After months of speculation, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, publicly announced his newest creation: the iPad.
The Jan. 27 announcement left many questions unanswered and many people disappointed. However, ACU’s Mobile Learning Leadership Team decided to look into the possibility of incorporating this new gadget into the Mobile Learning Initiative. They could have rushed the project and pushed to get enough iPads for every freshman next year, but they didn’t – and that’s a good thing.
George Saltsman, executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning and part of the Mobile Learning Leadership Team, assured us the team would do the research to make sure it would be a worthwhile venture before it ever made such an important decision.
Last week, faculty members were invited to a lunch presentation about how to get involved with research for the iPad, specifically as an e-book reader and educational tool. Faculty were invited to submit to the Mobile Learning Leadership Team ideas for iPad implementation. The faculty members with the best proposals, as determined by the Mobile Learning Leadership Team and the research committee, will receive an iPad and the resources to test their proposal. Saltsman said the team will take faculty feedback into consideration when deciding whether the iPad, or any digital reader, for that matter, could be useful at ACU. This strategy will ensure students have the best tools available, not just the newest, shiniest ones.
Saltsman also said the team has no intentions of quitting the current Mobile Learning Initiative; he said they are very proud of how far it has come.
When ACU decided to try mobile learning, they didn’t jump in blindly. They did faculty and student research and made sure the devices had positive and innovative uses before handing them out. This planned strategy didn’t waste students’ time or money.
The Mobile Learning Initiative is always changing, and new ideas are always being discussed, but because they waited until they were prepared, the program has been successful and is known around the world for its innovation and creative implementation.
The Mobile Learning Leadership Team has said it is excited about the possibilities the iPad might hold, but it is more concerned with the undergraduate iPhone and iPod touch saturation happening next semester.
We commend the Mobile Learning Leadership Team for recognizing new technology while remaining focused on maintaining and expanding the Mobile Learning Initiative in which they have already invested so much time and money.
While the iPad may be the hot new gadget, there is much left to be uncovered before anyone can say it should be used at ACU. The Mobile Learning Leadership Team recognizes this, and it is making the right decision to wait.