Tablets Take Center Stage In M.S.T. Class

SOCORRO, N.M. January 7, 2016 – Dr. Dave Westpfahl has reworked his Master of Science for Teachers class that deals with teaching with computers this year. For the past 19 years, he has taught “Computers in Science Teaching.” With the advent of tablets and cell phones, he has rebranded the class as “Mobile Computing and Science Teaching.” This class, which is exclusively available to MST students, helps secondary teachers learn how to effectively use tablets in the classroom.

When Westpfahl first launched the course, classroom teachers were not comfortable using computers. Now, most teachers have smart phones and are no longer intimidated by computer technology.

“A mobile phone is a computer with phone functionality,” he said. “The needs of a teacher have changed. They need something like this to teach and learn.”

Each student receives an iPad and Westpfahl exposes his pupils to many different ways to use the technology.

“How do you teach and learn with it? How do you connect it to a projector? What else can you connect it to? Which apps are effective for teaching various subjects? That’s what we cover in the class,” he said. “I’m trying to give everyone preparation for the future.”

In one exercise, Westpfahl drops a basketball and students use the iPad to record the motion. They can play back the video in slow motion and calculate the velocity and acceleration. Another exercise involves analyzing pictures. Westpfahl has a picture of a double rainbow, which students can measure the angular size. For a picture of a flower, Westpfahl teaches students how to label the parts.

These are just a couple examples of how you can teach science with a mobile computer.

– NMT –