Part Two of ourÂ look intoÂ results and best practices being generated fromÂ iPad rollouts in education.
Last weekÂ we started looking at rollouts of iPads in schools by searching out, reading, and summarizing findings inÂ articles discussing these types ofÂ programs. This week we continue our examination of this topic byÂ sharing take-aways from thisÂ excellent articleÂ in the March/April 2011Â Educause Review. Educators Mary Ann Gawelek, Mary Sparato, and Phil Komarny from Seton Hill University wrote this highly informativeÂ overview of theÂ recent introduction ofÂ iPads at their university.
What was Seton Hill out to accomplish with this effort? The program had among itsÂ principle objectives:
- Increased studentÂ engagement in learning
- Widespread adoption and use of mobile technology, providing instant access to information
- CreatingÂ a teaching and learning environment that goesÂ beyond the traditional classroom
- Enhancing creative and critical thinking through the development and use of interactive teaching strategies
- Displacing someÂ textbook costs by moving toÂ less expensive electronic texts
Getting The Environment And Personnel Prepared
The article shares a wealth of information about some of the keys to positioning an effort like this for success. First among these is the proper mindset for both leadership and faculty. â€œVisionary and nimble senior leadershipâ€, and faculty who areÂ â€œcommitted to teaching excellence andÂ becoming active learners in emerging technologiesâ€, areÂ essential. It also calls for an innovative technology leader (â€œpredicting whatÂ technology will be like three to fiveÂ years in the futureÂ and which investments will pay off then, requires leadership willing to takeÂ risksâ€). ToÂ ensure thatÂ a wealth of resourcesÂ were directed towardsÂ support of this project, Seton Hill developedÂ a strong collaboration between academic leadership, teaching faculty, and students.
On the infrastructure front, knowing how critical network throughput would be,Â the university completely refreshed their network, providing 300 access points, and significantly increasing bandwidth on the campus Internet backbone (they went from a 25 mbps connection to their provider to a full gigabit connection!).
Additionally,Â a program of comprehensive and ongoing faculty development was put in place.Â This includes training inÂ skills such as the use of the iPad as an instructional tool, working with multi user virtual environments (like Second Life), a variety of Web 2.0 applications, assistive technology tools, andÂ the use of gaming in the instructional process.
How's It Going So Far?
This effort is still in its early stages, but there has been a lot of encouraging feedback so far.
- Early assessment data show thatÂ Â 66% of faculty use the iPad in the classroom at least once a week.
- In the classroom, the iPad is being used for instructional reinforcement,Â â€œimmediate and authenticÂ information gatheringâ€, interactive presentations,Â educational gaming, podcasts, and more.
- Faculty and students report that they appreciate the iPad for its convenience andÂ portability, and that they use it for communication, information gathering, note taking, reading, interactive work, and â€œstaying connectedâ€.
- 52% percent of students reported believing that the iPadÂ has had a positive effect on their communication with faculty.
Seton Hill intends to leverage student and faculty focus groups, surveys, and evaluation components of the professional development program to further assessÂ the effectiveness and impact of theÂ â€œGriffin Technology Advantageâ€ (as the iPad programÂ has been formally titled by Seton Hill).
TheÂ article provides much more detail, so click through to learn more aboutÂ this well planned project that appears positioned to enhance engagement,Â improveÂ communication, increase information access, and provideÂ useful feedback throughÂ robust assessment efforts.
Next Steps (here on EmergingEdTech)
Among the comments on last week's postÂ was one particularly interesting one from first grade reading teacher Sara Getting, who explained the she and a colleague have recently completed a research project focused on 3o at-risk readers and how the iPad might help them. Sara has kindly agreed to share more about her work, and I look forward to publishing an article about this research here shortly.
In a couple weeks, I'll be attending Campus Technology 2011, and there are a number of great looking workshops being offered that focus on the iPad, including one by theÂ authors of the article above, which I am really looking for to!Â As always, I'll be sharingÂ much of whatÂ I learn here.Â (I'll alsoÂ beÂ presenting a workshop at Campus Technology, â€œUsing Popular Social Networking Tools In (and Out Of) The Classroomâ€ on Thursday 6/28 at 9:45 AM. I hope you'll stop by if your attending!)
In the meanwhile, if you haveÂ experiences with the iPad in educational uses, or questions or comments, don't hesitate to join the conversation!
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
iPads In Education â€“ Howâ€™s It Going So Far?
10 Excellent iPad Applications for Teachers
Someday students will carry a tablet computer instead of books (itâ€™s just a matter of time)