Educational Uses of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S*
iOS 5, released on October 12, 2011, represents a new frontier in smartphone software. Days later, the iPhone 4S, with its new software assistant, “Siri,” was also released. While reviews have been glowing and many people have commented on the use of iOS 5 and Siri (Asking it to open the pod bay doors, for example), few have commented on their use in education, and how students can use Apple’s new software to revolutionize their academic life. We’ll discuss iOS 5 as a whole first, and then discuss Siri in detail.
In addition to multiple software enhancements, iOS 5 brought new programs to Apple devices. One of the most useful of these is the new Reminders app, which, as the name suggests, allows you to create reminders for yourself. This can be used to set homework reminders, tell you when an essay is due, and remind you about that study meeting for the next Calculus exam. Additionally, you can set your reminders to alert you at specific times, as a kind of nudge to get you to do the things you need to succeed at Hamilton College.
Reminders also have other useful features: they can be set to a location, so that you can be reminded to get something from the bookstore as you walk along Martin’s Way. Additionally, if you have a Mac and an iCloud account, your reminders will automatically sync with your iCal, making it even easier to program and use reminders.
The Safari browser app in iOS 5 has also seen an update useful for education: the reading list. This function allows you to take articles and websites of interest and put them in a reading list to view later. Additionally, when you pull up the articles, many of them will have their clutter removed, allowing you to focus on just the articles.
The final iOS 5-specific update is the iCloud mechanism. iCloud is Apple’s “cloud” program, which, similar to our SSS. It is a location where you can upload up to 5 GB of music, documents, and other things at no cost. Additionally, if you own iWork for the iPhone or iPad, your documents will automatically be synced to iCloud, making them much more secure.
Siri is the new voice assistant that is incorporated in to the iPhone 4S. It is incredibly intelligent, and capable of learning from your habits and phrases you speak to it. You can use it to dictate emails, set reminders & alarms, search Google, or even do Calculus! Additionally, it is possible to dictate whole essays onto Siri, and then edit them later, revolutionizing the harrowing process of writing essays at 3 a.m. on a Thursday morning.
This, of course, is only what has arrived in the last month. With the next iPad & iPhone likely on the way, and the growing proliferation of e-readers, the future of technology in education looks bright.
*ITS is providing you with information about a variety of technologies you may find useful. While we may not able to answer all of your questions for all of these technologies, we want to do our best to keep you informed.
Accessibility Help in the Classroom
(Image credited to AP Images under Creative Commons (CC))
The Library, ITS and the Dean of Students Office have been working closely to help provide students with disabilities the materials needed for their coursework in a format that works for them. Currently, we can facilitate to provide extended time for testing, along with a host of other accommodations. We frequently contact publishers to see if books and textbooks are available in an electronic format. If so, we can then scan the materials and create an audio file for the student. We also have magnifier software on all lab machines, and a magnifying machine available in the library for student use. We are investigating the use of the Intel Reader for immediate conversion of print to voice, as well. Please bring your accessibility needs and concerns to the attention of Dean Allen Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-4021.
*Reproduced with permission of Kristin Strohmeyer
The future of technology on campus is an interesting new frontier for Hamilton College, if not all colleges. We would be interested in hearing your questions and feedback on this topic. Email email@example.com to give us your thoughts. We’ll discuss them further in the coming issues.