TO IPADISE OR TO IPEDISE HIGHER EDUCATION: NEW LEARNING AND THE CHALLENGE OF DIVERSITY IN USERS, SPACE, TIME, DEVICES AND FORMATS
University of Western Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
Higher education institutions started studies on how to use iPads as soon as Apple released them back on 2010. That was a breakthrough technology “poised to change the learning landscape.” Its capacity to carry content and thousands of inexpensive apps made it a perfect choice. Interfacing through a multi-touch screen was intuitive and inspiring of creativity and hands-on learning. Its small size was unobtrusive and portable. iPads quickly became appreciated commodity and dominated a newly created market with no rival for a couple of years. It was timely as technology used in classrooms was often inappropriate or dated while the new students were digital natives. It seemed they were more familiar with technology than many academics and had easier access to new devices. iPad implementation brought about puzzling challenges to institutions as better infrastructure, methods and curriculum were needed to house the new thinking and doing. Fast forward to 2013, the learning technology landscape is changing quickly. Apple paved the way so now new competitors (i.e. Windows, Samsung, Asus, Sony and others) are gaining pieces of the market.
Complications created by industry and manufacturers competition added on to the upheaval on how to still figure out and deliver discipline specific education; core curriculum and who are our new learners. Extra pressure is amounting as the author’s university just started a new strong blended learning strategy by giving away 11,000 new iPads to each first year freshmen and women entering the institution in 2013. This move to action created a dramatic shift in paradigms intending to enhance students learning experience who appear to want everything faster and easier than in previous generations.
This paper proposes several ways to overcome the test of times from the perspective of industrial design education:
- First by learning from history. It appears current changes of technology are as dramatic as when computing technology moved onto the Home PC market back in early 1990s. Lessons on development, infrastructure and implementation seem fitting. It is said the best way to understand the future is through our past.
- Second, by experiments on of how to adjust content to need. Tablet technology is usually seen as a consumer product however with the right implementation it should be used also as a creative tool for transformative learning.
- Third step to improve learning is through implementation. This stage requires a double prone approach. On one hand, there is the training of trainers as much as initiating students into a generative process of knowledge. On the other hand, easy deployment of content is needed through appropriate infrastructure.
- Fourth phase is conformed by reduction of cost, increased mobility, and new systems of collaboration and co-making.
Relevance of teaching, learning and creative inquiry can only be achieved thanks to a process of authenticity that caters for all diversity in users, devices and formats. The new way of learning will depend on how successful the conversion is from iPadisation to iPedagogy through bringing your own devices (BYOD) to the party. Technology is finally catching up with Weiser’s (1993) vision of a third wave of many to one relationship between computer and human immersion in the learning process through ubiquitous learning.
1.Weiser, M. (1993). Some Computer Science Issues in Ubiquitous Computing. Communications of the ACM, Computer-Augmented Environments