July 18, 2012
College of Education dean announces iPad initiative
Dean Debbie Mercer has announced her plan to prepare preservice teachers for the use of technology in classrooms through an iPad initiative that includes providing the device to each full-time instructional faculty member.
"The iPad is the current icon for technology enhanced learning and is increasingly a top choice of many school districts because of its relative low cost," Mercer said. "It is critical that we have the expertise to model cutting-edge technology applications to most effectively prepare our candidates for their future classrooms."
The iPad is not new to the college because several faculty members purchased them through grants, bought them personally or were provided one by the college. However, Mercer’s ubiquitous plan will ensure all instructors are equally equipped, and faculty will be required to attend implementation sessions offered through the college’s Catalyst Technology and Media Center.
"The college is not merely putting iPads in professors’ hands, but has developed a thorough professional development program that will begin with technical knowledge and move to content-based learning throughout the year," Mercer said.
Dennis Devenney, catalyst center director, and his team created training sessions for iPad recipients. Session 1 is devoted to set up and introduction; session 2 focuses on installing apps and using applications; and the final sessions review instructional uses, connectivity and research.
"I am excited about this initiative and the sessions we have created," Devenney said. "They will be the springboard to even more sessions that will advance us in instructional and educational practices and further our plans in other technology initiatives."
Mercer appreciates the effort that went into developing the training sessions.
"Dennis and his staff have done a phenomenal job developing an implementation plan including ongoing professional learning," she said. "In fact, an Apple executive applauded Dennis’ plan as a model during a recent campus visit."
The catalyst center has hosted monthly iPad User Group meetings since October 2010. The meetings are open to anyone on campus, and the next one is Thursday from 12-1 p.m. in 21 Bluemont Hall. The topic is apps for teaching math, science, social studies, English/language arts and special education.