I asked my students on the last day of the course how the use of iPads influenced their experience of Cyprus and fieldwork, and how they actually used the devices on the course. The comments were very positive and highlighted both familiar activities and some unanticipated uses.
Students used the devices to…
- Interact with one another via games and social media (Facebook), their friends and family in the US (Skype & FaceTime), and the senior staff of the archaeological project (email).
- Share files with members of the archaeological project (Dropbox).
- Read books and articles, including those related to course content
- Take photographs. Some six of nine students used the iPad cameras at some point on the trip for one reason or another. One student’s personal camera broke because of the dust. Other students used iPads because their batteries were so much more powerful than those in their hand-held cameras.
- Record video for blogs and final digital projects
- Journal. Six of nine used the iPads to create a digital journal over a physical journal.
- Blog (via WordPress) at the Pyla-Koutsopetria Student site.
- Complete museum assignments and tours
- Listen to music
- Follow PDF presentations on the history of the archaeological project
- Input archaeological data in the field through PKapp
My only fear in giving students iPads for use in Cyprus was that a dumb device would erode their experience of a country. But this did not happen…much. Students were engaged in the archaeological work and pursued learning about the country. The devices encouraged students to learn and experience in different ways. Students had access to information about Cyprus (and our work there) in a way that no students have had in the past. They completed assignments with iPads and publicized their experiences through facebook and the project blog. They captured their experiences through the cameras, and recorded them through journals. And they learned to process archaeology through digital apps designed for our project.
Such multi-functional devices come with their problems of distraction, of course. But they also encouraged me to think outside the box about how to introduce students to learning about archaeology in Cyprus. I always had the feeling that I was just scratching the surface.
If you missed my series on using iPads for the History and Archaeology of Cyprus course, you can go through the posts here:
- iPads in Cyprus
- Paperless Tours
- iPads in Cyprus, Part 3: Using PKapp
- iPads in Cyprus, Part 4: Practical Matters
My collaborator, Dr. Fee, also wrote a series of posts on the design and execution of the PKapp: