FSCC iPad Technology

By Kevin Gray

When people think of the iPad, they seldom think about a multitude of classroom uses. Most people think iPads, and they immediately see individuals in coffee shops hunched over or leaning back in a relaxed fashion reading.

But picture a small scale technology easily used for preparing presentations in class or for large training sessions; collaboration within class among students; sharing notes/lessons/responses back and forth in the classroom; importing photographs/research in collaborative projects with instant access; editing and revising pretty much anything and the possibilities go on endlessly…

Two iPad labs will soon become available for everyday class work at the Miami County Campus of Fort Scott Community College thanks to two grants totaling $15,718 awarded by the Baehr and the Jewell-Roman Foundations.

A much better understanding of educational concepts, said FSCC Miami County Campus Director, Buddy Tanck, taught in the classroom will be accomplished with the new equipment.

“I predict these devices will allow much more understanding of concepts discussed in the classroom,” Tanck said.

As the campus director, Tanck said she has been able to see, firsthand, numerous applications for iPads in the classroom.

“The coolest thing that I have seen is an astronomy application that allows you to hold the iPad up to the sky, and the GPS in the device allows you to find stars, constellations, and even satellite locations,” Tanck said.

Witnessing the use of an iPad for astronomy, Tanck said, was fascinating.

“I thought, ‘What potential there is here for engaging students in learning.’ It definitely sparked my interest in learning more about the stars and the planets. I also thought about how easy it would be to teach this to my kids with my own limited knowledge of the subject,” Tanck said.

Both Tanck and Tricia Sinclair, Paola campus Computer Applications and business instructor, have been discussing a variety of ways to integrate technology into the classroom for students and the instructors.

“We both purchased devices similar to the iPad but which were less expensive. However, they did not work the way an iPad does. We knew that the only way we would be able to use these in the classroom or even educate our instructors on the devices was to receive them through a grant or a donation,” Tanck said.

Tanck said she had to find a means of getting the devices into the hands of students and faculty. “It is very difficult for students, faculty, or individuals in the community to know how the iPads can be used, if they are not able to get their hands on them and use them. This is exactly what I wanted to do for our faculty,” Tanck said.

This way, Tanck said, she could actually give her faculty and staff an opportunity to get their hands on an iPad.

“Now, they will be able to think about how they can enhance their teaching and student learning by utilizing these devices,” Tanck said.

When talking to the FSCC Director of Nursing, Bill Rhoads, Tanck said she discovered how iPads are already being used.

“They actually integrate iPads into the final semester for the nursing students. This made sense to me since a lot of hospitals are integrating tablets and other computerized database programs at the patient bedside.

“I felt we needed to help train these students on how to use these devices before they went into this final semester,” Tanck said.

Although actual details about use of the labs, said Tanck, are still under discussion, part of the grant includes training for faculty, staff, and community resource personnel.

“We are currently working out the details for receiving these labs. Part of the grant opportunity includes training on how to use these devices,” Tanck said.

Training sessions in June, Tanck said, will be designed to help familiarize participants with the iPad technology.

“The plan is to offer a second opportunity around the end of July to discuss ways we can utilize the iPad in the classroom,” Tanck said.

First priority for training, Tanck said, will be reserved for the Miami County faculty and staff.

Tanck said they are excited to have the new labs and devices in their building and for utilization in their classrooms.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Baehr and Jewell-Roman Foundations and their trustees.

“It is also because of all the work you do for the college and for the members of our community that has led us to this success and future endeavor,” Tanck said about the college faculty and staff, as well as the community.

Before iPads can be placed in service, Tanck said, WIFI will have to be installed.

“This is something the college will be paying for. Unfortunately, we will not be able to afford WIFI in the entire building, so we had to choose a space that would benefit the most with WIFI,” Tanck said.

The community room, Tanck said, was chosen and will be where teachers can access WIFI.

“If a class like biology would like to implement an iPad application into their course work, they would go to the community room for this part of the class. This will be much like going to the computer lab when working on assignments.

“If we were able to get WIFI throughout the entire building, we would be able to move these devices anywhere. This is what I would like to eventually be able to do,” Tanck said.

Unlike the two rooms set up as computer labs on the Paola FSCC campus, the term, iPad lab, means something entirely different. The two labs the college will receive are actually two rolling carts able to store, charge, and sync up to 30 individual iPad devices.

Two additional classrooms, already completed at the FSCC Miami County campus, will make more room for science education. Funding for the rooms came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus.

The college paid about $20,000 to start the science lab, Tanck said, and the labs already have about $20,000 in donated equipment and supplies.

“But we still need about $50,000 to finish the lab off itself,” Tanck said.

Plans for the lab, Tanck said, include uses for teaching General Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Chemistry, and Physical Science.

“The laboratory is necessary for successfully running experiments for each of these labs. Currently, we offer lecture here and then do labs at the local high schools. Without a lab at this facility, students have to drive to another location. We are also limited to only offering labs at night.

“This is very difficult when our student demographics are more daytime students,” Tanck said


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Posted by admin on Jun 26 2012. Filed under News and Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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