As quick adopters of new technology, ECPI was swift to integrate Apple products in the school and within the classroom. It started in 2008 within months of the launch of the iPod Touch. The devices were part of a major purchase to build the Mac computer labs in ECPI campuses. The iPad Touches were distributed to every campus and were available for students to check out of the library.
Gerry White, an English instructor at the Virginia Beach campus, was eager to use the systems in his classroom. Hungry to learn and implement new technology, he began to look at code and how to go about creating an app (short for application which is software running on a computer, mobile device or other platform) to be used on the mini-computer to showcase ECPI and how it can be used to support curriculum in the classroom. Gerry used the iPod Touch in his lessons to discuss social networking, how to decipher the language of text messaging and students wrote papers to influence those who may not be willing to adopt that type of technology.
Apple’s most recent product launch was the iPad which is a beefed up version of the iPod Touch providing a larger screen, access to the internet and an endless of array of apps. Of course some of those apps were developed and offered by ECPI: ECPI Mobile, iECPI and ECPIHD.
The apps allow users to check and post grades, participate in classes, watch podcasts, communicate on ECPI’s social media networks, get directions or contact a campus. Students can engage in class discussions, chat with instructors or other students, and view lectures and demonstrations. In the second generation, iECPI, students can access current events and news and provide feedback for future app development.
Gerry was also quick to use the iPad in his classroom. Working with business instructor, Larry Brett, the two lead students through a business and English combination course for change management and advanced composition.
- Jeanette Scott changed her belief that she had to physically have a book and found the online books easier to search and use than a traditional book.
- Darrell Pancansky appreciated the portability. The iPad weighs 1.5 pounds which is a lighter load for students to carry.
- Students pick ECPI because they do not fit the traditional college model. In some cases students have family responsibilities and full-time jobs and the iPad fits into their hectic lives quite easily.
Currently, the iPads are being used in an electronics class in Virginia Beach and across ECPI campuses they are all in a pilot phase. While there is an initial up front cost, the long term cost of going paperless will eventually save money. It also offers a new level of interactivity that will be a bonus to lessons for a college built around technology.