iPad Assignments for Social Welfare Policy

This post is mainly a follow up to a recent twitter chat I had with @laurelhitchcock about my iPad Policy course. Specifically she had asked about ideas for using iPads along with Wikis. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

First off, I currently do not use Wiki’s in this course, although I definitely could and I see the pedagogical value in doing so. Pooling information/resources into a share space, collaboration, communication, and many other skills and benefits students could gain from this tool.  I am doing something similar, that is gathering resources and information, however, I am using a different tool. I will also not be using this tool again the next time around. Here is a description of my assignment from my syllabus:

Social Bookmarking assignment: Throughout the course of the semester we will collectively gather social media resources or digital apps and advocacy/analysis resources that relate to Policy and or Programs. Utilizing the social bookmarking website Diigo, each student is responsible for finding, evaluating, and discussing two resources. Students will need to provide links to articles on advocacy strategies or links to the identified resource on the course blog by the due date. Each student will discuss the resource they found in class by the date their assignment is due as well as sharing your resource using the course hashtag #swpolicy410 on twitter.

This is where I could insert the * about using Technology for any given purpose.  I really like social bookmarking and find the use of Diigo incredibly helpful….from a desktop or laptop. The mobile app is almost useless, but they do have a diigo browser app that adds in a bit more functionality for the iPad. I created a diigo group, to which each student has become a part of, and in this space we collectively bookmark information/resources/digital apps that relate to our course content and educational learning. So far it is going pretty well. Why then will I NOT use this app again?

Mostly because of the lack of functionality on the iPad. Next time around I will either use Pinterest or Spring Pad. I am more familiar with Pinterest, yes guys do use Pinterest, but I like the fact that SpringPad allows me or any user to take photos of things out in the world and share to my pads. I will be experimenting with this as a information gathering and dissemination tool in the future, but for now we are sticking with Diigo.

There are some Wiki apps available for the iPad, but unfortunately I have not really used them.  I found this post by LifeHack that might help those wanting to use Wiki’s on their iPads.

The other ways I am incorporating the iPad into Policy is through the Policy Advocacy project. This is a semester long project that encourages students to identify a policy or issue and create an awareness campaign.  I have been hesitant in providing too much direction regarding this assignment because I want students to be creative in what they develop and ultimately employ. I have sprinkled out some ideas as far as using digital storytelling methods and using social media, but I really want this to be organic and develop from the students perspective.

One last tool that I use in this class that makes use of the iPad directly is online quizzes using the app Socrative. I do have some issues with this app, mostly that I can’t weight my quiz questions, but for the most part it is really useful and cuts down on the amount of paper I would typically use for quizzes in class. Each week students take a quiz over the chapter we just covered.  I create the quizzes on the app and when students come to class I push the quiz out to their iPads via the app. It is really fairly simple. I can see live results so I know exactly when each student is finished with the quiz. The app then generates a report which is sent via email and I can open using excel which I can than save into my grade book.

I will be back later on to detail more about my experience of using iPads in the Social Welfare Policy course. Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion. I am always open to new ideas and methods of how to make Policy more interesting and meaningful for students.

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About jimmysw
Dad, Husband, PhD, Assistant Professor, Social Media enthusiast, and all around good guy :)

3 Responses to iPad Assignments for Social Welfare Policy

  1. Pingback: ipad learning

  2. Pingback: Final Thoughts on Social Work Education and the iPad | Jimmysw's Blog

  3. Pingback: iPolicy: Evaluating iPads in social welfare | Jimmysw's Blog

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