Students this fall have the chance to learn with cutting-edge technology and innovative instruction, courtesy of Chesapeake College’s InspirED program.
The college last year launched a pilot program to provide a test group of nursing and education majors with iPads. Students quickly embraced the tablet-based learning, and the project is expanding this year.
Students who take at least one class from a list of special General Education course sections are eligible to enroll in the InspirED program and borrow an iPad for the semester.
Last year, 54 nursing students, 50 education and 12 EMT/paramedic students were part of an iPad pilot project at Chesapeake College. The students were given new iPads to use in their academic and personal lives for the year.
Now, an additional 100 students will use iPads in the Fall semester when they register for the InspirED program. These students will save money by using their iPads to access digital versions of the traditional, expensive textbooks.
The iPads can easily be used to replace other tools like texts and notebooks, but the true challenge lies in using the devices to change learning.
“This is not simply using a new device in a class,” explained Director of the Faculty Development Center Cynthia France. “This is a new way of teaching and learning. Each of these classes has been developed to feature the iPad as an innovative learning tool. The curriculum is adapted to include new ways for students to conduct research and engage in interactive, hands-on learning exercises.”
As part of the project, instructors are integrating the devices into their teaching.
“The iPads are producing phenomenal results,” Assistant Professor of Nursing Crystel Farina said. “Even something as basic as documentation has been transformed by the iPad. For example, our students are keeping more accurate records of vital signs with the iPads. It’s a basic skill in nursing, but having accurate information is crucial. It can affect diagnosis, treatment, and medication dosage.”
The iPads can easily be used to replace other tools like texts and notebooks, but the true challenge lies in using the devices to change learning at Chesapeake.
Vice President for Technology and Academic Support Doug Gray said the program was designed to bring both academic and financial benefits to students. Students can use the devices to have access to resources any time they need to work. They can also use apps to enhance their classroom learning experiences
“The primary goal of this project is to support a transformative learning environment to improve instruction and learning,” Gray said. “Our pilot program last year was successful, so we’re happy to expand the project to include more students.”
Gray noted that the digital divide remains a problem in Chesapeake’s five-county service area. Access to both equipment and an internet connection is a challenge for some. The InspirED program is leveling the playing field for students who participate. The students now have the equipment to take advantage of the reliable Wi-Fi at Chesapeake.
Even with the boost from technology, students come to Chesapeake College with varying levels of technical knowledge. The pilot program includes customized, one-on-one training for students through Chesapeake’s Academic Support Center tutoring team. The tutors will take students through a preparation checklist to ensure mastery of the basic skills such as submitting assignments and conducting research.
France said the InspirED program includes training and tech support. A goal, she said is to make the program accessible for students at all levels of technological experience.
Librarians were also involved in training to help faculty find and vet open-source materials. Librarians will be available to help students once the classes begin.
“The development of these classes was a true team effort. It was the perfect situation for collaboration,” France said. “Each class has a designer, librarian and tutor assigned to it to support the instructor and students.”
Students in the pilot program used their iPads beyond their dedicated classes and course assignments. Students can take photos of notes on a class board, download study apps, make videos for projects, and better communicate with their instructors and with each other.
The iPads allow students to work collaboratively without scheduling meetings. This is a big help when managing group projects on different schedules. Farina said the technology allows the students to learn and review anywhere. Research sources that previously required a trip to a library can now be accessed any time and from any place.
“The digital versions or e-textbooks provide a variety of tools to allow for easy note-taking, bookmarking and searching within the e-text to improve comprehension,” said Instructional Designer Jamie Gunsallus.
Fall Semester 2015 classes begin on August 24. For more information about the InspirED program, please visit http://www.chesapeake.edu/inspired or email email@example.com.