In some of our year one lectures we encourage students to send text messages as a means of asking questions. We have also used text messaging for in class voting. Text messages sent by students may be forwarded to the academic’s email account for ease of access and to avoid having to log in to a separate system to read messages. However, in trying to cope with incoming messages during a lecture session this requires a separate laptop to access email or to have an email programme active on the presentation PC. This presents its own problems as the content of messages might be shown to the entire class albeit inadvertently thus compromising confidentiality.
The mail feature on the iPod Touch / iPhone provides a lightweight and discreet solution to this problem. Staff can have email literally in the palm of their hand and quickly monitor for incoming messages as the lecture proceeds. This of course relies on wireless internet access within the lecture theatre for the system to work optimally and should be checked out before implementing a major exercise using mobile technology.
Email is something we are all to familiar with but I would be interested to hear if others are putting email to more “interesting” uses.