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Learning on the go with mobile devices

April 22, 2010

Mobile devices, such as cell phones, smartphones, and the iPod touch are ubiquitous among students and are increasingly being used to support teaching and learning.  In this presentation, three faculty members discussed how they and their students use these devices. 

Peter Tuckel described a project in which students observe behavior in public places for a research methods course (this year's project was on hand washing and supplies in public restrooms).  In previous years, students used a long paper-based code sheet to record their data.  This year, students were able to collect data more easily and unobtrusively by using their cell phones.  Students initially used the notepad function on their cell phones or recorded the data in a Word document on their smartphones.  Professor Tuckel then incorporated Google forms and spreadsheets, which provided a simple way to compile data from all students into a single spreadsheet.  The data could then be exported to SPSS for statistical analysis.

Leighsha Sharoff discussed how the use of smartphones and PDAs for fieldwork and coursework has been integrated throughout the School of Nursing.  Students use medical programs such as ePocrates and unbound to look up information about patient symptoms and medications. 

Mark Hauber talked about how students use mobile devices when observing animal behavior in the field.  Students in classes such as "Evolution and Behavior" and "Field Methods in Animal Behavior" use mobile devices as information resources and data recording tools.  After exploring several software options for digital data recording, including Google forms, Professor Hauber collaborated with an iPhone application developer on a program called WhatISee, which offers several options not available elsewhere, including the ability to record time intervals and to easily correct data on site.    

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