UMichigan Professor Uses iPads to Remake the Chalkboard

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple's big education announcement may be January 19th in New York City, but that doesn't mean Apple is the only company innovating in the educational space. University of Michigan professor Perry Samson has developed an iPad app called LectureTools that Samson hopes can turn laptops and iPads from a way to distract bored students into an interactive learning tool that keeps them engaged.




The Chronicle of Higher Education explains:
For the app to be fully utilized, all of the students and the professor would need either an iPad or a laptop loaded with the software as they sit in the classroom. Then the instructor could use the iPad app to present slides that would show up on every student's screen and allow any student in the room to annotate the slides or ask a question. For instance, students could highlight points on a map using their iPads, and the group of responses would be visible--anonymously--to the entire class. Mr. Samson said the app freed him from the podium.
The app tracks students classroom participation, something Samson says could be used to spot early warning signs in students who may be having difficulty with the material. 20 classes are using LectureTools at the University of Michigan, but it's also being used at Ohio State and Michigan State.

Article Link: UMichigan Professor Uses iPads to Remake the Chalkboard
 

diamond3

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2005
832
257
All fine and dandy until one of those "Anonymous" markups is a giant penis over your Geometry lesson.
I was thinking the same thing. It would have to be anonymous to the class, but have the teacher be able to know who drew the inappropriate picture.

I don't really think it seems necessary be able to draw during a lecture, interactive quizzes seem just as beneficial without trying to interpret other students writing. I could maybe see something like a share button where the teacher could ask for a question, then on person raises their hand and can submit the work to the teacher for review and have it displayed.
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
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Sounds fun, but it makes students focus on their own personal device instead on the same physical board. All students looking at the same board can create a stronger "group bond" in a way, I think.

Also, who would pay for iPads and laptops for each student? Because not all students have these.
 

tk421

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2005
654
1
Los Angeles
I don't really think it seems necessary be able to draw during a lecture, interactive quizzes seem just as beneficial without trying to interpret other students writing.
Think of all the different subjects out there! There are many situations that would benefit from drawing, even if it was just an arrow or a circle to direct attention to a certain portion of an image.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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Also, who would pay for iPads and laptops for each student? Because not all students have these.
Not every student has the $500 textbook for the class.

Oh wait, yes they do, because it's a listed required material.

The same person will pay for the iPad as the person who paid for the textbook, be it scholarship money, the student themselves, or the parent.
 

pjsamson

macrumors newbie
Jan 11, 2012
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How I Teach with an iPad

For the record (as the "Professor" in the story) I have described how I teach class with my iPad + laptop at http://www.sageonstage.com. I can draw on my slides, the students can draw on my slides but only on their own copy using LectureTools.

Students without iPads can use laptops. Students without laptops can text in their answers to questions on a cell phone. Students without cell phones, laptops or iPads (or who choose not to bring them) can hand in their answers on paper and I can credit their effort.
 
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Saladinos

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2008
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Great idea, and from the description, sounds well executed.

Are the lectures viewable later? With annotations? How about recording the audio from the lecturer's iPad and making that available later?

There's a lot that can be done in this space. I'm glad somebody is.
 

jlc1978

macrumors 68020
Aug 14, 2009
2,446
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Folks - read this professor's blog. It has a very interesting and readable discussion of the tool. Despite the fact he is at UM his use of the tools is very interesting and finally gets us back to the roller equipped overhead.
 

Branskins

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2008
1,230
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Folks - read this professor's blog. It has a very interesting and readable discussion of the tool. Despite the fact he is at UM his use of the tools is very interesting and finally gets us back to the roller equipped overhead.
What do you mean despite the fact he is at UM? :O
 

sterlingindigo

macrumors 6502
Dec 7, 2007
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

Go Sparty!
 

nylonsteel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2010
717
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re original article

i'm for it

if the teacher can help the students having difficulty with the material

hate when teachers fawn over students who already know it all
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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No, they don't. Many students make do with course reserves from the library.
And many actually buy or rent the textbook. At my own college, I'd say that maybe 5% of students sometimes go with the "I can get it at the library, that'll be just as good" approach... although, IDK, maybe when you leave the STEM departments you end up with a lot more students thinking that's a good idea.
 

yAak

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2011
45
92
For people confused about how students get ahold of said iPads:
School departments often have budgets for exactly this kind of thing, or technology grants that can only be used on these kinds of things. So they buy their department a batch of iPads to be used in-class. Think of it as buying desks or projectors.

The students in classes using this approach really aren't expected to come up with their own laptop or iPad.
 

iPhD

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2007
66
64
Once again, in a story about a useful tool and an energized instructor who seems to care about student engagement, the information is distilled down to nothing more than a way to grab a hold of bored students (see paragraph 1).

Why must entertainment be a part of education? The prof referred to is an educator. His blog talks about engaging the students. This is important. It just frosts my chickens every time the media wails and moans about bored students. Going to school is the students' job. Engaging in the process of learning is their job. Keep in mind that if they don't engage from their end, it may not actually be the prof's fault. Students have more job security than the teachers. They can do a half-assed job and it's not their fault.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,706
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Oregon
Going to school is the students' job. Engaging in the process of learning is their job. Keep in mind that if they don't engage from their end, it may not actually be the prof's fault.
I totally disagree. It's the professors job to engage the students. Students are paying the school and the professors. If the professors don't uphold their end of the deal students might as well just read the book and learn on their own. I applaud the effort of Professor Samson.
 

SeanMcg

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
333
1
Once again, in a story about a useful tool and an energized instructor who seems to care about student engagement, the information is distilled down to nothing more than a way to grab a hold of bored students (see paragraph 1).

Why must entertainment be a part of education?... Engaging in the process of learning is their job. Keep in mind that if they don't engage from their end, it may not actually be the prof's fault....
Both sides have responsibilities, but there _is_ a difference between entertainment and engagement. Think about Ben Stein's character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller?" I'd call that un-engaged. However, the way teachers engage their students need not be entertaining. I was forced to a read a book by the teacher I disliked the most in high school. My dislike wasn't for the workload, but because of her style. Yet that book has become my all-time favorite. I don't recommend her approach, but you couldn't say she wasn't engaged with her students.
 

iPhD

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2007
66
64
I totally disagree. It's the professors job to engage the students. Students are paying the school and the professors. If the professors don't uphold their end of the deal students might as well just read the book and learn on their own. I applaud the effort of Professor Samson.
Oh, I'm applauding him, also. I think tools in the classroom are great. When I fire up my own classroom, I feel like Lt. Sulu on the deck of the Enterprise.

My job as a prof is to be an expert in my field (math, by the way) and facilitate an individual's learning of it. If an individual is bored, the teacher can only do so much to try and engage him/her. You don't get a grade for warming the chair. Well, actually, some students do and then they wonder why it is an F.

In this story, I took issue with this tool and an adaptation of it getting presented as a way to grab the bored. Education is far more than that.
 

spillproof

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2009
2,028
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USA
As a college student myself, I like this idea.

I already use "clickers" (response cards) and most recently and app on my iPhone that works as a clicker. The app it self was free and the license was $18 compared to $45 for a physical clicker.

If students can use more digital forms of learning, it saves them money (digital textbooks are hella cheaper, especially e-reader books) and can be more engaging.

That being said, I'm "old fashoned" and still prefer paper books with pen and paper. But, if the current younger generation grows up with all digital stuff, then I'm sure they'll prefer it.

And finally, it is the teachers job to be engaging. They can have all the iPads and apps they want, but if their teaching style puts kids to sleep regardless, then its all useless.