For the majority of this course, I feel like whenever questions came up about the use of technology in classes (or lack of technology in classes) we’ve brought up teacher training. It turns out Maryville University in MO decided to provide extensive training to their faculty on iPads and the results have been pretty interesting.
Maryville unrolled their iPad plan in 2015. They began with a smaller group of faculty and trained them on the iPads for use in their classrooms. Today, all of their 500+ professors, some adjuncts, and some staff have iPads provided by the institution. The institution offers intensive in-person instruction. They offer 90-minute training sessions every other week for a full semester. They also lengthened all faculty contracts by two weeks per academic year (costing them $476,000) for professional development. The majority of that PD centers around the iPads. They also offer a week in the spring where there are faculty-led on-campus conferences where the professors can share their experiences and learn about apps and best practices and create content. Overall, the university spent over $2 million on the technology and over $4 million for more bandwidth for the institution.
So, what did all of this iPad training get them? Well, their retention of freshmen and sophomores has topped 88%. Their retention was in the mid 80s when they implemented the iPad program. Total enrollment has increased. 52% of students said that the program was a major decision factor in their university choice.
One instructor taught 2 sections of the same course and only used the iPads for one of the sections. He said 81% of all students using the iPads said that the technology contributed “somewhat” or “a lot” to their learning experience. Grades for students in iPad-enhanced section were 9% higher than those in the other section.
So, I guess we’ll give that point to technology. While we’ve definitely established some of the evils, I think it’s safe to say that Maryville’s program and the results they’ve achieved definitely shows that technology can enhance the learning experience and be a major benefit for institutions.