The 2013 Horizon Report identified tablet computing as a key emerging technology in Higher Education (HE). The report attributed the growth of tablet computing in HE to the incredible success of the iPad, which at the time had sold more than 85 million units, and is predicted to sell over 377 million units by 2016. The adoption process for a new technology often begins as a solution devised for non-instructional requirements (communication, entertainment, etc.) in search of a problem it can solve in education.
Considering the large number of iPads currently in use in HE institutions across different countries, inevitably a number of related questions emerge: Does this tablet warrant special research interest vis-à-vis teaching and learning in HE? What is the possible contribution of iPads towards instruction? Are innovative pedagogies encouraged and facilitated through the use of iPads? Is this tablet computer a game-changer and can it provide a transformative experience for teaching and learning? In the long term empirical studies will clarify the contribution of iPads towards teaching and learning in HE.
‘ihe’ began in 2011, when the ‘Art + Design: elearning lab‘ started investigating the use of iPads in art and design education. At the time there was minimal empirical research on the use of iPads in HE, and the need was identified to provide a platform through international conferences, workshops and other related educational and appropriate academic events, for the dissemination of research on the use of iPads in Higher Education.
The ‘ihe’ steering committee comprises members of the original group, plus an additional member from the hosting institution that organises the forthcoming ‘ihe’. This additional member has a two-year term and the position is renewed after the completion of the biennial conference.
‘ihe’ welcomes ideas and suggestions for collaboration, workshops, keynote speaking and research activities. In November 2011 we were invited as a Special Interest Group (SIG) to present at ‘mlearn 2014’ a workshop titled ‘iPads in Higher Education (HE): Advantages and Disadvantages’. In 2017, members of the Steering Committee are involved in organising ‘mLearn2017’ to take place in Larnaca (Cyprus).
The ‘ihe’ Steering Committee acknowledges the support of many individuals, including doctoral students that in a variety of ways provide their time and expertise towards this endeavour.