After the iPad & Nearpod experiment two weeks ago (see Oct 11 entry), it is only now that I had a chance to ask students (well, the group that was luckier with the wifi connectivity) how they felt about it. Their response was much more positive than I thought.
The main positive comment was that they could take a more active role, even though technically this only involved scrolling around on a web page, clicking one or two links deep, and then choosing answers in the quiz. Some said they enjoyed the quiz because they could make a choice without the awkwardness of speaking up or raising a hand. Overall, the feeling of being in charge made a difference.
And yes, one student commented that this experience -mobile, interactive, online learning- felt more like 21st century. He did not say in comparison to what- but yes, a lot of the tutorial work I do is still based on printouts, and I probably do too much talking and explaining instead of letting students get on with stuff.
Some student liked using the almost box-fresh iPad minis simply because of the allure of handling the beautifully designed, slick technology- obviously part of Apple’s success (“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them” -Steve Jobs on the Aqua interface, 2000) and the reason hundreds are fingering the pads in Apple shops. And I suppose that’s OK, as long as we’re clear this is not the reason we use them in teaching….
This student feedback is very encouraging, for tutorial work as well as for the interactive exercises I want to do with first year biochemistry students in a lecture flipping experiment next year.