Taking advantage of technology

Students receive iPads as learning tool

Jessica Sewing | Collegio Reporter

Last fall, three professors participated in a pilot program that lent iPads to students in specific classes. The iPads proved to be an effective teaching tool and the program continued into the current semester.
Akram Taghavi-Burris, assistant professor in graphics and imaging technologies, says technology can be useful, but cautions against overuse.

iPads in the classroom.

iPads in the classroom.

“Technology shouldn’t be used for technology’s sake,” Taghavi-Burris said.
She says if a class can benefit from the technology then it should be taken advantage of.
“The iPad is one technology that can be used in a multitude of ways,” Taghavi-Burris said. “At the very least, it is a replacement for pen and paper.”
Taghavi-Burris says other professors might argue that such technology might encourage goofing off.
“Distractions may happen, but I feel that if we don’t embrace this technology and teach practical positive usages of new technology, such as the iPad, to our students, such technology will only be wasted on trivial things.”
Tech. classes aren’t the only ones that received iPads as a teaching tool. Chemistry professor Irene Zegar received 24 iPads to give to her students for the semester.
“The iPad really enforces the material,” Zega
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r said. “I definitely saw a difference in comprehension, rather than a direct correlation with grades.”
Zegar says her students don’t use the iPad solely in her class; it can help them in all their courses.
One student who says he could have benefitted in more classes from using the iPad is Matthew Heflin. Heflin says his iPad helps him with taking notes, checking Canvas, and organization.
“Many classes do not allow electronics because many people abuse the privilege, so it can defeat the purpose,” said Heflin, junior in commercial graphics. “It ruins it for the rest of us who would greatly benefit from being able to bring laptops or iPads to class.”
Some students, like Brandon Sutterfield, don’t share Heflin’s opinion on the benefits of having an iPad. Sutterfield, who received his iPad in his web design class, says that the iPad doesn’t benefit him outside that class.
“I’m taking a pretty light credit hour semester, so I really had no use for it this semester,” said Heflin, senior in communication. “I think it would be easier to use a laptop, or old fashioned pen and paper.”
Zegar says the iPad offers something a pen and paper doesn’t, and that is interactive and visual learning opportunities.
“Students really enjoy the different things we are able to explore on the iPads,” Zegar said.
Most teachers who have had access to the iPads have seen the benefits they provide.
“I think professors and students alike should explore new technology and collaborate in developing new ways to incorporate these technologies in both the classroom and our daily lives,” Zegar said. “After all, it’s here; we have it, let’s make good use of it.”

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