Thursday, September 20, 2012

Data analysis in the classroom/lab

This semester I am focusing on how to best use the Ipad in the lab associated with my upper division Cell Biology course.  As the lab/classrooms in the Biology dept are not "smart", to project any digital images I have to set up portable projectors/find a desktop or laptop and bring it into the lab/ put it all together and hope I have all the correct passwords to make it work.  I do not have a laptop, so I have been happily using the Ipad for the introductory presentations that I have been giving in the lab.  I have found it quite easy to convert a powerpoint made on my desktop to a pdf, putting it in my dropbox account, and then accessing and presenting it through GoodReader.  Obviously I'd like the Ipad to do more.  So I am planning on setting up a public folder in my DropBox account where students will deposit copies of digital images they generate with the microscopes they are using in lab.  I plan on working with these images "live" in class, by projecting them to the class, and having conversations about the quality of the data, the specifics of what is being imaged, and what conclusions can be drawn from the results.  In the past this has happened at the level of individual groups of students in front of a computer monitor near the microscope.  By doing this with the whole class I hope that they begin to see trends, anticipate issues with their own data, and work together in problem solving.  My next post will describe how this went.

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