Enhancing Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) Instruction with Mobile Devices

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 11:00 AM
Desert Salon 13-14 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Kent D. Kobayashi , University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Theodore J.K. Radovich , Tropical Plant and Soil Science, CTAHR, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini) have been used in several TPSS courses. Clientele include undergraduate and graduate students, agricultural professionals, growers, master gardeners, and youth. Examples will be presented from two programs. The Photobiology Program utilizes several applications. Zapd, an iPhone/iPad app to create websites, was used to create the Micro-hydroponics website to help students learn about a noncirculating hydroponics system. News aggregator apps (Feeddler, Pulse, and Zite) help find articles and videos about cutting edge technological developments in horticulture which are discussed in class. Mind mapping apps (SimpleMind, ThinkingMap) create mind maps of course syllabi and lecture topics such as environmental monitoring, photoperiod, and hydroponics. QR (quick response) code generator apps (QRS+) produce a QR code of instructor contact information which is placed in course syllabi and on the instructor office door. Students use mobile devices and laptops in class to do web searching for relevant information to supplement class discussions. Keynote is an iPhone/iPad app to create and deliver a presentation. With the Keynote Remote app, the iPhone becomes a remote control to control a Keynote presentation running on the iPad. The Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory utilizes an iPad and iPhone for instruction in the classroom and field. Heaviest use is for grading papers (iAnnotate) and for creating, modifying, and delivering presentations (Keynote and Keynote Remote). Field trips are supported by GIS applications (GISroam) which allow for soil series identification and other relevant activities. Data and images are recorded, processed, and presented using multiple applications, including Numbers, Camera, Photosynth, Zapd, and Web Albums. Communication with clientele is also conducted to an increasing degree via Social Media (MyPad+, Facebook, and Twitter).  Transferring material between devices is done via Dropbox and e-mail, and compatibility issues between the Windows and iOS operating systems have been minimal. Use of mobile devices for instruction is expected to continue to expand rapidly in the foreseeable future.