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MNU Launches iPads For Students In 12 Major Areas of Study

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byCarol Best

Another investment in the student experience happened today in MNU’s first large-scale iPad Pro launch to students in science, math, health science and humanities majors. The goal is to put access to research and technology tools in the students’ hands wherever they go and enhance options for learning in the classroom. Essentially, the use of this technology changes learning and teaching simultaneously, according to program leadership.

Dr. Nancy Damron, vice president for academic affairs, said the move is all about change, innovation and growth for students.

“Every single day at MNU is about your future,” Damron said to students gathered to receive their iPads. “With this launch, we are working to provide opportunities to learn, anywhere—on the athletic field, in the residence halls or the classroom—wherever you are.”
Dr. Nancy Damron

Damron told students the goal is to position them to enter their future powerfully, armed with knowledge in their field and the technology to succeed in whatever future they choose.

Students and professors will immediately start using technology-enabled apps and interactive learning activities in their major-specific classes.

“This shifts the way we learn and share information,” Damron added.

Damron continued by asking students to imagine biology classes with digital human figures for dissection or new ways to assess human athletic performance in kinesiology classes. These types of activities can be embedded in students’ classes now.

The initiative will not be without its challenges, though.

“We will use this semester to experiment and refine best practices,” Damron told the students. “We will celebrate failures and learn from them. Faculty and students will walk through this together.”

Cole Bird is a senior biology/chemistry major from Pickering, Missouri. He uses an iPad for his job in the science department helping professors grade assignments. He anticipates that this initiative will enhance the classroom experience for everyone.

“It’s really exciting that everyone will have iPads and we can do things together in class,” Bird said. “I’m looking forward to the ways it will make the classroom even more engaging and fun.”

Bird plans to attend medical school upon graduation and will likely encounter augmented reality in his education there. As technology develops, students in all areas will benefit from participating in classes with these advances, positioning them for a strong future in graduate school or the workplace.

To that end, MNU spent the last two years piloting iPads in music and kinesiology major coursework. Dr. Luke Johnson’s students in music theory used the technology to chart music notes in real-time and share them. Johnson could see on his iPad how students were progressing and instruct as needed. The sessions became more interactive than previously when students simply watched someone chart notes on a whiteboard.

Johnson, Chris Crawford and Lon Dagley are all faculty members who serve as lead technology fellows for the initiative. Johnson and Crawford spearhead professional development for faculty who will implement iPad use in the classroom. Dagley is the primary contact for student support. He and two student tech assistants will help users who need technical help on the tablets.

The iPad Pro students received today is the latest model from Apple and included a keyboard and digital pen. Students in English, Music, Theatre, Graphic Design, Kinesiology, Biology, Chem, Physical Education, Math, Physics, Math Education and Computer Science majors are included in the program now. MNU will provide iPads to new students each semester in the above programs.

Students were encouraged to take selfies with their new iPads and post the hashtag #iPadmeMNU.

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