Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mobile Technologies webinar

I signed up for this webinar as I was curious to find out what other institutions are doing and to see if anyone had anything to say about using tablets in College. I wasn't disappointed, the presentations covered roving with an iPad and lending iPads to students. Both of these are to be introduced in my LRC within the next year.

iPads are good to rove with because they have a good battery life according to Jackie King, from Reaseheath College. She hasn't compared them to tablets so that is something I will need to consider before buying ours. A case or bag is needed to carry it, thus freeing up your hands and so that you don't put it down and then forget about it. I think that is especially important, whatever I get to carry it in though will depend on what I buy, as size and shape will be a factor. Jackie gave a list of free apps that she found useful for library staff to have on. This was interesting because at the moment I can't see my staff needing to use any apps, just internet. The purpose for me of introducing iPads or tablets, is to provide a better customer service by negating the need to go back to the enquiry desk to use a PC. I would like the ability to have apps, as I believe this is the way forward and I'm sure that once we are using the tablet or iPad, we will discover useful apps - Jackie's list will be a good starting point.

The second presentation was from Ihar Ivanou of North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, where they already lend iPads to students. They are lent for 4 hours, are issued from the LMS and the library try to make sure they are charged before lending. Students are allowed to use them for what they want, there have been no thefts and sometimes the iPad needs to be cleared of apps that students have downloaded. Originally students were asked to sign an agreement for use before they were allowed to borrow the iPads, this has since been abandoned as it was too much paperwork and the College agreement that students have to sign cover them anyway. This was of particular use because we have not decided yet how to loan out our tablets or iPads. There is an exisiting equipment for loan service, where staff can borrow different types of equipment to either aid their teaching or to help students do work. At the moment there are sets of netbooks that can be borrowed if the classroom does not have PCs. In the LRC, there are laptops for loan within the LRC for groupwork purposes or for when all PCs are in use. As we are looking at the tablets / iPads to replace the netbooks and laptops, we haven't decided whether to keep the same system as we have now or to change it, hearing Ihar has given me much to think about. Although it won't be solely my decision, I can take this information to my colleagues for consideration.