Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Alma Leora Culén, Andrea Gasparini, Roni Hercz (2012) iPad – the space between the cool and the useful, Oslo university

It is generally agreed that the iPhone and the iPad were Apple’s truly cool products that have permanently changed some things about mobile phones and finally made a tablet into a marketing success. In this paper we discuss the space between iPad’s coolness and its value and usefulness to users in two quite different settings: education and banking. In the first example, we consider the product ecology of an iPad in the classroom setting and try to capture something about how the coolness of the product affects individuals and groups as they take it into action. Our reflections are based on several studies that we have conducted related to the introduction of the iPad as an educational tool in elementary and high schools as well as the university. In the classroom setting, students, both individually and as a group, have quite a large degree of autonomy in defining the use (including production and consumption of information, communications, gaming etc) of the iPad. In the banking example, iPads are used individually and privately. It is the bank that decides which services are made available and what constitutes the best way of interacting with their services. Cool service design is still not a goal in itself. Rather, solid interaction design should make users perceive the service as really good and subsequently, cool. The boundaries between cool design, hype and trend-following are still blurry in the race for competitive advantage.

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