Added Value

The iPad Fosters Interaction and Creativity

Barcelona (E), October 2012 - Two studies by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) show that use of the iPad takes it way beyond being a latest-generation technological tool. Among the uses of the Apple tablet, this research shows that it can help the elderly interact and foster their own creativity. It also provides support to police investigations.

The first project shows that the iPad can be extremely useful for elderly people who enjoy a reasonable level of health. Thanks to its relatively easy interface and the fact that it weighs very little, the iPad means that the elderly adapt quickly to using it. Easy access to the resources on this tablet and their applications develop social interrelations among the elderly and help foster creativity.

This project has helped the elderly lose their fear of new technologies in an age dominated by digitalisation. -œThe aim of this project is to bring people to technology and not the other way round,- says Margarida Romero, one of the driving forces behind this research. -œVery often, we have to -˜train' people for technology, instead of considering that we should adapt technology to people.-

As well as Romero, Elena Barberà also took part in this project, both being members of the EDUS group (University and School Distance Learning) at the UOC's eLearn Center. The project was carried out in Finland, but the researchers hope to develop this type of research for the elderly in Spain, and specifically Catalonia, over the coming years.

The second study shows that -œdue to its deeply-rooted nature and closed design-, the iPad helps with gathering forensic information to aid police investigations and improve crime clear-up rates. The Apple tablet has a series of information detection features that distinguish it from other tablets by different brands.

Of these, the research's co-author, Luis Gómez, has highlighted the most standard points offered by the iPad operating system, such as cloud-stored information (iCloud platform), the fact that the device can be located at any time (the Find My iPhone service), and wireless printing (Airprint service), which is one of the key relevant points to this research. Gómez also believes that -œthere are other products that offer similar features, but the differences in implementation make it necessary for each platform to be studied separately.-

In relation to the solution of crimes, there are proven instances where the iPad has been decisive. -œI have worked personally on cases of threats and blackmail where the devices that work with the iOS operating system have been the critical element of proof,- says Luis Gómez. -œIt's also easy to imagine the iPad as key in cases of information leaks,- he added.

This study was conducted by Joan Arnedo, researcher at the UOC's research institute, IN3, and Luis Gómez, UOC PhD student.

These two projects analyse and show empirically that the iPad can be used far beyond the confines of the technological uses of the digital age and that tablets, in this specific case the iPad, offer significant work and learning possibilities for different sectors of the population.