Apple iPad Pilot is Connecting and Transforming the Classroom

Apple iPad Pilot is Connecting and Transforming the Classroom

By Llynne C. Kiernan, DNP, MSN, RN-BC and Lorraine B. Pitcher, MSN, RN

When Aron Temkin, dean of the professional schools at Norwich, notified university faculty in February 2016 of a pilot program opportunity using Apple iPads in the classroom, the faculty in the School of Nursing eagerly accepted the invitation to be part of the initiative.

Using innovative and current technology has long appealed to the faculty of the School of Nursing at Norwich, where developing educational strategies for nursing students occurs in a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory. Some of the instructional strategies used by the faculty include 3-G high fidelity simulation, low-fidelity simulation using Vital SimPads, and electronic medical record technology.

With input from the deans of the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) and College of Science and Mathematics (CoSM), it was proposed that the iPad initiative would be implemented with sophomore students in three majors: Psychology in CoLA, Sports Medicine in CoSM, and Nursing in CoPS.

The purpose of the initiative, started in the fall semester, is to examine and explore the viability and instructional value of using iPads in the classroom. Together, faculty and students are working to identify instructional and educational opportunities that exist when using an iPad as a common learning platform. Training sessions and comprehensive workshops occur monthly, encouraging faculty and students to improve collaboration and communication to meet educational program outcomes.

The nursing  faculty have been exploring using the iPads to develop and present classroom presentations in Keynote, the Apple equivalent to Microsoft Powerpoint. Combined with eBooks, this app allows effortless export of presentations. Keynote is also media-based and offers easy sound, image, and video integration. Notetaking apps have allowed in-class highlighting of content. School of Nursing faculty are able to use the Airdrop feature to seamlessly share content with iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Additionally, students are encouraged to engage in active learning by using AirPlay capability.

Another useful tool has been Explain Everything, a whiteboard tool with real-time collaboration that lets you animate, record, annotate, and explore ideas within homework assignments as well as in the classroom. It is a tool that teachers and students are using to share thinking, reflect upon knowledge-building and processes of learning. Faculty members are actively engaged in increasing their understanding of how best to use these products in their courses, classrooms, and clinical settings.

Looking ahead, School of Nursing faculty are working with Apple nursing curriculum specialists to develop courses and lesson plans that will incorporate clinical support tools, health care related apps, and direct, quick access to evidence-based information and data. Students and faculty are excited to move this project forward, and together hope to use these tools to energize and transform their learning environment.