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Education

University Uses iPads To Customize Learning

Posted: 12/18/2013

Student using iPad to study
A growing number of institutions see tablet computers as a technology that can make it easier for individuals to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

(NAPSI)—Learning has gone mobile, and the students at Jackson State University (JSU) are reaping the benefits. Through the iPad Technology Advantage Scholarship Initiative (TASI), incoming full-time freshmen at JSU are each provided with the latest-generation iPad. And what do the students do with these iPads? Some pretty amazing things.

In addition to having 24/7 access to textbooks online in the form of eBooks or iBooks, students have dozens of apps that enable them to take class notes, collaborate on content, communicate via Skype, tap into resources like math reference formulas or periodic tables, learn a foreign language online, access world maps at a touch, read or listen to thousands of other books or audiobooks, use their iPad as a graphing calculator and much more. ESE Apps are also included, with references for American Sign Language and text to speech conversion. (See a full list of current apps at www.jsums.edu/ait/ipad/docs/Apps%20Table.pdf.)

AirWatch and Safeware software are included on each device. And synchronized cloud storage ensures the students’ work is always available.

Students & Faculty Seeing Benefits

Students are reporting that they are already benefiting from the technology. Michael Gordon, an 18-year-old JSU student, says the iPad helped him stay organized and created a more interesting learning environment during his first semester. “In my biology class, all our notes and presentations were online; we could go straight to it and follow the teacher,” said Gordon. He also uses his iPad to take notes, study for tests, and even to host meetings for group projects and study sessions. Students receive training on how to use the technology to its full advantage. The e-Center also has the ability to track devices in the event they are lost or stolen.

JSU professors have bought into the iPad initiative, and more than 30 have already authored textbooks for college courses. Other course materials are under development. Faculty members are attending classes on how to use the iPads to enhance student learning, and their excitement level is tangible. “Mobile technology is growing by leaps and bounds,” says Robert Blaine, Special Assistant to the Provost for CyberLearning. “These changes in technology are having a fundamental impact on how we, as a society, interact with the world. It makes sense that universities should lead the way in terms of changing how we teach students so they will truly be prepared to go out into the world and compete. It is a very exciting time to be an educator at JSU.”

An Experiment In Learning

The initiative is the result of a two-year study that reviewed learning styles and instructional techniques, among other variables. The TASI project is a partnership between JSU, the Mississippi e-Center@JSU, and Apple. According to Dr. William McHenry, Executive Director of the e-Center, Apple has confirmed this is the largest initiative of its kind in the country at a public university and the first of its kind in Mississippi. “We want our students to be successful when they leave JSU,” says Dr. McHenry. “We firmly believe, based on our research to date, that this substantial investment will pay off in the quality of education our students receive. They will ultimately be better prepared to become future leaders in a world where communication and information sharing drive solutions.”

To learn more, visit the website at www.jsums.edu.


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