September 13, 2011 12:00AM
The start of the semester always has its surprises, but there were none more exciting for the students in Professor Chris Huitt's Layout and Design course than being given their very own iPads on the first day of class.
"You should have seen their faces," said Huitt, who teaches in the Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies. "It was like Christmas."
Although the tablets will need to be returned at the end of the semester, there's probably no better modern-day lesson in technology than what the students will be doing with them this semester. Huitt, along with Chemistry professor Dr. Irene Zegar and Special Services and Leadership Studies professor Dr. Ann George, are piloting a multi-discipline project to determine how effective and efficient iPads are in the college classroom.
Huitt said his class will use the iPads to determine how well they can integrate the technology into their class work. Through the use of apps, they will see how well iPads receive, reply, create and deliver content for not only their Layout and Design class, but all of their courses.
In Dr. Zegar's chemistry lab, 24 iPads are currently in use (although they stay in the classroom rather than leaving with students). Professor George's SSLS practicum students received 10 iPads, and they are using them while they work in area classrooms.
"We want to gather data on their effectiveness and offer solutions to help make them as efficient as possible for use in the classroom," said Huitt, whose Advanced Layout and Design course last semester first experimented with iPads in the classroom - having some success but also encountering some software issues.
Dr. Brenda Frieden, director of PSU's Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, said this pioneering group, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs, has provided a great opportunity to incorporate technology into the classroom. As part of the iPad project, the three faculty involved will present their results and share their experiences next semester with all faculty on campus.
"Ultimately, we're trying to determine how these devices can be used to enhance education," Frieden said. "This is a good example of how we are teaching students to proficiently use today's technology in their work, and preparing them to be efficient users of technology in the future."
For more information on the iPad project, contact Frieden at firstname.lastname@example.org.