In this digital age computers, laptops and tablets have become a common sight on college campuses around the nation. However, not every college and university supplies their students with one of these devices.
At Belmont College, they do.
Through a new college-wide initiative, Belmont College has been encouraging their students to ‘Be Connected’ by providing an Apple iPad to every student and faculty, and the majority of staff members for integration into each facet of campus life from enrollment to graduation.
The purpose of BeConnected is to encourage completion and retention, as well as to enhance the way Belmont College teaches and prepares students for the technology-driven careers that await them. The initiative also supports the college’s sustainability program, as it is helping to greatly reduce the need/cost for books, printing and paper supplies.
“The main focus of the BeConnected initiative is to put the proper technology into the hands of our students while remaining accessible and affordable at the same time,” said Dr. Paul F. Gasparro, Belmont College President. “We hope that this initiative will bring a whole new level of knowledge and experience for our students. iPads not only keep information organized and available, but they also enable interactive and engaged learning experiences, as well as make learning accessible from any location, at any time.”
An important benefit of an iPad is the mobility and versatility of the device; students have the ability to use their iPad anywhere on campus, in the classroom, during internships, and in the field, providing them endless ways to learn new concepts and express their creativity. iPads are powerful educational tools that can run over 80,000 education apps from word processing to note taking — apps designed especially for iPad — that cover a wide range of subjects and needs for every grade level and learning style.
Additionally, iPads offer a much higher degree of portability for students on the go – a fact that students with a backpack full of books can appreciate.
“Throwing technology at programs for the sake of technology alone never works,” President Gasparro added. “This BeConnected initiative is a well-developed plan that incorporates right-sized mobile technology into every corner of the college and uses iPad to leverage our already solid academic degrees and technical training.”
President Gasparro went on to say, “We believe that in order to maximize our technology-based programs, access must be universal for all students and faculty. We are, at the heart, still a technical college, and this initiative is an ideal fit for our institution and our students.”
The college provides iPad training sessions for students, as well as professional development sessions for faculty and staff to provide on-going instruction to help them remain effective and diligent in supporting the initiative well into the future.
According to Dave Mertz, Building Preservation/Restoration Program Chair, “BeConnected demonstrates the progressive nature of the faculty and staff at Belmont College. Using technology such as iPads in the classroom is about student engagement; it’s about students being a part of the learning process instead of just being recipients of information.”
“This initiative has changed the way our students are educated,” said Sue White, Director of Nursing. “Specifically for nursing students, this development affects not only the way content is delivered in the classroom, but also in simulation and clinical settings. The use of iPads in the classroom now facilitates how students and faculty generate content, collaborate, stay connected, and communicate both online and within the physical space of a classroom. It is our hope that BeConnected will continue to help improve learning outcomes and, ultimately, allow our students to be prepared as better nurses.”
The college began implementation of the BeConnected initiative during the Fall 2015 Semester. Students are permitted to utilize their iPad provided they are enrolled in classes and show progression towards program completion.