to bring faculty closer to the latest technologies. In collaboration with out IT support department, we conducted an iPad circle, to discuss some basic uses of apps on the iPad. The IT provided iPads for those faculty who did not bring their own.
There was a strong interest from faculty to participate in this circle. About 30 faculty attended. My co-chair started with a basic introduction of the iPad including the preloaded apps that she uses, like the yellow pad. She designs the class activities on the yellow pad and brings it to class so she remembers all the things she planned to do with the students. She also uses the clock/timer for some activities that require her to time them.
I demonstrated how to download and use the Dropbox and explain what is the difference between Dropbox and iCloud. I also showed how I use iWork in my classes and demonstrated the news apps, Newsy Pulse, and Flipboard. I stressed that I liked in particular the app Newsy as I could show short videos of news about companies and products to students in class and develop a discussion around it. I also stated that Pulse was a great app for news as you could customize the content and you could see many sources of content on one page.
To show faculty a more advanced note taking app, I talked about Evernote. I compared it to the yellow pad app stating that one of the biggest advantages I saw was the ability to organize notes into folders/notebooks. Another advantage I showed was clipping web pages using the Dolphin browser. Evernote integration with other apps was the third biggest advantages I mentioned
My co-chair explained how she uses her iPad to show students material from the textbook as all her textbooks are uploaded into her iPad. She also said how easy it was for her to make changes to grades while in class if needed as she had access to her gradebook from her iPad.
One faculty member mentioned she was using the Blackboard app and she liked to follow the discussion board activities of her students through that app. As the app is a paid one, some other faculty including me said that we preferred to open the website on our iPads instead.
We all were very pleased with the interest of attending faculty. The room was packed and many were taking notes. We will probably organize another such circle in the fall semester and we might include Android based tablets for comparison.