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Evaluating academics' use of iPads for academic practices

This BERA funded project was run by Olaojo Aiyegbayo from the Teaching and Learning Institute to evaluate academics’ use of iPads for academic practices. Academic practice for the purpose of the project referred to three main work-related categories: (1) teaching, learning and assessment (2) research and (3) administrative productivity.

The project ran over a twelve-month period, between December 2012 and December 2013.

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.

If you want to read about the latest project updates, please go to the BJET iPAD Project Blog

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