My needs as a language professor are a bit different from those of some of my colleagues in this semester’s interdisciplinary Faculty Learning Community for the iPad. Particularly in lower-level language courses, the students in my Spanish classes are not yet prepared to read many primary texts, and they do not turn in lengthy papers, certainly not in English. Therefore, my needs in the classroom have been somewhat different. I have found that the most advantageous use of the iPad has been that it gives me access to my files, and those of my students, anywhere I have a wifi connection.
Interaction with my students is really the most important impact that the iPad has had for me.
Dropbox is a very useful app that has allowed me to store and access files from various locations. Files on my computer are immediately available on my iPad. Files from my iPad are available on my smart phone. Anywhere I install the app, the files are there. I have found this particularly useful as I access my syllabus, review my PowerPoint presentations, and consult writing prompts for my assignments.
If I have forgotten to save a file to Dropbox, another app, 2x [pictured below], allows me to sign into my office computer from my iPad and control it remotely. The iPad screen becomes my office computer’s screen, and the utility of all of its programs are at my disposal.
While those two apps have granted me access to my own materials on-the-go, the interaction with my students is really the most important impact that the iPad has had for me. For some time I have used Moodle as a repository for class documents for my students. More recently, I have expanded my use of Moodle to allow my students to post items as well, be they discussion questions, PowerPoints for oral presentations, or reports from news around the world in Spanish. It might seem like such a basic feature and therefore is often overlooked, but the simplicity of the mobile internet access that the iPad offers me lets me access Moodle almost anywhere, from the office, from home, or from a coffee shop around town. The iPad offers me a mobile, multi-modal way to interact with my students, and in that sense the iPad has been a great tool to enhance my teaching.