by Carlos Guevara
Two cohorts totalling 46 faculty members have participated in the iPad Pilot Initiative since it was launched in Fall 2012.
This initiative provided Faculty an opportunity to:
- Research what advantages and disadvantages iPads offer to teaching and learning
- Identify what apps are available in their field, and how using them in the classroom will impact the teaching curriculum
- Reflect about the impact of mobile learning on student learning
This faculty-driven initiative was designed to encourage faculty members to work in teams and engage in group discussions. Although some funding to buy apps was provided, for the most part the tendency throughout the two cohorts was to find free apps.
The outcomes from this initiative are remarkable, especially because some of these were not planned:
- From the individual point of view, this initiative was a catalyst for technology adoption and productivity improvement.
- From the academic point of view, it provided a space to reflect about current teaching approach and an opportunity to enhance pedagogy and increase student engagement.
- From the institutional point of view, it is helping the Administration to make an informed decision with respect to acquiring the appropriate mobile learning resources.
The next phase of this initiative starts in Spring 2014, where a small number of faculty members will participate in a classroom pilot. IPad carts will be available to faculty and students throughout the semester, and iPads will be equipped with apps identified by the participating faculty, as well as other apps such as Blackboard Mobile, Nearpod, and Socrative. Given its features and high interactivity, Nearpod will be explored during this pilot.
Nearpod is an easy-to-use app, its purpose is to bring the classroom to life with interactive mobile presentations created and customized by teachers. Some attractive benefits of this app are: allows for synchronized content viewing, is highly interactive, and engages students through active participation (more info: http://www.nearpod.com/how-it-works).
Mobile learning postures as a promising solution to better connect with students; and with the assistance of new and better mobile platforms, new opportunities are on the horizon to allow students to interact with content, communicate/collaborate with classmates and teachers, and access content anywhere and at anytime. One of the imperative goals of any academic institution is to increase learner engagement, and the adoption of mobile learning opens a door of possibilities and challenges. With that in mind, the goal of the iPad Pilot Initiative is to engage into these conversations, and explore how the integration of mobile learning (in this case iPads) into teaching and learning changes student engagement and performance.
Results of this pilot will be published in a future edition of the EdTech Innovations Newsletter. To learn more about this initiative visit: