We began our unit on Title IX the other day, looking first at old yearbooks to collect data on male and female participation in sports, as well as numbers of sports available, number of pages in the yearbook devoted, etc. (striking not only to see the rifle team, but also with rifles in the pictures; enjoyed imagining those being toted around campus). Day 2 was spent tracking Title IX on campus. We began with a quick webquest to give students the basics of Title IX, and then they were set out onto campus with two tasks: interview people to see how much or what they knew about Title IX (as one group reported, their interview was cut quite short when one student responded a succinct ‘No’ to ‘Do you know what Title IX is?’), and take pictures of aspects of campus that illustrated Title IX in action.

The non-iPad class worked out of a computer lab (a good 3-5 minutes lost getting there and getting them settled). They completed the webquest and headed out to do their interviews and photo-taking. I had asked how many people had phones with cameras that could email pictures, and enough of them had them that we could use those, but they also had the idea to use those same phones to videotape the interviews, which I hadn’t thought of. (I’ll admit that, cruelly, even for me, I lamented how much easier this would be if they had iPads; low blow by me, I know.) With their interviewing and photo-taking done, they came back to make short presentations using the webquest info, their interviews, and their photos. They didn’t finish the presentations (which didn’t necessarily surprise me), so we’ll take the first 10 mins or so of the next class to finish them off.

The iPad class of course used the iPad for everything. We got started in my room and off they went. I still haven’t asked them to purchase iMovie, which I probably should, especially for something like this (though I wasn’t necessarily expecting them to use video clips of the interviews in the presentations); having partners use their iPads for different purposes, though, is helpful, i.e. one partner plays the videotaped interview while the other transcribes into the presentation. I will say too that this will be our first foray into Office2HD’s presentation feature, which will be interesting. Up to this point we’ve only really used the document function.

Some observations about the comparison (not all of which, I think, will be predictable): the iPad clearly makes integrating all of these steps seamless. To have one device that allows not only media collection but also the compilation of it is, to be frank, indispensable, and is the one clear (and unassailable) advantage that the iPad has over a laptop. On the other hand, I was surprised to see that the iPad group languished a bit, i.e. their sense of urgency with the project was not nearly as evident as the non-iPad group. I have a few possible explanations for this: 1. the integration that the iPad provides simply makes it more efficient (this is the least likely explanation in my opinion); 2. the lack of moving to a computer lab actually hurt the momentum of the class; that they were in the more familiar environment of my classroom decreased their motivation to leave that familiar environment. They took much longer with the webquest, which was the ‘ticket’ for them to go out and interview. On the other hand, they all essentially reached the same point as the non-iPad class, which might support reason #1, greater efficiency; 3. similar to #2, the iPad itself created greater complacency, i.e. the use of a familiar device, one that most have integrated into their everyday existence, decreased that sense of urgency.

I’ll try to post some of the presentations in the next few days.