Sept. 20, 2010
Elizabeth Klipp, 404-413-1356
ATLANTA – On a recent Tuesday morning, students in the “Culture and Society” Freshmen Learning Community had a moment similar what to guests on “The Oprah Show” might experience.
Each of the 25 freshmen received a brand-new Apple iPad as part of a GSU technology and mobile learning pilot program meant to improve the educational experience of first-year students.
“This is pretty cool,” said GSU freshman Paul Bae as he checked out his iPad. “I think this will help me become more technologically savvy and get a better perspective on technology in our culture.”
The program integrates the latest technology into 17 of Georgia State’s Freshmen Learning Communities – eight groups received Apple iPads and nine communities were given Flip Video Camcorders.
Freshmen Learning Communities, or FLCs, are groups of 25 first-year students taking five core courses together that are based on a common theme.
The iPads and Flip cameras are personal, mobile devices that the 400 freshmen can take with them wherever they go, allowing them to take advantage of learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.
“Our goal with the project is to find new and innovative ways to improve the learning experience for our first-year students,” said Julian Allen, director of professional services in the Division of Information Systems and Technologies.
“Using these devices, students can create a record of their learning and share their experiences with others.”
Georgia State’s Division of Information Systems and Technologies (IS&T) worked with the University Administration and Enrollment Services to secure funding for the purchase of the Flip cameras, iPads and applications. IS&T is also providing instructional design and technical staffing to assist faculty and students enhancing in the student learning experience, Allen said.
Students will be using applications on the iPads to develop skills in organization, time management, note taking, grammar and making presentations. The Flip cameras will provide students an opportunity to create video journals or chronicle their experiences around Georgia State.
“I think it’s going to open them up to a world of possibilities of how to use technology in their education,” said Nia Haydel, academic professional for FLCs in Enrollment Services. “It pushes professors to be innovative and allows students to express themselves.”
This fall, Georgia State has about 1,470 first-year students enrolled in 63 Freshmen Learning Communities, a program that began in 1999 with 11 communities. In 2010, and for the eighth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report listed Georgia State’s FLC program among the “outstanding examples of academic programs that are believed to lead to student success.”
Students are encouraged to use the iPads and Flip cameras to their fullest extent this semester, but they will be required to return the devices on the last day of classes. The devices will then be wiped cleaned and distributed to next semester’s selected FLCs.
Program organizers say these tech tools will improve student learning and the overall undergraduate experience.
“We want to engage this generation in new technology,” said Joseph Horne, educational technology manager in instructional design in IS&T. “We want to show students that Georgia State is an innovative learning environment.”