Carmen Works

Final Evaluation for Incorporation of Ipads in the Classroom for Spring 2015

The department of chemistry at Sonoma State University acquired 8 ipads to incorporate into the curriculum at the end of the 2014 fall semester. Since we had limited experience with use of ipads I approached Ann Steckel in the faculty center with the idea of forming a group of faculty there were also interested in using ipads in the classroom. The idea was that we could share apps that we wanted to try or had tried with our students and discuss ways to improve our teaching. The group requirements were to meet 4 times during the semester and during the first three meetings the participants would take turns sharing apps with the group.These apps were either previously tested in the classroom or the faculty member used the group as a testing ground.

During the spring semester I mostly used Showme directly in my classes, which is an interactive whiteboard that allowed me to make several video lectures that I posted on my Moodle page. Student feedback was extremely positive and many thanked me for posting these lectures so they could watch them repeatedly and pause them when needed. I used this app in both my FLC and in an advanced inorganic chemistry class. I also used the Google drive app for student papers in the advanced inorganic chemistry class. This was great because it allowed me to directly hook upto my portable projector and share documents in class. Students responded positively and had used this in other classes so it wasn’t new but they still enjoyed having this type of access to documents. Additionally, we used Google docs to create a collaborative document in class and I was able to use the Google doc app and again project this from my ipad.

During the app group meetings that we had this semester I also shared the following apps: total recall, showme, socrative, and poll everywhere. Total recall is an app that allows people to make concept maps. Showme was discussed above. Socrative and poll everywhere are similar apps and are used to poll the class and get instant and anonymous feedback. I would recommend all of these apps but there are pros and cons to each. The concept-mapping con is that it is just easier to make a concept map by hand but the pro is that students really enjoyed doing these on their ipad or iphone, and they look awesome. ShowMe has a lot of pros but to really get the most out of this app you need to by the full version. There is only 1 hour of free time and after that you have to buy the pro version of the app and it isn’t cheap. Also, with the pro version you can upload pdfs, powerpoints and have access to more colors and graphics. None of us spent the money for the pro version but we all agreed that we would use it if the university purchased it and several of my colleagues in chemistry are also using it now. Socrative and poll everywhere are both easy to use and set up, socrative has some connectivity app. I did not have any issues with poll everywhere but I haven’t used it as much either.

In summary, the app workshop was a productive and valuable learning experience where faculty could feel safe to explore technology.