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iPad Pilots at U Houston and CDI College Take Off

iPad pilots are permeating higher education. Two of the latest announcements involve institutions in Texas and Canada, both of which are running tests projects that put the Apple tablet devices into the hands of their students.

At CDI College, a career college with several locations in Canada, both nursing and business students have been equipped with iPads that hold electronic course textbooks and a suite of educational Web-based instructional portals. In a statement the college explained that it targeted those students for the initiative especially because the program will help them develop their skills for using technology in the workplace.

"The iPads have WiFi capabilities that allow learners to study, take e-notes, and review course materials not only in the classroom and on campus, but anywhere, any time," said Bohdan Bilan, vice president of academics. "As a result, students will become comfortable and familiar with technology as a tool for education and healthcare services."

Bilan said he expected success of the iPad pilot program will eventually spread to other CDI campuses.

At the University of Houston a joint project between the School of Communication and the Education Technology and University Outreach organization will research the impact of "anytime, anywhere" learning over the final eight weeks of the current semester. A team of professors has created an iPad application for an Information and Communication Technologies course with 30 students. COMM 3353 iApp, which will be used in an elective class in the journalism program, contains learning modules with video lectures, textbook material, presentations, tutorials, and simulations.

"Today's students have vast amounts of information at their fingertips, and that's a trend we want to leverage when introducing concepts in the classroom," said Shawn McCombs, an instructor in the course and a member of the pilot program research team. "We're incredibly fortunate to spearhead this program and examine the impact of on-demand studying."

The iPad app was built specifically for the pilot program. The goal of the experiment is to obtain feedback for the university's M-Learning program, which focuses on helping faculty integrate mobile technologies into their curriculum. The survey will examine how the students use the devices throughout the last half of the semester, including what impact usage has on class attendance and study practices. Additionally, researchers indicated they're also interested in exploring how the iPad touchscreen interaction influences the learning process.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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