Friday, January 29, 2010

iPad and the Future of Learning

The field of education is often wasteful and ineffective in its methods. One ray of light on the horizon: plans to use the iPad to deliver interactive "textbooks" that are much cheaper than standard textbooks, and are designed around evidence-based methods, such as John Sweller's cognitive load theory:
The iPad makes it possible to replace static images with interactive puzzles that MacInnis says burn important concepts in to students’ brains better and longer. He showed me a demo learning module that explained the biological concept of cellular mitosis. It starts with a real microscope image of a cell. A caption, simultaneously spoken by a voiceover (They call this karaoke mode. It turns out to help memory better than either text or speech by itself) instructs me to tap the cells nucleus three times to simulate its breakdown. Further steps in the mitosis process require me to pinch, drag or swipe components in the cell after identifying them. When I’m done, I have a memory of having walked through the process physically, rather than just scanning an illustration with my eyes.

The full article can be found here.
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