For Dr. Abigail Goosie, iPads and apps are more than just effective technologies for connecting with her students. They are helping her to improve student-learning outcomes and evaluate her own teaching methods.
An assistant professor of biology, human anatomy, and physiology, Goosie administers tests on iPads and uses numerous apps in both her classroom lectures and lab courses.
She says there are several advantages to students taking tests on the iPad.
“In addition to the environmental benefit of saving paper, students receive their grade as soon as their test is submitted, and they can see which questions they missed and remediate on the topic immediately,” said Goosie.
By getting answers at the time of testing, the test becomes both an assessment and a learning tool.
“Learning the correct answer to a question as soon as a test has been completed helps identify misconceptions and has helped them to retain material better,” said Goosie.
Giving tests on the iPad also provides access to analytical data showing questions that are most commonly missed and what the most common incorrect answers are.
“The test data provides me with a tool to evaluate my teaching effectiveness and an opportunity to open a dialogue with students about the course content,” she said.
To give tests on the iPad, Goosie uses an app called PadLock. Through resourcefulness and creativity, she manipulated the app settings so that it could interface with the college’s course management system where her tests are housed.
In doing so, she can lock down tests. If students leave the course management system in which they are taking a test to search for an answer via a web browser or somewhere else on their iPad, they cannot get back into the test without a password.
In addition to the PadLock app she uses for tests, apps that provide anatomical illustrations and animation are also very effective teaching tools to reinforce content covered in the course.
“Anatomical apps provide a variety of perspectives from which to view anatomy and are extremely useful for visual learners,” said Goosie.
They are also more affordable (most are free) than actual anatomical models and students do not have to crowd around a model and take turns looking at it.
By integrating mobile technology into their curricula, Goosie and her colleagues in the Natural Science Division are realizing significant gains in learning outcomes. On the division’s anatomy and physiology comprehensive final exams, students have achieved scores on average 7 to 10 percent higher since she and other faculty began their mobilization efforts.
“The possibilities with mobilization are infinite and transformative for the student and the teacher,” said Goosie.