About a decade ago, the University of Notre Dame investigated the idea of expanding technology use in the classroom. In an article written for the November 2010 issue of Scholastic, Caitlin Wilson summarized a project management class where students were lent an iPad for their convenience.
This was part of the university’s effort to study electronic publishing and the use of technology in the classroom. Students in the class also had the opportunity to provide some feedback regarding their experience. Assistant Professor Corey Angst, who taught the class, noted that “the students were very receptive to the new technology.”
Ultimately, most students found the iPad useful for learning purposes. For example, they could access textbooks digitally and take notes and quizzes efficiently. Furthermore, instructors could save time by distributing class materials electronically. In the end, this “iPad class” led the way for incorporating technology into the classroom environment at Notre Dame as a whole.
Paul Turner, the manager of academic technologies in the Office of Information Technologies (OIT), expressed that although “classrooms are an important learning space, they are not the [only] learning space.” In other words, a student should still be able to learn in various places on campus that are outside of the classroom, ranging from hallways to pleasant outdoor spaces. The iPad allows for such flexibility. Thus, the Academic Technologies Team under OIT had been working hard to promote technology use inside and outside of classrooms on campus.
Now, in the era of COVID-19, some students have found themselves having to attend class from their dorm rooms or isolation quarters over Zoom. Lucky for them, the university is well-prepared for students to learn and communicate with their instructors remotely, and it may partially be due to an initiative to expand technology use from ten years ago.
Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.