Live Blogging from the Apple “Teaching with Technology” Event

Apple starts their presentation by appealing to your sense of nostalgia with a slide of an Apple IIe. Somehow, I’m not just the only person in the room who had one, but I’m certainly the only person here who still has one that works. Soon, though, we’re going well beyond the Oregon Trail’s impact on education and we’re talking about Apple’s modern ecosystem – laptop to iPhone; as Jarrod talks I’m actually blogging this on my iPhone so much of what he’s talking about certainly rings true for me. But then I’m not really the target audience: I’m an early adopter.

Now we’re getting into applications, though- Nursing apps etc. And here’s an interesting nugget: iPhone/touch app development tools are free and open for use and teaching to our University. I’ll have to look into that. We’re looking at a conference application that acts as a combination schedule/program guide and interactive clicker app for answering polls – apparently it’s a web app developed by a university in Ohio.

We’ve started to talk about the integration between apple content creation tools, repositories (iTunesU, Final Cut Server), and mobile devices for distribution. And podcast creation -a faculty member estimates 12% are creating podcasts or other media. I think that’s very high compared to reality. Jarrod says that with the recent enhancements to iTunesU’s accessibility, it’s now “blessed” by the CSU but still being explored at Chico, which is pretty accurate, and I will thank him later for not overselling what’s not on the shelf.

The main pitch is to get students to be content creators and then having faculty approve and post; this as opposed to having faculty responsible for creating all the content. I’ve made the point that this process isn’t that simple in a non-homogenous (apple-only) ecosystem of formats and workflows, and it may be outside the comfort levels of some teachers unless we can find a way to streamline the process. We’re hearing the mantra: iTunesU makes it easy, integrated mac tools, and even the prospect of a portfolio application of this student-media database which could be created. Will faculty really want to have students make movies and slideshows as a major component of their assignments? Maybe this is an idea we could explore for the first-year experience course.

Overall I feel this was a very worthwhile look at Apple’s overall strategy to address the real issues of a tech- and media-savvy student population instead of just selling them cheap computers. However, until we can figure out how these innovative solutions can exist side-by-side with the ad-hoc way that everyone else is working with the resources they have, it’s difficult to say whether we can make the most of the tools we have.

Big thanks to Kristan and Jarrod for making the 2 hour trip to Chico to talk our faculty, students and staff about their vision for higher ed.

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