Over the past couple of months, one topic, and one topic only, has dominated the chatter throughout the halls and offices (and emails and phone calls) of the Minnesota School of Business-Richfield campus: the iPads. “When do we get them? What do we do with them? How do you work them? Do I get one?”
The introduction of the iPad is part of the university’s Educational User Experience initiative. Education User Experience is an innovative and technologically focused, adaptive learning model, transforming how Minnesota School of Business/Globe University’s students learn. Like any major change, it was met with both excitement and resistance. On one hand, there are no more giant, expensive textbooks to lug around. On the other, students have to learn how to highlight important passages in an eBook (which, as it turns out, is super easy). Most of the initial hesitation and reservations occurred prior to the actual arrival of the iPad. Now, those same students (and instructors) who expressed concerns are wandering the halls, iPad in hand, exploring their new educational tools.
“Our concerns have gone from paper cuts to download times,” said Richard Gardner, business administration student. “It’s pretty exciting.”
The introduction of a new educational tool has also provided everyone, from students to staff, with a new learning opportunity – collaboration. Everyone is literally learning together. Though some had their own iPads before they made their way to campus, many did not.
“I have no experience with iPads, but I guess we’ll all learn together!” said Mai Xiong, a new nursing student. “I think the whole iPad program is awesome, and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Instructors have also been learning from one another – from simply bouncing ideas off of each other to taking part in Appy Hour, a weekly training session on educational apps. “Sara, the Director of Career Services, told me about a fabulous app called Monster Interview that I’ve used in my Career Capstone class,” said instructor, Carol Jaeger. “The students love using their new iPads in the classroom.”
Students are using their iPads for basic things like reading their textbooks, finding journal articles for their papers, checking their emails, and taking notes. They are also using them for more complex assignments that might not have been available without this technology.
“We have an assignment where the Design Fundamentals students are designing and drawing their own game or story characters. After drawing them, they can use traditional media or take high resolution photos of them with the iPad and colorize them in Art Studio, Photoshop or another art application,” said digital video program instructor, Mike Casey.
What might be the most amazing about all of the buzz, learning opportunities, and new classroom experiences is that it’s only week three of the pilot program. Can you imagine how awesome things will be at this time next quarter? I can (and I am sensing a blog post might need to be written about it).