Fall 2012 |
iPads in the classroom
“MCC is one of the only places in the United States where I could teach to the level of my experience in industry and stay current with evolving technology,” said Richard L. Hart, architectural design technology instructor. “Four-year colleges and universities don’t allow this. MCC has state-of-the-art computers and software that are sometimes 5–10 years ahead of industry.”
That is a powerful statement that speaks of the quality of education students receive at MCC.
Most of Hart’s students are registered professionals in the architectural field. They have somewhere between a master’s and a Ph.D. and are attending MCC to learn the new technologies to improve their effectiveness and ability to compete in the industry.
“IPads are a portable, simple tool. They’re intuitive,” said Hart. “What we are doing with the iPad is acclimating students to a tool that replaces pencils and paper in all kinds of applications in construction and architecture and visual communication in general. It’s an instrument that allows your brain to move your hand to convey these images without going through all the programming.”
Example assignment: Draw a picture of a person on paper using a soft-lead pencil on a 2.5” x 4” sketchpad. Then draw the same picture on the iPad using the soft-lead pencil tool and instruct the iPad to use a line that will be similar to the hand-drawn pieces.
Goal: Demystify the magic of computers and the complexity of the technology and boil it down to being a tool just like a pencil.
“Most students have some sort of mobile device, so it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the potential of these tools to enhance delivery of the curriculum in a way that matches typical industry operating procedures,” said Hart.
Even in a traditional course like art history, instructor Susan Healy is using the iPad to facilitate time better and provide the opportunity to study a variety of different things.
“IPads give students instant access to research and the ability to really scrutinize sources because they can compare different sources side-by-side in the short amount of time they have in class,” said Healy. “The tool also allows students to leave the classroom and document what they’re doing.”
During a recent student trip to Fontenelle Forest, students took pictures and videos with their iPads, made notes and labels, then immediately uploaded the information to the class blog.
“The nature of business is changing so rapidly, and students have to be able to adapt to that change and make use of what the latest technology is,” said Healy.
“I am proud to teach at MCC because the College is willing to stay current with technology and not brush it off as a passing trend.”
Peter Landmark, EMT paramedic instructor, is having students use iPads both in class and during their clinical rotations. “The iPads are great for patient care documentation. By teaching students while they’re still in training, it is one less thing for them to have to learn when they go out into the environment,” said Landmark.
The iPad allows paramedics the ability to access old hospital records while at a patient’s home or at the scene of an issue. “It creates a real ease of use and continuity, and the iPads are a very secure system to do this,” he said. “Putting this kind of technology in the hands of students is important because employers expect their employees to have a level of comfort with devices like this and the ability to interface with it quickly and effectively.”
Part of a student’s EMT training at MCC includes acting as a team-leading paramedic—making patient care decisions for more than 50 patients. “One of the best uses of the iPad would be for documenting injuries, taking pictures, making notes, filming a scene of a car accident, etc. It gives hospitals a visual idea of what happened rather than relying on the verbal description from the paramedic,” said Landmark.
“Paramedics can also document the patient’s vitals, where the injuries are, what treatments have already been provided, etc., and those go wirelessly to the hospital system and are ready to be pulled up by hospital staff when the patient gets wheeled through the door,” said Landmark. “It makes things a lot faster and more efficient, and it gives the hospital staff more information than in the past to begin planning for treatment.”