(August 17, 2012)
iPads, interactive learning await Centenary philosophy students this fall
SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Ken Aizawa and Dr. Chris Ciocchetti have been busily setting up 65 iPads in a philosophy classroom to prepare for the return of Centenary's students. The iPads are part of a grant the professors received from the Board of Regents Undergraduate Enhancement Funds to enhance philosophy students' learning through interactive and active means. Centenary's Philosophy Department is among the first significant deployments of iPads in the Ark-La-Tex region and in all of United States academic philosophy.
Dr. Ciocchetti demonstrates the iPad on new LCD screen
"Although it is still too early to tell what impact this will ultimately have, it is clear that tablets, like the iPad, have the potential to be what personal computers have been to earlier generations," said Aizawa. "We will be moving to essentially paperless classes. Papers will be submitted and graded electronically. Readings will be available—at lower cost—in electronic formats that can easily be annotated and linked to definitions and Wikipedia entries."
The push for this grant was in large part due to Centenary's focus on putting learning into action. Philosophy students will engage in peer-to-peer interaction through the video recording and editing capabilities of the iPad and participate in more collaborative projects. Students will also have the ability to connect their learning across disciplines in class and during service learning projects.
"We're incorporating technology that complements Centenary's strong teacher-student relationships," said Ciocchetti. "We're using iPads to open up the classroom. Each student has access to more information than any of us can process at every moment of class. We are bringing the Internet into the classroom so we can practice being savvy, educated citizens in today's world right in our classroom."
The professors also purchased Mac mini computers, various Apple apps, and an LCD television to increase collaboration in the classroom. A new wireless access point was installed to counteract any overload from the 65 iPads running at once.
The Philosophy Department brings the intellectual skills and rigor of the philosophic tradition to students through its introductory courses, history of philosophy courses, and courses specifically designed to address the philosophical dimensions of art, politics, religion, and science.