Five Ithaca College faculty members have received 20 iPads for their spring semester courses as part of the Faculty iPad Pilot Program, which has given faculty and students the opportunity to incorporate this technology into the classroom since Fall 2012.
Information Technology Services and the Center for Faculty Excellence teamed up to sponsor the program, which has loaned out a total of 30 iPads to selected faculty members, who had to go through an application process to participate.
Marilyn Dispensa, instructional technology coordinator at ITS, said the program focuses on measuring how hands-on learning with iPads affects productivity.
“You can’t imagine how it can be used until you actually have some on-hand experience,” she said.
Dispensa said out of all the five schools on the the college’s campus, around 84 faculty members have participated in the program so far.
The purchased iPads will help the faculty develop with technology, research, learning, clinical work and personal productivity, she said.
In order for the faculty members to understand how the iPads work, Dispensa and Beth Regg, associate director of technology services, set up a learning community.
“Efforts were made to create a faculty learning community through face-to-face and online activities,” Dispensa said.
Though the initial use was for the faculty, the iPads have also been placed into the hands of the faculty’s students for class projects. These class projects range from collective management in museums to coordinating lighting cues for college productions.
Keri Watson, assistant professor in the Department of Art History, said students in her Museum Practices and Methods course have been using the iPads to photograph the condition of the artwork they view. She said her students, mostly juniors and seniors, have teamed up in pairs of three to gain this professional experience.
“One of the students’ first projects was to go on a little bit of a scavenger hunt across campus,” Watson said. “There is artwork all over the campus that’s from Handwerker’s collection, so they are going to use the iPads to fill out condition reports.”
With the use of the iPads in Watson’s class, she said the students will develop communication skills.
“I want them to develop teamwork and interpersonal skills, so there are three students per Apple iPad,” she said.
Watson also said the Handwerker Gallery is utilizing the iPads by handing them out to the visitors and mounting them in front of the artwork for interaction.
“Visitors can interact with them, and sometimes even programs for tours and children’s groups come too,” she said.
In the upcoming years, Watson said she hopes to use the iPads for other courses, such as an exhibition seminar.
Other faculty members such as Steve TenEyck, associate chair and professor for the Department of Theater Arts, and Trevor Maynard, lighting and sound shop supervisor for theater arts, are using the iPads primarily for an app called FileMaker Pro, which makes a digital cue list that tells spotlight operators when to shine the spotlight on the stage.
TenEyck said he is using the FileMaker Pro app for the spring semester opera “L’etoile” and musical “Gone Missing.”
He said the cue list is managed by a student assistant manager who has control over all of the iPads and the information that goes through them to the spotlight operators.
“This cue list details out who the followspot should be on,” TenEyck said.
After having worked in the professional lighting industry for 17 years, Maynard said, he is adapting to the new use of the iPads for theater productions.
“This is a new idea for me, and I’m excited to be a part of making it happen,” he said. “It is a very simple application that can have tremendous ratification industry-wide.”
Given that the program allows faculty to experiment with technology without paying for it, Dispensa said, any negative feedback has been slim to none. She said some faculty have returned the iPads not as a reflection on the program, but on their personal findings of the iPads’ usefulness in the classroom.
“Faculty outcomes ranged from finding little use to enhancing personal productivity, to incorporating it into classroom activities, to exploring how their course materials worked on the iPad,” Dispensa said.
Dispensa said the Faculty iPad Pilot Program will continue college-wide for semesters ahead.