Archive for the ‘use case’ Category

iPads and Research

June 19th, 2012 Comments off

I’ve spent some time this month looking at various workflow models for conducting research (primarily library research) with an iPad. During that time I’ve found a number of helpful blog posts. The first six are part of a series of blog posts Macdrifter wrote on how he does research with the iPad. In fact, go fishing around on the blog. Good stuff to be found there.

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 1 (the browser)

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 2 (reference material)

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 3a (sketching app review)

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 3b (sketching workflow overview)

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 4 (plain text link)

Macdrifter on Doing Research with an iPad, part 5 (working with source material)

The next set of posts is a bit of a catch-all, but some good info.

iPads and website annotating

iCab Mobile, a very feature-rich browser

Macdrifter on PDF reading on the iPad

iPads and Evernote and Skitch

-Rebecca Johnson

Innovative iPad Use in Liberal Arts

June 12th, 2012 Comments off

Recently, Dr. Rebecca Frost Davis, Program Officer for the Humanities with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), put out a call on the NITLE listserv asking for examples of innovate iPad use by humanities faculty. I’ve attached a link to her presentation in which she gives a number of model use cases, including three by our very own University of Alabama faculty, Dr. David Michelson (p. 28), Dr. Jonathan Whitaker (p. 30), and Dr. Margaret Peacock (p. 36). I’ve also provided direct links to the posts on this blog that detail the iPad work that Dr. Davis referenced in her presentation.

-Rebecca Johnson

Dr. Rebecca Davis’s presentation on iPad use

Dr. David Michelson’s iPad use

Dr. Jonathan Whitaker’s iPad use

Dr. Margaret Peacock’s iPad use


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Dr. Margaret Peacock–iPads and the Master Narrative

January 17th, 2012 Comments off

Dr. Margaret Peacock describes how using iPads in her history seminar helped students understand the significance of having access to primary materials.

-Margaret Peacock received her Ph.D. in Russian history from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, her MS in information science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997, and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Alabama. She has published multiple articles on semiotics and the history of youth and childhood in the Cold War. Her first manuscript, “Cold War Kids: Images, Childhood, and the Collapse of Cold War Consensus,” is forthcoming. Before becoming an historian she worked as an Oracle Database Replication Specialist and Java Programmer for Nortel Networks in the Silicon Valley.

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Dr. Jonathan Whitaker–iPads and the Importance of Immediate Feedback

November 17th, 2011 Comments off

Here, Jonathan Whitaker describes how he uses his iPad to provide feedback to his students.

-Jonathan Whitaker is an assistant professor of trombone in the School of Music. For more information about Dr. Whitaker, visit, the website of the Trombone Studio at The University of Alabama.

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Dr. David Michelson–iPads in the History Classroom, Limitations and Opportunities

November 2nd, 2011 Comments off

I put the iPads to use in three settings: as a device shared between multiple students in class, as devices for individual student use in and out of class, and as a device for my own teaching, research, and service. My overall impression was that having a tablet computer was very useful in all three settings.

The iPad allowed me to have a library of reference resources available in class at a moment’s notice. It also enabled students to consult documents collaboratively in a small group without trying to huddle around a laptop. Similarly, the iPad allowed a way for students to access the web simultaneously in class. Other benefits included having a common technology platform for the course, which allowed me to offer the first course in my department (and perhaps the college) that used only digital readings. A final benefit came through the improved productivity for me as a teacher, researcher, and colleague in having a highly mobile computer to take with me wherever I needed to be on campus.

Feedback from student usage also raised some drawbacks to the use of iPads. First, using iPads as a one-size-fits-all approach to mobile computing was not practical. The most technologically savvy students found little need for the iPad when they already had an iPhone and a netbook. As a faculty member I also see the practicality of using different devices or operating systems, depending on the needs of the course or objective. A second drawback is the financial question. While students were grateful that the cost of the pilot program placed little burden on them (other than purchasing 3G or apps), they universally worried about costs if a campuswide program were implemented. Similarly as a faculty member, I found that purchasing apps was problematic without funding and awkward within the constraints of Apple’s single-user system rather than a university site license.

These issues notwithstanding, I would strongly recommend that the college continue to promote tablet computing. I would also see advantages to the use of tablet computers both by faculty and on an individual basis by students.  I would recommend that the initiative be expanded in scope to include more devices and operating systems in addition to the iPad and further policy direction given to the question of costs.

