BJET Project

This is a BERA funded project evaluating academics’ use of iPads for academic practices. Academic practice for the purpose of this project refers to three main work-related categories: (1) teaching, learning and assessment (2) research and (3) administrative productivity.

The project will run during the 2012 -2013 academic year.

Universities are under pressure to both provide Post-PC devices (PPDs) such as iPads and the infrastructure for their use (Murphy, 2011). A number of UK universities have piloted these devices with their students and staff (e.g. University of Leicester, Northumbria University and University of Edinburgh). The argument for the introduction of these devices in higher education is that students are already using such mobile devices. The key findings from this project will benefit the HE sector as more UK universities invest in acquiring PPDs for their academic staff and students.

Though mobile technologies (tablets) are not yet as integral to academic practice as the personal computer (PC), they are fast becoming the must-have technology in the HE sector. A critical mass is growing as more academics acquire them for personal and professional purposes

The University of Huddersfield’s Business School issued its entire academic staff members (119) individual iPads just before the start of the 2012/13 academic year. This intensive capital investment in mobile technologies is a CPD commitment by the school to improve the digital literacies of its academic staff members. The school believes that academic staff members need to have access to the latest mobile technology if they are to integrate its affordances into their own academic practice (teaching, research and administration). M-Learning literature reveals that the benefits of using Post-PC devices (PPDs) include – enhanced productivity (Park, 2011), connectivity (Motiwalla, 2007), and ubiquitous learning (Pettit & Kukulska-Hulme, 2007). These devices also offer five distinct affordances for educational purposes: portability, affordability, situated learning opportunities, connectivity and individualised experiences (Melhuish & Falloon, 2010).

This project is unique because unlike other iPad pilot studies in the literature, this is the first where the primary focus is on the academic staff and their academic practices not students.

Literature References:

Melhuish, K. & Falloon, G. (2010). Looking to the future: m-learning with the iPad. Computers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, Leading, Technology, 22(3), 1-16.

Motiwalla, L. (2007). Mobile Learning: A framework and evaluation. Computers and Education, 49, 581-596.

Murphy, G. (2011). Post-PC Devices: A summary of early iPad technology adoption in tertiary environments. e-Journal of Business Education & Scholarship of Teaching, 5(1), 18-32. (Accessed September 30, 2012)

Park, Y. (2011). A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(2), 78-102.

Pettit, J. & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), 17-33.

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BERA and HEA funded projects on academics’ use of iPads

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