‘EDvolution’ Bringing iPads to College of Education

ED_GeneralCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 18, 2014 – An “EDvolution” is sweeping the College of Education at Southeast Missouri State University that will bring iPads to education majors beginning next fall.

The One-to-One Initiative – called “EDvolution” — will allow education students to rent a 32-gigabyte iPad Air. After their first two years in the education program, they will turn the device in for a “refresher” upgraded model for use during their junior and senior years, allowing them to stay current with advancing technologies. Upon graduation, students may turn their device in, pay a nominal fee and then keep the iPad to use as they begin their first teaching positions and enter the job market. The rental program will include damage, repair, replacement and theft.

Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the College of Education, says about 500 iPads will begin arriving on campus this summer. Communication will be going out to education majors over the summer about the new one-to-one initiative, she said. The rental cost and how the devices will be distributed are still under discussion.

The devices will be pre-loaded with apps that will be used as part of the education curriculum.  Apple was selected as the vendor of choice, she said, because their devices now offer the most tools relevant to the teaching profession.

“It gave us the biggest bang for the buck,” she said.

Rogers-Adkinson

Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson

Faculty will be folded into the rental program as well, Rogers-Adkinson said, so they are on the same iPad rotation as the students.

Training on the devices will be offered on campus to students through a three-staged program – Tech For You, Tech For Us and Tech For Them.

Seminars will be offered for freshmen next fall on how to use the devices during Tech For You. They will learn how to use the apps loaded on their device, how to take notes on it and how to use it to study for the Missouri General Education Assessment.

During the Tech For Us stage, students will begin using their iPads, working collaboratively with faculty, using the device for class instruction during Block I. This will be either the second semester of their freshman year or the first semester of their sophomore year, she said. They will continue to use them in advanced education courses as well.

Students will shift into the Tech For Them stage when they begin teaching in the field. They will have their lesson plans and classroom activities loaded on their iPads, which can be readily connected to projection devices or wireless internet in area classrooms.
Rogers-Adkinson said the College of Education’s EDvolution is serving as a pilot program for other areas of the University.

“If we don’t do this, we are making students less effective for their regional markets, and that doesn’t make sense,” she said. “We have to prepare students to work in Sikeston (Mo.) and Cape Girardeau,” she said, noting school districts where one-to-one initiatives already have been adopted.

Other schools districts in Southeast’s service region that already have launched one-to-one initiatives are Ste. Genevieve, Poplar Bluff, Kirkwood, Wentzville, Grandview and Climax Springs, Mo., she said.

“Lots of our graduates are hired in St. Louis in (school) districts that have been using tech for quite some time,” she added.

Southeast Missouri State University’s College of Education is currently the only education program in the state planning to launch a one-to-one initiative. She said the effort evolved from ongoing conversations with the college’s northern and southern advisory boards made up of educators who are Southeast graduates.

“The number one piece of feedback (we received) is that we need to improve the tech competency of our students,” she said. “We want out students to be tech independent,” she said.

ED_GeneralShe says the College has begun sharing information about the iPad rental program with incoming freshmen during First STEP orientation sessions. In January, the College of Education held a convocation for current students in which information about the program was communicated. The convocation was streamed to the University’s regional campuses as well. Rogers-Adkinson also has met with the presidents of various College of Education student organizations, and information about the program has been posted on the college’s Facebook page.

Southeast’s College of Education began piloting the one-to-one initiative last year with a small number of classes dubbed the “iPad Academy.” Those classes have been taught by Dr. Julie Ray, chair of the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education; Dr. Shonta Smith, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education; and Dr. Nancy Aguinaga, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education.

“They have been really happy,” Rogers-Adkinson said, acknowledging that both faculty and students will need to “learn to shrug when technology doesn’t work.”

The benefits, she said, though, is that “they have some different learning experiences when they’ve been able to collaborate.”

Rogers-Adkinson says her goal next year is for each College of Education faculty member to teach at least one section of a class by incorporating the iPad.

“I’m excited about the way we are trying to recreate our program,” she said, referencing several other sweeping state-mandated changes in assessments and curriculum for education majors that began last fall.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is visioning “a new curriculum with tech in place,” she said.

At Southeast, “we’re trying to be creative and fun and challenging as well. We need to let them (our students) be creative learners and teachers,” Rogers-Adkinson said.