iPads and Active Learning: Discovering Pedagogical Relevance with an Academic Continuity Tool

Rebecca Johnson
Office of Educational Technology, University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa

eTech, the Office of Educational Technology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama, began implementing and supporting Dean Robert Olin’s iPad initiative in early 2011, in which each faculty, staff member, and 3-year full-time temporary instructor receives a 16 GB iPad with cellular data capabilities. These iPads serve as an important tool in our college academic continuity plan and provide an opportunity for employees to explore ways of incorporating mobile technologies in their teaching, research, and daily work. We completed distribution of the iPads to all eligible employees at the end of the spring 2013 semester and now have nearly 700 iPads in the college.

These devices appeared in the college so quickly that we were initially concerned solely with implementation. Now, looking at the emerging literature of mobile learning and Web 2.0 pedagogy, we are seeking models for moving beyond the first of Cook's and Sharples's three phases of mobile learning research (1. a focus on devices; 2. a focus on learning outside of the classroom; 3. a focus on the mobility of the learner) toward a pedagogical supported framework that encourages relevancy within an active learning environment.