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Martina Blackwood | PACE UNIVERSITY

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"Engadget" featured Dyson's Dr. Martina Blackwood in "What educators think about Apple’s new iPad"


"Engadget" featured Dyson's Dr. Martina Blackwood in "What educators think about Apple’s new iPad"

On Chromebooks as an alternative, or a companion, to the iPad

Dr. Martina Blackwood, director of Instructional Technology at Pace University: "With so many competing interests, finding the funding to support the purchase of both laptops and tablets for all may be unrealistic for some institutions. It may be best to purchase a smaller number of tablets that can be housed in a computing lab or library, where users can borrow the devices for a limited time. Laptops or desktop computers may continue to account for the majority of the tech purchases. Some courses call for the use of software that has not been made available for tablets, so having access to more robust machines will be crucial in keeping up with software needs. Chromebooks and tablets are not always equipped to meet the ever growing software needs for select disciplines.

"In addition to the prohibitively high cost of purchasing tablets for all students and instructors, we need to discuss BYOD (bring your own device) as a factor in what may appear to be the declining interest in purchasing tablets. Students and faculty often have their own devices that they prefer, and when they arrive on campus they just expect it to work seamlessly with the infrastructure of the institution. When users have selected a device that meets their needs functionally and financially, it may cause administrators to think twice about supporting a specific tablet, especially considering the rate at which these devices are upgraded. The increased size and functionality of cellular phones could also be a contributing factor in the dwindling desire to own the latest tablet."

On whether Schoolwork, educational apps and digital curricula can make a difference

Blackwood: "The inherent mobility of tablets can allow instructors the flexibility to share content and engage their students in ways that might be more challenging with traditional computers ... As the number of available apps continues to grow, those in education have more tools at their disposal to bring content to life in the classroom. If the classroom is equipped with the appropriate connectors for projection, in many cases instructors can make use of tablets as they would a typical computer.

"Both Schoolwork and ClassKit have my attention. I like the idea of providing users with their own profiles and Apple IDs, which will come with increased cloud-based storage. Allowing students to work on specific assignments in select apps, or checking in on students to see how they're progressing, mark major improvements over the current capabilities. I am looking forward to an opportunity to personally work with these new features."

Read the full article.