iPads: Bane or Boon to College Teaching?
Published: March 16, 2011 / Author: Josh Fischman
There’s division in the news media about iPads this week. Optimism about the tablets in the college classroom abounds in a Financial Times article. But The Chronicle‘s coverage, “iPads Could Hinder Teaching, Professors Say,” pointed to serious pedagogical limits to the finger-touch computers.
How could this be? The two articles even reported on some of the same studies. One possible reason for the differing conclusions is that the FT story focused more on students’ reactions—the devices are great for reading, and just plain cool—and less on teaching.
For instance, both articles quoted Corey M. Angst, an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame who tested the tablets in class. The FT reported, correctly, that students felt the iPad was easy to use and hard to give up. The Chronicle, however, also noted students’ complaints that it was hard to use iPads to take notes—the finger-touch interface isn’t good for writing. And one more telling fact: “For their online final exam, 39 of the 40 students put away their iPads in favor a laptop.”
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