While many Cushing faculty and students already count iPads among their favorite devices, a multi-faceted iPad pilot program rolled out this fall marks the introduction of this digital tool into Cushing's curriculum in a more extensive way.
Year of Exploration by Faculty
At the beginning of the academic year, all faculty members received an iPad to explore its use in individual classrooms and curricula. The iPads are fully loaded with apps for classroom use and with productivity tools, and any additional apps needed may be added. Apple TVs have been installed in all classrooms, enabling wireless display on the screen from the teacher's iPad, as well as from other sources. With the wireless connection, faculty may move about the classroom while displaying material for instruction and discussion.
Student-use iPad Pilot Program
A group of 12 sophomores has entered a one-year pilot program, utilizing iPads exclusively in three classes: Honors Literature and Composition II, taught by Mrs. Boyle; Honors Roots of the Modern World, taught by Peter Clarke; and Honors Chemistry, taught by Grant Geske. All reading (through the Kindle app), note-taking and writing occur on the iPad, using a platform of programs and applications shared among all three classes.
Thanks to the Technology Department, the Fisher-Watkins Library staff, and the Innovation Lab, 26 iPads are now ready for faculty to sign out for whole-class use, for a day, a week or another timeframe. Linguistics and Physics classes are among the first classes to request these iPads for classroom projects.
“We are three months into our iPad pilot program, a community engagement to determine the benefits and drawbacks of these mobile devices,” says Nancy Boyle, Chair and Curriculum Coordinator, Cushing Innovation Lab. “Faculty members have iPads loaded with apps for facilitating differentiated learning in and out of the classroom, and they are finding creative ways to enhance learning by modeling how they find and use apps to explore class content. Classes run with iPads, an Apple TV, and projector allow teachers to teach more naturally by moving about the room to interact with students. Teachers use their devices to share information, peer review writing, explain a complex math problem, sketch out an elusive concept, or search the web.
“Students in the iPads pilot program are taking notes collaboratively, reading and annotating classic and modern literature digitally, working on chemistry with an e text, and exploring history through their teacher-created iTunes University course. It is too early in our exploration of the iPad to determine its effects on learning and productivity for students and faculty and whether it will replace or augment the laptops currently in use. What is clear is that students quickly learned the ins and outs of the device and cloud storage. They are engaged and enthusiastic about its use as a tool for learning. It is easy to spot the students engaged in the iPad pilot program on campus – they are the ones who saunter with shoulders back from the lightness of their backpacks.”