Single function versus multi-function devices for education
I’m often asked to provide purchasing advice to campus administrators or to the campus Instructional Technology support person. My response usually lies along the usual items like LCD projects, document cameras, Promethean or SMART boards.
Recently my response has changed to items that provide more than one function and to items that can be placed in the hands of students. My advise moves away from the typical expensive single function devices listed above to less expensive items with multi-function capabilities. In this posting I look at the iPod Touch and iPad with its multiple functions. I chose these because our district supports these devices at the campus.
In contrast to digital cameras that take great pictures and relatively good video, or video cameras like Flip that take great video. The iPod Touch is a great multi-function device. The iPod Touch has the functionality to take still images, record, edit and publish video. It can also be used to record audio, browse the Internet, listen to audio books, read ebooks, watch or listen to Podcasts and run a host of applications. The face time camera let’s students participate in face to face communications with other students or teachers. The iPod’s ability to access a network means that it can share and collaborate with other users or devices. It can be configured to access information and resource from a server configured for WebDav. It can also be used to collaborate over a network or the Internet. Collaboration is facilitated by free applications like Drop Box and Evernote. All the same functions apply for the iPad, less the camera, for now.
I have touched on some of the obvious functions. What can be done is only limited by district resources and the teachers willingness to explore the functions.