An apple for a teacher is taking on a whole new meaning as new iPad technology is sweeping its way into some college classrooms.
The Idaho State University College of Arts and Letters is the first department on campus to implement 180 new iPads into its classrooms, with the hopes of bettering the efficiency of education.
The college dean Dr. Kandi Turley-Ames said, although a number of other universities and K-12 schools across the nation have also started implementing iPads into classroom learning, this is the first department to do so with a scientific approach.
Turley-Ames said she hopes in the future she can expand this program to the rest of the departments across the campus. And with the iPad system now allowing professors to administer exams to other satellite sites such as the Twin Falls and Idaho Falls campuses, that's just a start to that expansion.
"I set this up like an experiment so I have been tracking which classes it works in, which classes it doesn't work in, if it works better at the graduate or undergraduate level, etc," Turley-Ames said.
After the program has made its way into classrooms after less than one year, she has already collected enough data to determine how effective the initiative is working so far for both students and teachers.
Although the initiative, which is still in its pilot stage, drew some criticism at first among both staff and students who weren't familiar with the technology, Turley-Ames said she is already seeing significant percentage increases with not only the students' technological skills, but in basic reading, writing, comprehensive and critical thinking skills as well.
"What we are seeing, is that (the students') writing improves three times as fast as a function in doing it in real-time, rather than turning it in and getting feedback weeks later that may not change how a student writes," Turley-Ames said in regards to the writing classes who use iPads to write their assignments and essays in a real-time format so the teacher can correct them as they go along.
Turley-Ames said she hopes to soon see the program expand to other departments across campus. But, with the iPad initiative allowing professors to administer exams to students attending satellite classrooms (such as, in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls or Meridian), the idea of that expansion might be closer than we think.