This week Purdue University launched a new app for students. Developed by ITaP, Jetpack is an eReader style catch all for course materials. Users of the app can download ‘packs’ that contain all materials pertaining to a course or subject. Materials such as class handouts, assigned readings, videos, audio and important links are stored in the packs for quick reference or light studying.
One of the best features is that Jetpack locally stores the data on your mobile device. This means you don’t need to have an Internet connection to view your packs and you don’t have to wait for downloads. Other great features include embedded rich media, HTML5 interactivity and shared comments that are synchronized across devices for easy collaboration. But it does not stop there, Jetpack has more in store for us including “location aware content, QR codes, augmented reality with 3D models, and social integration.”
On the back end, Jetpack collects valuable analytic data on how students are using the material, and how well they did on quizzes or self-assessment tools. This will help ‘pack authors’ to understand what changes need to be made to future versions of Jetpack to streamline and improve performance.
As with all new technologies, the more it is used the more it is improved and I think we have a lot to look forward to from this kind of interactive learning app.I downloaded the Jetpack app on my phone and after toying around with the sample ‘packs’ available, I was very impressed. I certainly would not want to read an entire textbook chapter on my phone, but ‘packs’ are more about providing articles, images and classroom readings in a digital format. The result is an easy to browse set of bit sized information on a subject matter. It’s a great supplement to your traditional or electronic textbook, and makes your bus ride to school or break between classes a lot more productive than playing Angry Birds.