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Entries in FaceTime (2)

iPad 2 and Educators

Continuing our mini-series of posts about the potential benefits of the iPad 2, released this Friday, we take a look at how Teachers and other Educators could benefit from the upgrade.

The Scenario

Let's fire up the 'dream machine' and take a little trip into an imaginary scenario. You are a Teacher taking a 30 strong group of 12/13 year old kids on a Museum tour (Ok 'nightmare machine').

You want to do something other than the printed-list-on-a-clipboard assignment you do every time and your Institution has a bunch of 3G iPad 2 units you can use on your field trip (we did say 'imagine').

You decide to split your students up into groups of 3 or 4 and give each group an iPad 2 with 3G. Their assignment? A 21st Century Treasure Hunt using the following technologies:

Video Chat Check-in (FaceTime (WiFi) / Skype (3G))

You locate yourself somewhere in the Museum, where doesn't matter. You ask your groups to call you once they find each item on the list and show it to you via the video conference (FaceTime or Skype) so you can confirm their find before they move on to the next 'treasure'.

If you want to be really comprehensive you could ask them to switch to the front facing camera and show that all 3 or 4 of them are there so you can confirm no-one has wandered off. By the way, you don't need to have an iPad you could just use your iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4th generation (WiFi only) if you have one, or an older 3GS for Skype calls.

Virtual / Augmented Reality (AR) Learning

You have cleverly chosen to visit a Museum that has developed an iOS App that uses a map of the Museum and GPS to ascertain the students' location and AR overlay giving information on what is being seen by the onboard camera. You could even do this in a City Centre if they have something like the Museum of London's AR App.

Alternatively, an App that uses a 3D model to create a virtual version of the Museum so the students can touch the room they are in and see information pertinent to their location, perhaps using the camera to line up a frame in the centre of the screen and overlay information that they can use to learn about the exhibits or displays.

Movie Creation as an Assignment

Fine tuning 20110302

As part of the assignment you ask your students to put together a 3 minute iMovie with voice over and sound, detailing the items they found in the museum and their search. You ask them to make sure all of their group appear in the video (another verification method).

This will then be presented to the rest of the class when they return and groups will vote for their favourite video (you could even assign extra credit on the assignment for the winners).

You could even go as far as having a YouTube or Vimeo account or Facebook page setup where they can upload their movie. This would act as submission of their assignment.

You, meanwhile, could be sat anywhere working on other tasks, waiting for the submissions to appear in the account.

Video Recording & Review

What if you could video your students delivery of a presentation or demonstration of a skill and give them direct feedback, even including other students in small group peer assessment? This can be a very powerful teaching tool and encourages critique and critical thinking whilst the activity is fresh in everyone's minds.

In fact, on our recent post 'iPad 2 and Video Makers', one of our readers, Axis, told us this is exactly what he plans to do with iPad 2:

"As a martial arts instructor I would be putting the video capabilities of the iPad 2 to use on a daily basis. The value of being able to record a student and then show them the video almost immediately is incredible. Students progress so much faster when they can see what you are seeing. Telling a student a technique not quite right is one thing, but when that student sees it for themselves something powerful happens and that technique is perfected exponentially faster. Being able to record and immediately analyze your performance is priceless. We do it now with the iPhone, and many times transfer the video over to the iPad and it's much larger screen, but that adds quite a bit of extra time, I can see the iPad 2 greatly streamlining this process."

Of course, as Axis mentioned, HD video recording is not unique to iPad 2, the iPhone 4 did it first, but here is what iPad 2 brings to the table:

  • Screen size - a larger playback image helps you see the detail more clearly, plus share it with more than one person
  • Video Editing/Recording - This is new to the iPad and as such eliminates import or transfer of video from another device/source
  • Video Mirroring - which could display the resulting video on an even larger screen, no matter what app you are using (a major improvement over iPad 1 & iOS 4.2)
  • Front and Rear Cameras - Enables a learner to show what they see, but also feature themself in the video, opening up a more contextual recording of the situation or events. Including them in the video could add to the experience, for example, showing their reactions or the scene behind them as they run away from something (think Media/Graphic students and Cloverfield).

Video Mirroring as an IT demo tool

The new iOS Video Mirroring, an iPad 2 only feature, has its obvious application in the classroom as a demonstration tool, but we can see Video Mirroring being used in future roll-outs of iPad programs. Think how it could be used to demo to Faculty staff and large groups of Students in a lecture hall projected onto a large screen for example.

How useful would it be to have everyone sat with their new iPad 2 in their hands, watching a live demo of accessing the App store for example, or using Safari to log in to a VLE and access courses, resources or submit assignments?

You could then back this up with printed or electronic instructions, but there is nothing like being shown how to use something whilst having hands-on practice yourself. As an IT Instructor of nearly 15 years, this has never failed to be the most impactive learning activity, in my experience.

Over to You

Again, these are only a few examples, we haven't mentioned the enormous potential of GarageBand for example or WiFi interactive sharing or using Skype for visiting speakers or inter-school activities.

We would love to hear your ideas. Have you got anything you plan to use the new iPad 2 for? What can it help you do that you cannot do now? Let us know in the comments.

4 innovations that are guaranteed to be in your next iPad, and 2 possibles

There are some technologies that will almost certainly make it into the iPad within the next 5 years. So before the rumour mill starts its crazy spin leading up to the next Steve Job's keynote, we'd like to say what innovations we believe will find their way into the iPad soon.

Retina Display. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012. Getting the the pixel density of the iPad screen beyond the magical 300 pixels per inch barrier is surely a number one priority for Apple. As the iPad takes its place as the rightful heir to the print publishing empire, possessing a screen that looks almost like fine quality print will go a long way to cementing the iPad's place in history.

Dual Core CPU. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012. The current iPad is no slouch, but the Cortex A9 dual-core processor will enable Apple to give extra power to those developers that really need it, but at the same time keep a very close eye on power management. We expect to see the Cortex A9 at the heart of the Apple A5 chipset.

HDMI Output. Estimated Arrival Date: 2011. The Apple TV has HDMI output and with Apple pushing their new instant streaming service it seems likely that the iPad will get HDMI output too. The current iPad has VGA output but due to copy protection restrictions it's limited to 1024 by 768 resolution. HDMI will allow for full resolution output and copy protection.

FaceTime Camera. Estimated Arrival Date: 2011. This has to happen, and frankly, like many others, we were surprised that it wasn't included in the current iPad.

Rear Facing Camera with HD Video Capture. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012… perhaps! This is a tricky one. Using the iPad as a video or stills camera seems a little ridiculous, but if Apple should happen to make a smaller iPad then we see no reason why it shouldn't be endowed with an iPod touch spec HD camera.

Lenticular 3D Display. Estimated Arrival Date: 2015. Some say that the jury is still out on 3D. They would be the same people that say that the jury is still out on colour television. 3D will become a mainstream feature of all displays sometime before 2020, the only question is what technology will be used and how quickly it can be rolled out. Because of Apple's unwillingness to use premature technology, we don't see 3D making its way in the iPad for quite a number of years. In fact, we think Apple may well be one of the last manufacturers to include such a display, but one thing is certain, when they do it will be revolutionary.

Slide-out Keyboard. Estimated Arrival Date: Never. Forget about it, it isn't going to happen no matter how much the luddites rant on about it.

Over to you, what technologies and innovations do you think we'll see coming to the iPad platform? Please let us know in a comment below.