We are presenting a poster at the Plymouth University annual VC’s Teaching and Learning Conference 2012.
I’m currently investigating the cost of one of these case / charging units as an option for the Technology Enhanced Learning team, as our current methods are quite time consuming and don’t really protect the devices particularly well. You can find out more about the cases here: http://www.note-cart.com/NoteSync-in-NoteCase-883.aspx and if you want to purchase them Stormfront.co.uk or solutions-inc.co.uk
There has been quite a lot in the media recently about David Hockney’s latest exhibition for which he has used an iPad (and we think Brushes) to create a large number of the works. It appears to have been incredibly successful so far. I accidentally stumbled across a culture show special where he was interviewed about it – all very interesting. You can see it on the iPlayer here for a short time. One think is for sure though, the exhibition certainly demonstrates the relevance of the iPad as a tool for illustration.
Dean is off to visit the exhibition soon and hopes to post on here about it when he is back. In the meantime you can see some of the works here.
Last week apple announced their latest iteration of the iPad. In addition to this they snuck out a new piece of software for managing numbers of iPads. This would have been really useful at the beginning of the project and is certainly of interest for anyone wanting to make available iPads for groups of students.
I’m yet to try this out (you need the latest version of mac OS – Lion to be able to run it) but initially it looks like a really useful piece of software.
You can read a review of it here. It appears that it isn’t designed to be a full blown solution but for projects such as this it would be perfect.
The sessions with students have been progressing well so far. We recently got the students to complete forms stating whether they were happy for us to use their work for dissemination or not. I wanted to get this all sorted before posting any examples of work created so far.
Illustration by Jamie Bradfield
Illustration by Emily Cammell
On Monday Neil and I ran a workshop as the title suggests “Talking about iPads” . Several schools within the institution have invested heavily in this technology putting pressure on academics to “make good use of them”.
The workshop covered a number of topics including current use, what technology are students using, horizon scanning, a number of app examples, and more. I also gave a short talk about iPads for Illustration.
The aim of the workshop was to promote discussion and sharing of practice between attendees, highlight the benefits and pitfalls of the iPad / Apple buy in, encourage development of platform neutral content and generally provide ideas on new ways the device could be used.
Just a quick post to say that we have run two sessions so far and they appear to be going really well. Some interesting and unexpected findings so far which we will be writing up and discussing soon. I also hope to share some of the students work soon. In the meantime here are some thumbnails of some of their work.
The aims of this project are primarily to investigate if there is pedagogic value in the use of iPads however I felt it would be useful to discuss the logistical management of a (very) small fleet of ten iPads for student use and some of the issues I have encountered. I would say in an ideal world the best way for an iPad to be managed for a longish term load (longer than a day) would be for a user to login with their itunes account and be able to customise their selection of apps email etc. However for shorter periods I don’t think that would work well (along with the risk of not all students having itunes accounts).
Uploading Brushes images to flickr
At the end of each session I use the send to flickr feature in brushes which works brilliantly. The one issue is that only the image title shows up and not the artist name field. I have tried to encourage the students to add all the relevant information to just the image title now. A point worth noting is that there is a limit of 200 images on flickr – I’ve had to upgrade to a paid account as a result of this.
Creating videos and uploading to youtube
Once the images are on flickr I then email a copy of the image actions for every image to my work email (adding ipad number to subject so I know which student it is). On average I am looking at 30-40 images per session so 60-80 in the day. These actions then need to be saved, opened in brushes viewer, exported to a video and then uploaded to youtube. This probably takes me around 3 hours in total with naming etc.
Email accounts on iPads
I have actively encouraged students to email copies of their images to themselves at the end of each session. Also those who have macs I have encouraged to have a play with the brushes viewer to create videos of their work. In order to be able to email images I have set up the same email account (a gmail one) on all the iPads. This has worked well except for another project needing the iPads for the half the week when we don’t need them. To get around this I turn the email off and remove the last digit of the password (saves someone requesting the password and then changing it which would be mightily annoying). However this does take time – worth considering the risks of supplying an email account with an iPad.
Batteries / Charging
Each week we have two student sessions, 2.5 hours in the morning and then the same in the afternoon. Firstly I must say the iPad2 battery life has been fantastic considering the 5 hours of solid use they recieve, the lowest I have had a battery get to is about 50%. I then have to charge each one at the end of the day which involves rebuilding each charger and plugging in, probably takes me around 10-15 minutes in total.
Hygiene / Screen protection
I have decided to clean each iPad with sterilizing cloths at the end of the day. The screens tend to look pretty grubby by the end of the day, I’m not particularly fussy about having everything super clean but think this is a sensible thing to do. We currently don’t have screen protectors on the iPads though I have put in an order for some. Unfortunately a couple of the iPads have sustained minor scratches from the stylus, possibly where it was used at an angle.
Before the module started we organised a short session to allow the students to complete a short questionnaire and to allow them to have a play with the iPads and the Brushes app. The questionna
ire covered primarily attitudes and experience of reflection and technology within the context of their illustration.
I was unable to make the session but my colleague Mark Lyndon kindly helped support it and also wrote some feedback which you can read below.
“Students really engaged with the iPads. At first some had to adjust to using the technology, gaining more knowledge of how the app works. But 30 minutes into the session and they were all drawing each other, some being more expressive than others, and these guys were really looking comfortable using the tech.
Dean was walking around, offering a little advice to those who needed it. It was rarely needed, which really shows the intuitive nature of an iPad and the brushes app.
One comment about the stylus: Student wondered if you can get one with a thinker point. Dean has tried a lot of them, this is the best one he has tried. One student immediately downloaded the iPhone version. Price 2.99.
I think the best images were from students who have used graphics tablets. Observation: interesting how some draw on top of strokes on the same layer and some really use the layers.”
I had a good look online and wasn’t able to find any quick start guidelines for Brushes on the iPad so I’ve put together my own. The idea being we provide the students with this as a reference. Brushed 1 Page Quickstart Guide