First I want to say that I LOVED using the iPad in my class and I believe that the iPad has eliminated the need for me to have the full version of Photoshop supported on the computers in the design lab. The students in my class did everything that they might need Photoshop for on the Adobe Collage app and the SketchBook app on the iPad.
The iPad also allowed me to not take up class time with videos — I sent the students links to videos knowing that they all had the very same viewer I did. They could be expected to watch the videos without undue hardship and be expected to talk about the videos in the next class period. This was actually a much more efficient way to manage this portion of the course and we could easily refer back to videos on the pad during the course discussion if we needed.
The iPad also allowed me to require photo documentation of the students’ projects since, again, I knew that everyone had a basic camera that was easily accessible to them. If I am approved to use the iPad again (and I hope I will be!), I will probably require blogging as a component of the course so that they can look at each other’s project documentation more easily and comment on others work in ways other than just during in class discussions.
There were only a couple of times that I felt the iPads were a distraction but the class is very active, hands-on, and manageably sized so it was easy to nip that kind of thing in the bud before it became a real problem. I don’t think that in my class there is ever really an opportunity for the students to seriously start accessing social media or the internet in a way that carries them too far out of the conversation because peer pressure to pay attention and work is pretty great as well — my class is mostly majors and they are mostly interested, even if just peripherally, in the topic I teach. My class also requires a lot of participation, so there isn’t a lot of down time when they can just play around on the internet when they think I am not looking.
The students seemed to really enjoy the iPads. Students who had my class previously and were enrolled in another course in the department with the iPad bought the apps I was using and played around with them, too. Some students got so in to the collage app that the department is now covered in collages about various topics! As I said, the apps I found most useful were Adobe Collage and SketchBook. I am going to investigate the iPad version of Photoshop and see what that is like — it might be that it would be useful for the course, but those 2 apps did most everything I could have wanted. The one thing that would be nice would be to have styluses for the students — some bought them and some didn’t and the stylus really helps with image manipulation.