January Technology 2018

mobile_learningBellarmine is a one-to-one school. This means that every student and teacher has an iPad to enhance opportunities for teaching and learning.

Why One-To-One: A rigorous liberal arts education in the 21st century includes competence with information technology. We want students to develop the wisdom, ethics, self discipline and skills required for using technology in productive and beneficial ways. We believe students need our guidance and support to achieve these goals. One-to-one mobile technology empowers students and teachers with devices that are light-weight, accessible, fast, reliable and easy-to-use.  Additionally, this technology is easy to use at home.

Family Ownership: At Bellarmine, families buy and own the iPads used by students.

Educational Program: Bellarmine's one-to-one program strengthens the education we are providing in the following ways.
  • Amplified Learning: Digital tools and materials offer new ways to teach, learn and create.
  • Equity: Bellarmine uses mobile technology to  provide equal access to the best learning tools and resources to all our students.
  • Curriculum Modernization: New materials available online and through interactive digital text books are more current and more engaging. Our curriculum can be enhanced by including the 21 Century skills colleges and businesses desire.
  • Community Building: The opportunities to collaborate using technology support learning anytime, anywhere, with anyone.
  1. One Platform: When teachers, students and technology staff have the opportunity to work will similar hardware and software, technology use is easier. Apple offers a consistent software environment across almost all their tablets and phones.
  2. User Friendly: People of all ages successfully use an Apple iPhone and appreciate it's user-friendly, touch interface. The Apple iPad uses the same intuitive interface that's used for the iPhone. The iPad's easy and often familiar user interface ensures less time is spent learning about technology leaving more time to be spent using technology to learn.
  3. Wireless Presentation: The iPad can quickly connect to classroom projectors using AirPlay technology. This allows teachers and students to easily demonstrate concepts and present work.
  4. Document Production: The iPad can connect to a BluTooth keyboard and the three major document production environments; Apple iCloud, Google Apps and Microsoft's Office 365. Using these leading mobile software and cloud storage options, student can produce the written work their teachers expect.
  5. Personal Information Management: The iPad has an effective suite of integrated tools for managing assignments, due dates, contacts, emails and appointments.
  6. Multimedia Creation: The iPad makes easy work of photo editing, music composition and video production. These capabilities open up new creative opportunities for students to express ideas, develop aesthetics sensibilities and explore a critical understanding of media.
  7. Network Management Tools: When 900 iPads are on our school network on any given school day, it's important to have access to network tools that assist with the inventory, configuration and management of those devices. The quality of the network management tools and data recovery options available for iPads makes them easy to support in large numbers.

Because there are thousands of apps available on the iPad, many of them free, we use a committee evaluation process to choose the best apps to complement our educational program. In addition to the apps from Apple Inc. that come with every iPad, the school has adopted another 30-40 apps for use at school. These apps are made available for download on each student's iPad using our implementation of the Meraki mobile device management system.

In our summer iPad Orientation, freshmen are shown how to download these apps. Some of these apps are not free. Bellarmine is a member of the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP). By enrolling our freshmen in the VPP, Bellarmine can buy licenses for the apps our students use. These licenses are loaned to our freshmen students. When our students graduate, Bellarmine revokes those licenses to use with the next freshmen class. This allows Bellarmine to cover the cost of the apps students need.

Affordable Digital Content: Apple offered the world a new model for distributing music through iTunes that has proven to reduce piracy while being profitable for artists and affordable to consumers. This same approach is being taken with digital textbooks. These iBooks are more affordable, shareable with family members, always up-to-date and rich with compelling multimedia content.

An Abundance Of Resources: The iPad can display a variety of digital books. For example, the same books you can read on you Amazon Kindle can be read on an iPad using the Kindle app. In the past, most of the content in a course came from a text book. Once a school adopted a book, that book tended to define the curriculum. There is an incredible abundance of quality content available on the Internet. Teachers and students have unprecedented access to this content, and to tools for communicating with one another. Increasingly, our courses  sample from a diverse curation of content that supplement or supplant text books. Our teachers will sometimes involve students in the process of curating this information. We teach our students how to cite and evaluate the the often messy, incomplete and biased information they will encounter in the real world.

Digital Book Adoption: Each academic department reviews the digital text books available to them and adopts a digital book when its determined that this text offers the best resources for supporting a course. In many cases, these books can also be published on paper for those families who prefer a paper book. In some of our courses, digital books have not been adopted. In some of our courses, the digital version is required, because it can support learning in ways the paper book can not. For more information about the digital books we use, you can click here.