“For the first time since kindergarten, I will have to learn how to go to class again.”
That is what Freed-Hardeman University prospective student Katie Scott said when she was told about iKnow 2.0, the initiative created by the university to shift the paradigm of traditional instruction at FHU.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, iKnow 2.0 will provide an iPad to every student who enrolls as a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University as well as every faculty member at the institution.
“We want our faculty, our staff, our university, to be at the forefront of technology,” says Mark Scott, vice president of technology and innovation “This program will continue to allow for that, while creating an atmosphere of shared knowledge and a higher education experience unlike any other.”
iKnow 2.0 will provide an iPad to all freshmen beginning with the fall 2012 cohort. In addition, FHU will establish minimum MacBook requirements for incoming freshmen. It is anticipated that continuing and transfer students will be provided an opportunity to opt in to the iKnow 2.0 program and receive an iPad for a one-time fee that is basically equivalent to the cost of the iPad.
The most exciting part of the program will be the ability to access textbooks via the iPad. Historically, students go to the university bookstore and spend hundreds of dollars per semester on books. Now, because of the iPad, students will have access to interactive digital textbooks that are not only more participatory, but significantly more affordable.
“We are not the most popular people with the bookstore staff right now,” says Mark Scott jokingly. “But they understand, as we do, that this is the future and we have to continue to progress, if we want to continue to provide the best Christian education possible.”
FHU has partnered with Inkling, a company working with publishers to provide interactive, engaging content on the iPad. Their goal, along with FHU, is not to reinvent the textbook or reinvent publishing, but to reinvent the way people learn on the campus of Freed-Hardeman University.
“When I visited the campus and met the team at FHU, it was clear to me that we had a forward-thinking technology partner to work with,” says Matt MacInnis, founder and CEO of Inkling. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the university’s technology revolution.”
“Once we saw a demo of Inkling, it was obvious how limited traditional textbooks had become and how limitless the digital textbooks seemed on the iPad. That is very exciting for us,” Scottr adds.
“Our books will no longer look like they used to,” says Katie Scott. “They will all be in one tablet, where we can write in them, make notes, see real videos, 3D models, and we get to keep them forever; it is going to be awesome.”
Additionally, the iPad will be provided to the faculty of Freed-Hardeman. They also recognize the importance of moving forward.
“Make no mistake, this is an academic initiative,” according to Dr. C. J. Vires, vice president of academics at Freed-Hardeman. “Academically, we are positioned well to move in this direction thanks to the myriad of faculty who have participated in several pilot projects and are already effectively using the iPad as an instructional tool within the classroom. In addition, our Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) has been working diligently to identify and disseminate information and training related to the iPad.
To further facilitate this transition academically, FHI is working on a strategy to provide iPads during the spring 2012 semester to those full-time teaching faculty who don’t already have one. Through the help of the advancement team, the university is raising funds to make this happen, Vires says.
“Also, CIT will host a number of events to highlight various instructional tools and strategies associated with the iPad,” he adds. “Finally, we will continue to work with companies like Inkling to identify digital textbooks that provide the richest content and dynamic experiences for our students. Through all of these efforts, students at FHU in the fall of 2012 will become more actively involved in the dynamic co-presentation and co-creation of classroom content and experiences.”
Freed-Hardeman University (http://www.fhu.edu/) is located in Henderson, Tennessee, and is a private institution associated with the churches of Christ.