As for class participation, we can give real-time surveys or quizzes in class, with the answers posted through the classroom projector for everybody to see. We can post a survey and everybody can respond on their iPad, and then we can compile the results for the class. For people who don’t like to raise their hands or be “seen,” it gives them a way to give feedback and to engage in class. I really think the iPad gives us a way to engage students, no matter their personality or learning style.
As both students and faculty embrace the iKnow initiative and the mobility it provides, a natural derivative has been the availability of near real-time communications. Faculty can host virtual office meetings and allow questions to be asked using the iKnow applications or using SMS technology. Students and faculty can share resources with each other via Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate collaborative tools.
Have you noticed an increase in student performance and/or motivation? If so, how?
I have personally noticed technology being used across campus on an increasing basis. Our students are more engaged and more equipped when they leave. Being a small school, we can sometimes be at a disadvantage with respect to the kinds of resources we can provide. The iPad has leveled that playing field for us—giving us access to world-class books, resources, and letting us do things like Skype with people whom we could never afford to pay to come speak to our students. The technology is awesome.
How do you use technology to streamline administration and aid in decision-making?
I will only speak for my department, but the use of Google Docs has revolutionized our time use and meetings. Instead of circulating documents or eMails, we can edit and comment on documents in real time, collaborating with our colleagues who are across campus or in another city. We have cut down on the time it takes to get documents ready, make policies, update each other—just everything.
We all use Apple products—the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and so on. When I send ideas to our design folks, I can make a sketch on a piece of paper, take a photo (or use FaceTime if I’m being fancy), and send it to them. That’s way better than trying to describe fonts or shapes over the phone.