Using tablets and other technology in research-inspired teaching

Posted in: Event Review

Dr Kit Yates shared his experiences of using the media to publicise research, research inspired teaching, and also using iPads in class for teaching. A brief write up is below, and you can also download the full presentation for more detail. A recording is available to watch now.

Public engagement

Public engagement focused on your own specific research has the benefits of allowing you to:

  • become more familiar with your own research and being able to explain it engagingly and in an easy to understand way
  • think about impact and then generate grant applications
  • generate publicity for your work and get the recognition you deserve.

When entering into public engagement for the first time you should consider starting off small, such as Ignite Talks, Bath Taps into Science, Pint of Science, etc.

Kit spoke about his experiences of writing for The Conversation (a news site written by academics from around the world, to which the University of Bath pays a subscription), having his work covered by various journalists for different publications and even speaking on BBC radio 4’s Today programme

For more information, read a research marketing blog post titled Making headlines with research, visit the public engagement website, or talk to the press office.

Research inspired teaching

Research inspired teaching in beneficial for both students and teachers. Students have some real world context of what they are learning, begin to think like experts and develop a deeper knowledge rather than rope learning. Staff can then give more engaging and interactive lectures, while also being able to reflect further on their own research while learning from students.

Flipping the problem class

Intended learning outcomes of the unit were out of line with what was actually being delivered, and the material taught didn't fully align with summative assessment.

Rather than running through problems and pre-written code in class, pre-recorded solutions with audio feedback were recorded with an iPad were put onto panopto/Moodle for students to learn in their own time. This then allowed Kit to construct code from scratch in the face to face sessions, in a much more engaging and useful way to teach the students coding.

Dr Kit Yates discusses how and why he changed his mathematical biology problem classes to focus more on the act of coding, inspired by a combination of flipping and apprentice model approaches.

Dr Kit Yates describes how he recorded his working through problem solutions on a tablet as an online resource to replicate some of the advantages of the live session over the solution sheet.

 

Lecturing with an iPad

Lecturing with an iPad is the alternative to using white/blackboards, visualisers or slides, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Dr Kit Yates reflects on his experience of using iPads in mathematics lectures as part of a trial to provide his pros and cons for their use.

Advantages of lecturing with an iPad:

  • Lectures can be uploaded quickly
  • Can efficiently switch between media
  • Can quickly back reference previous sections or lectures
  • Great for large lecture theatres as the text is always readable
  • No focussing problems which can occur on visualisers
  • No moving sheets up and down, so students can follow easily
  • Facilitates flipping
  • All the features of pen and paper, and many more (colours, highlighters, etc.)

Disadvantages of lecturing with an iPad:

  • Requires (lots of practice)
  • Set up is difficult and requires time each lecture
  • Lots of gear needed: iPad, HDMI/VGA adapters, styles, case, etc.)
  • Doesn't get significantly better feedback from students
  • Need a special pen/stylus for optimum writing

Kit uses an app called GoodNotes to write on. His iPad is connected to the first projector, and then also syncs the document to his laptop which projects the previous page onto a second projector. This means students can see the current page which Kit is writing as well as the previous page. In University Hall there is Apple TV which means he can wirelessly connect his iPad allowing him more mobility in lectures.

Kit's setup for using an iPad in class
Kit's setup for using an iPad in lectures

Student feedback on the use of the iPad is varied, but the iPad is generally considered to be no worse than black/whiteboards or visualisers. A selection of feedback received is given below:

“I don't think the use of the iPad enhanced learning.”
“I like the iPad with the two screens showing old and new material.”
“I prefer the iPad/visualiser as white board pens are usually quite low on ink.”
“No preference.”
“Prefer whiteboards – if I fall behind I know it will still be somewhere on the boards.”
“Standing up and writing on the board is more engaging.”

Posted in: Event Review

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