-David A. Michelson is assistant professor of history. His research focuses on the development of Christianity in the Middle East during the last centuries of the Roman Empire. In addition to ancient history, Dr. Michelson teaches courses on the new research methods of the digital humanities. His current digital research project ( is an online reference work for the study of minority cultures in the Middle East.

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Raising Articulatory Awareness with the iPad

October 28th, 2011 Comments off

In this video, recorded during the recent workshop in which Arts and Sciences faculty reported to Dean Olin about their work with iPads, Dr. Cipria describes how she used the iPad 1 with digital video cameras to help students improve their Spanish vowel pronunciation. Here is a link to her blog post.

Strategic Interaction: The Impact of Mobile Technology (iPads) on Learning

October 24th, 2011 Comments off

Here is the video link of Dr. Emily Ritter’s presentation, in which she describe how she, Dr. Park, and Dr. Vonnahme looked at the impact of iPads on a student-centered activity designed to teach strategic thinking. The blog posts describing this activity can be found at these links: Part 1 and Part 2.

Dr. Andrew Goodliffe-How the iPad transformed my teaching

October 19th, 2011 Comments off

[editorial note: The video embedded in this post is of Dr. Goodliffe presenting at the iPad Initiative feedback session for Dean Robert Olin, held on September 13, 2011. Dr. Goodliffe’s blog post summarizing his work with the iPad is below.]

How the iPad Transformed My Teaching from UA College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.

The iPad has had a significant impact on how I work. There are three main areas in which I have been impacted, the first of which I did not anticipate.

1)   The iPad’s lack of an obvious file system was an initial major hindrance. However, this forced me to look at new ways of doing things. I started out small – one of my favorite applications (Air Sharing) presented me with the option of a file system inside an app. GoodReader presented something similar (though unlike most people, I far prefer the former app). Within both programs I started to see mention of Dropbox – I had used this a little before, but had not realized the potential. I have now fully embraced this program. It is now my default file system on the iPad. Most of my day-to-day files are now on Dropbox. This means that these files are also available on my iPad and hence easily available to share with students in both formal and informal settings. If students are having problems with a concept, I typically have PowerPoints, images, etc., that can easily be pulled up and shared. This has been transformative in the classroom. Plus, all my computers (office, home, laptop) are now perfectly synced!

2)   In small class settings (upper-level undergraduate classes, graduate seminars, etc.), the ability to be able to pass around the iPad, as you would a photo or a scientific paper, is a major plus. A large number of my photos and the majority of my collection of digital scientific papers are on my iPad. No longer, when posed a question do I have to say something like “I am sure that there is a paper that I have read on this topic – it has a great figure.” Now I always have that with me, and it is easily shared around the room. This has also been true of items such as field photos. I should also add that the iPad is now my default medium for reading scientific papers.

3)   When doing fieldwork with students, the ability to use the 3G connection to pull up applications such as Google Earth has been a major plus. I can now show students where we are on the map. We can now more easily find the best location for an instrument–“There is a field behind that stand of trees.” The ability to easily do, and share, initial data analysis in the field is also a major plus. This gives students a much greater sense of understanding and ownership of geophysical field data. I am starting to explore and make use of GIS apps on the iPad. I am certain that these will be very valuable.

-Andrew Goodliffe is an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Alabama. Andrew’s specialty is exploration geophysics. This area of research involves a significant amount of fieldwork throughout the globe, with emphasis on the southwest Pacific, Australia, Egypt, and Greece. Most recently his research has focused on the geological evolution of the Gulf of Mexico and geological carbon sequestration in Walker County, Alabama. Before arriving at UA, Andrew was on the faculty at the University of Hawai’i. Andrew received his PhD from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, MS from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and BSc from the University of Plymouth in the UK.

Dr. Alicia Cipria–The iPad in a Spanish phonetics course: Raising articulatory awareness to enhance pronunciation

September 23rd, 2011 Comments off

Vowel production in English and in Spanish requires different ways of rounding and tensing the lips as well as degrees of jaw movement for accurate production and perception. In this sense, articulation to produce Spanish vowels needs to be more fixed and unambiguous than for English vowels, which usually have more variation in the production of a single vowel. In my Spring 2011 SP 484 class, I asked students to work with an interactive articulatory website. I then used a Flip handheld video camera to record students’ mouths while they read sentences in Spanish. The videos were split into photo stills or snapshots and saved to Dropbox and then to the photo library on the iPad. I then opened the stills in AirSketch, which has a folder for all of the images that are in the iPad photo library, and used a stylus to indicate changes in mouth articulation that would help the student produce a more native-like pronunciation. I emailed the resulting annotated photo instantly to the student, with space for extra comments, and attached their original recording. I also projected the annotated images so that we could discuss them in class. Because I was using an iPad 1, I had to find apps that were VGA compatible. AirSketch provided for more seamless composing and projecting than using iAnnotate in combination with Perfect Browser, which is what I tried first.

