By Robin Popow (Instructional Associate, Centre for Instructional Development)
Notes from Day 1
Well it sounds about as obscure a subject for a conference you could imagine but the 2013 WIPTTE workshop kicked off today in Los Angeles and just couldn’t wait to share my experience.
But first, a bit of background. As per their official website, the Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology in Education (WIPTTE) exists to share research and effective practice on the use of these tools in education.
It quickly dawned on me that these aren’t bunch of app-mad ipad users as I had anticipated. On the contrary, I think they are truly aware that they have discovered the one educational technology tool most able to help us move towards modern teaching and learning pedagogies. Yes, that world where knowledge is socially constructed and teaching is learner-centred.
Back to earth…
The day began with a truly revealing and visionary look at the future of pen & touch technology
from Ken Hinckley, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. His research on sensors, mobile devices, pen computing, and pen + touch interaction has been widely covered in the press and tech blogs and left us pondering what is to come.
Ken suggested that we are currently shifting from indirect to direct input (from keyboards to touch screen) noting, “You can’t type the soul of an idea”. Research into reading shows that there is more to it than just reading and this is why the Kindle readers are not thriving. Ken suggested that we are active readers – we read with both hands, constantly moving the page or book while reading, writing notes and flipping pages back and forth using our fingers as active bookmarks. Ken shared several concept projects he has been or is currently working on that aim to serve active readers.
Some of the concept projects he shared with us can be found on Ken’s blog including:
- An active reading concept that allows for pen and finger touch simultaneously
- Cross device interaction: Society of devices
- Are dual screens the future of mobile devices?
- And my favorite… Paper: Pen + Touch = New Tools
Ken’s keynote left me with feelings of eager anticipation turning immediately by anxiety for determining how to fund and implement this exciting future technology.
After Ken’s keynote I learned about an interesting classroom presentation program while using a really cool Fujitsu tablet PC (very powerful with Windows 8). Classroom Presenter (developed at University of Washington) provides some core features of the popular DYknow software (enterprise) but as a free download.
In the words of the developer, Classroom Presenter is a Tablet PC-based interaction system that supports the sharing of digital ink on slides between instructors and students. When used as a presentation tool, Classroom Presenter allows the integration of digital ink and electronical slides, making it possible to combine the advantages of whiteboard style and slide based presentation. The ability to link the instructor and student devices, and to send information back and forth provides a mechanism for introducing active learning into the classroom and creates additional feedback channels.
Also of interest to me was a self-study done at Boston University with the following select findings:
- While ipads were provided for student use students prefer to use their own devices. Tablet PC were favored but bring-your-own-device (BYOD) selected as best solution
- Faculty preferred to use Dropbox to collect student work
- Windows 8 allows for touch screen so Smart Boards no longer necessary
- Wacom Bamboo tablets preferred for image annotating
Conference host, Pepperdine University actively promotes student created content and provided some great resources and examples such as creationsforlearning.net and the ironically named, teacherscreate.org. Teachers and several students from Long Beach Unified School District presented a series of student-created math tutorial videos featured on this site using Camtasia with minimal technical instruction. Additionally, Stacey Roshan of Maryland showed samples of videos her students made using Screenchomp on iPads. Stacey, also shared with us one technique she is using to flip her classroom by providing them with Camtasia videos she created. While long in duration by today’s standards at 15-30 minutes she wowed us by showing new Camtasia features in her videos such as intermittent quizzes and popup glossaries.
A significant theme emerged on day 1: Tablet PC + Microsoft OneNote provides a powerful teaching tool and Andrew Asikainen of St. Lois showed us how in a hands on session. Teachers in Andrew’s schools use OneNote as a personal learning environment for their student and require them to produce a portfolio of their work for all classes. Students use MS Skydrive to access and store their files (currently available to VCC students).
On this same theme and also building on the inspiring morning keynote, John Cristy of Virginia Tech presented an innovative add-on for Microsoft OneNote called VText. VText provides a framework for the creation and display of eTextbooks adding features such as:
- Linked Split Screen
- Window focus change on hover (as opposed to click)
- Gestures for navigation and bookmarking
- Bookmarked pages for quick returning
- Notes Page
- Bluetooth Scanner
- Simple quiz system