In early summer our Learning Technologies Department, Brian Ledwell, proposed a pilot project that includes the purchase of (total) 15 iPads that are available for check-out by faculty. We chose the iPad based on flexibility and price.  The idea is to offer training for D2L, Podcasting or as requested (you get the idea!) with the opportunity for faculty to learn and practice at a time and place that works with their schedules. Additional applications have been assessed and offered on the iPads that are intended to encourage experimentation, fun, creativity and curiosity.

The second purpose for the pilot is to give faculty an opportunity to discover teaching and learning uses simply by having access to the device and the applications.  We purposely did not set rules for iPad check-out other than common courtesy of no longer than one month (due to limited supply) and encourage the use for at least one to two weeks.  Based on our own experimenting, we think that this time is needed to adapt to the device and then hopefully, to realize new uses.

The hope is that through personal, self-directed use, faculty will “wow” us in the creative adventures they discover that enhance teaching and learning, and surprise their students with unexpected options in classes. Brian also secured a prepaid card so faculty could request funds for purchasing iPad apps, and in return the faculty would write a review of the app and how it was used.

Feedback is requested from any faculty participating in the project so that we can modify applications and track whether the future purchase of additional iPads would be beneficial.  There are multiple articles in recent academic journals about the experiments and uses of mobile devices in academia, which suggest that in the future, mobility and education will be firmly linked.

We do not have any anticipated outcomes, as we do not want to limit the scope of the project. Simply by going through the process and engaging in open conversation, the potential becomes more exciting as we look forward to the educational applications that have not yet been discovered.

For further discussion, the contact person is Brian Ledwell