The article below was submitted by Joel Coehoorn, Director, Information Technology, York College
York College is a private four-year liberal arts college located in York, Nebraska with full time enrollment of just under 500 undergraduate students.
As the director of Information Technology, my goal is to enable the college to provide technological leadership for our students. One way to do that is by helping faculty keep up with and exceed the high expectations of our students for use of classroom technology.
To help accomplish this goal, we issued an iPad to all our full-time employees teaching at least two courses. We evaluated several tablet devices and we chose iPads because at the time the iPad was far and away the best device available. Today I would say that the functional gap has narrowed, but the iPad is still the unquestioned tablet leader.
To succeed as a faculty tool, it’s not enough for instructors to use tablets for grading or email, behind closed doors. We need Professors using them in the classroom for instructional purposes. This imposes a radical change in educational practice of many faculty members. To complicate matters, a large number of our faculty use PowerPoint for presenting in the classroom.
SlideShark really helps us meet this goal, as it not only shows PowerPoint slides perfectly, but through its additional features it also helps our faculty be better presenting their existing lectures than they could even with a traditional PC.
The SlideShark presenter mode is especially helpful to them. The ability to see the next slide or any other slide while presenting helps them be more fluid when transitioning between sections of their content. They are also really excited about the ability to see presenter notes, viewable to them but not their audience. SlideShark takes these often-overlooked core features of PowerPoint and makes them obvious and invaluable.
SlideShark enables our faculty to become comfortable using iPads in the classroom as instructional tools. With SlideShark, they aren’t afraid of this new technology. They can walk out in front of a class carrying an iPad and rely on and use that iPad for presenting to the students during instructional periods in class.
An additional outcome we are hoping for from the iPad project, of which SlideShark is a key part, is to help bridge the technological generation gap between our instructors and students. Instructors are now more comfortable using iPads as every day devices. Using iPads and SlideShark has helped them understand how their students rely on technology and can make use of tools like their smartphone in the classroom for activities relevant to the current instruction - not just for texting their friends.
SlideShark provides credibility for using iPads as instructional tools, helps our instructors do their jobs better, and truly makes them technology leaders in their classrooms.