The Media Commons Mobile Media Pilot is now entering into its seventh semester and we have been collecting a lot of great feedback from faculty who have participated and students who have completed their assignments. What has been echoed over and over again is that, while the majority likes working with the iPod touch for its ease of use, light weight and all-in-one shoot-to-publish utility, its small screen and short battery life would be improved upon.
“If only there were some device that cost nearly the same amount of money but offered more visual real estate and juice while still affording the same usability,” we thought. And then Apple’s iPad Mini came along.
While the Mini is a step down in size from the original iPad, it doesn’t lose any of the functionality of the larger device. And, when compared to the iPod touch, it actually becomes quite a step up. So we got a 10-pack and decided to do a pilot within a pilot and roll them out as part of the Mobile Media program this Spring.
To keep them safe, each iPad has been covered with an i-Blason ArmorBox, which should also prove helpful for video reflections with its built in, landscape-format kickstand. The armored iPads are then packed into a Case Logic netbook shoulder bag which provides room for extra production notes and other odds and ends as well as providing a home for the Lightning cable, power adapter and MC contact card.
Five of these robust little kits will be traveling with one section of Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s Marketing 344 at Behrend as the students do consumer research in the Erie area. (The other section of the class will be getting iPod touch devices, allowing direct comparison of experiences when we follow up at the end of the semester.) The remaining five will be journeying across the Atlantic as students in the Education Abroad program at New Kensington explore Ireland and complete video assignments that document their trips.
I’m particularly keen on finding out how students like working with the larger form factor – it’s still lightweight, but will it be too big to easily shoot video? And will the expanded iMovie interface on the iPad allow students to create richer videos? It’s going to be an interesting chapter in the Mobile Media Pilot, so stay tuned!