Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A taste of things to come: Reflections on the use of Tablets at UCS 2012/13

As part of the continued investigation into the potential use of tablets as a learning technology for staff at UCS, we'll soon be publishing our annual report on "A tablet in the hands of a lecturer: Reflections on the use of Tablets at UCS 2012/13". Some snippets are ....


The aims of the initiatives around teaching staff using tablets is to facilitate the exploration of tablet technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment. In particular, to help inform people at UCS about the potential of this technology to meet the broad strategic aims within UCS’s Teaching and Learning Strategy, including;

  • To develop assessment practices which are developmental, transparent, relevant and fair and which provide high quality, timely feedback

  • To offer a wide range of modes of delivery and utilise current technologies to provide more flexible opportunities for study

  • To provide learning and teaching informed by high quality research and scholarly activity

In 2012/13 the Elevate Team

  • administered eight tablet devices which were loaned (long and short term loans to staff at UCS (Ipswich and Lowestoft)

  • supplied iTunes vouchers for staff to buy specific apps, including Explain Everything, Goodnotes and iAnnotate

  • loaned peripherals to staff (stylus, projector connectors and external microphones)

  • provide bespoke support to course teams and individuals who are using tablet devices as a learning technology

  • included specific iPad apps within our supported Learning Technology Landscape, including; UCS Connect, Goodnotes, GoTo Meeting, Explain Everything, Voice Record HD and MobileLearn.

This report draws together the findings of a recent staff survey, and reflective posts through the last 12 months (See Appendix 2 for links to blog posts around these pilots)

Particular uses included;

  • annotation and return of student submitted assignments

  • provision of generic multimedia based feedback around questions and problem sets

  • recording (audio) of focus groups and class discussions for reflection

  • recording (video) student presentations for staff and students to talk through and provide formative feedback

  • use by individuals of discipline specific apps

  • use on dissertation and project meetings as a record and list of actions to be shared via email directly after the meeting


The data was collected via an online survey available during May and June 2013 (see Appendix 1 for the survey questions). The survey was promoted to those who had borrowed a Tablet device from the Elevate Team, and to all staff via a posting on the Elevate Team blog (http://wolseyweb.ucs.ac.uk/blogs/elevate/?p=101792) on the 21st May. The posting was automatically forwarded to the Elevate Team area on MyUCS.

In total there were 14 responses. Given the response rate it must be acknowledged this is not a statistically significant survey and the findings should take this into account.


The aims for 2013/14 are about encouraging use, creative thinking around technology enhanced learning and facilitating a community of practice through disseminating staff experiences. Based on the survey and a number of other conversations, the recommendations for 2013/14 are listed below.

  • re-align the focus from the provision of a specific tablet device, towards accommodating staff who bring their own device. Therefore, shifting the resource to the provision of vouchers and loan of peripherals (stylus, external microphones and projector connectors)

  • Test the current generation of Apple, Microsoft and Andriod devices against a list of common tasks. Complete by September 2013

  • Write a collaborative project proposal with a Division at UCS Ipswich to provide a tablet to all teaching staff in the Division with coordinate a number of pilot studies and staff development events. Complete proposal by October 2013, and seek funding.

  • be more proactive in raising staff awareness of effective use of tablets as a learning technology through facilitating a community of practice. Including, hosting an event on Mobile Learning (A tablet in the hand of a lecturer) at UCS. Complete by April 2014.


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