For the 2015 fall semester, Northeast State will issue iPad Mini 2 tablets to Tennessee Promise and new full-time, degree-seeking freshmen who meet established criteria. As envisioned, the initiative will focus on ways to promote student-centered learning through the use of mobile technology.
To explore the iPad’s potential in the classroom, selected Northeast State faculty are attending three-hour training sessions during the month of July. The College’s Center for Teaching Excellence is conducting the training.
The workshops are designed for faculty members who have been chosen to teach i-Pad enhanced classes. Jim Kelly, CTE director, said iPad uses might include note-taking, online and in-class collaboration on projects, research, and app use to share information during classes.
The training involves an overview of how iPads work, a look at how the devices are used in student-centered learning, and an introduction to useful teaching apps. The devices are pre-loaded with apps such as Microsoft Office and Nearpod, a tool that allows the iPads to communicate in a classroom.
“We don’t mean for the iPad to replace current teaching methods,” Kelly said. “We just want faculty members to think about ways iPads can enhance, enrich, and extend what they already do and use the technology to engage students in the learning process. This emphasis on student-centered learning has been the focus of the College’s STEP (Strategies for Teaching Excellence) initiative, which has been ongoing for the past five years, so the current iPad initiative is a logical extension of STEP.”
Kelly said the CTE will provide continuing education about iPads throughout the year and a faculty-written blog is in the works to provide a conversation about best practices. He said periodic assessments will occur with faculty and students to gauge the effectiveness of the initiative.
“The exciting part about this is that our iPad initiative is not static or fixed – it’s something we can continuously improve upon and expand, and we look forward to learning from any challenges that might arise. Our goal is to become a model for other higher education institutions in the state who are exploring ways to use iPads to promote student learning and retention.”