In the picture, you will see that the English-speaking student is producing a Spanish vowel sound with neutral lips (as in English). By using AirSketch on the iPad, I indicated to him the correct lip and jaw position to produce the Spanish [a] sound more clearly, as in the word disciplinAs.

Students found the experience helpful and enjoyable. With this method, I was able to help them become more aware of what sounds they actually produced and the changes they needed to make. After they received the annotated images and after class discussions, I assessed their pronunciation with another recording, which, in most cases, showed improvement in pronunciation.

It was a very useful experience overall. An initial drawback was trying to experiment with different apps until I found the ones that would do what I needed. The real drawback was the interface with the Flip video cameras I used, with much time spent trying to figure out a way to avoid using a computer to mediate between the iPad and the cameras, as well as trying to make the Flip app work. I got very useful help, though, from eTech all throughout the process. The major strengths of the experience were the portability of the iPad and the handy ways of making annotations for students. I plan to carry on the project again this semester, but using other video cameras, and iMovie to edit the videos into smaller clips.

-Alicia Cipria is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from The Ohio State University, specializing in the semantics of verb tense and aspect. She has been involved with the Roadmap to Redesign for the three large courses of Spanish at the Elementary level since its very conception, in 2004. After the official R2R project finished successfully, she continued working on the refinement of the hybrid courses that resulted from R2R (in-class/online combination), which is still the norm for Elementary Spanish at UA, allowing for the accommodation of an ever-growing student enrollment. Dr. Cipria has directed dissertations dealing with the application of technology to language courses and has been invited to numerous focus sessions and advisory meetings dealing with technology and languages, organized by different publishers of College Spanish textbooks (McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Heinle/Cengage, and Wiley).

Dr. Lucy Curzon–iPads and Art/Art History

September 9th, 2011 Comments off

First and foremost, I found that the iPad surpasses both smart phone and netbook technology in terms of being a portable, web-enabled device. It is powerful enough to take on major computing (Pages, Numbers, etc.) and small enough and quick enough (in terms of RAM) to be pulled out of my bag to schedule a meeting and answer an email all while walking across the quad AND balancing a cup of coffee in my other hand. Its true test as a device, however, was after the April 27th storms. I could watch James Spann, check weather satellite imagery (the VIPIR app) and, most of all, communicate with my students and colleagues – via eLearning, email, and Facebook — from anywhere and at any time. Although this level of connectivity is something that I don’t require in everyday life, these were extraordinary circumstances and the iPad delivered without fail.

As a person who enjoys tinkering/experimenting with various devices in order to figure them out, the iPad did not disappoint. It is great for visual learners, I think. Most of the apps I downloaded seemed to present an organizational sensibility that appealed not to textual logic but rather the logic of the image. In any case, I found using the iPad very intuitive.

As our graduate student test subjects determined, the iPad also holds great potential for creative activity. Sketching and photograph manipulation programs, among other apps, encourage the user to think beyond the confines of a single media area. Rather, she/he can understand the how creativity is fostered though interdisciplinarity (in this case, via a digital interface). Likewise, from an administrative standpoint, programs like iAnnotate, Evernote, Keynote, Kindle, and Dropbox make conducting class (distributing readings, taking and sharing notes, giving presentations, keeping blogs, etc.) much more efficient and, frankly, a little more fun.

-Lucy Curzon teaches Modern and Contemporary Art History as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama.  Her research interests vary from investigating ideas of national identity, gender, and sexuality in painting and photography to focusing on the exploration of how Art History and Studio curricula could better communicate with one another through active and collaborative learning strategies and new forms of teaching technology.  With regard to the latter, Curzon is currently focused on investigating the pedagogical value of collaborative social networking and other web-based media, for which she recently won a teaching grant to support her implementation of many of these ideas in large, lecture-based classrooms. Working with PI Dr. Brian Evans, she is also a faculty associate on an NSF-funded ‘CreativeIT’ project.  Curzon received her PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester.