Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's the Outcomes that Matter

Our iPad project at Pepperdine University has recently received some attention in Pepperdine Magazine and The Graphic. In previous writings, I suggested that handing out technology merely for the sake of adopting the latest technology was not necessarily the right attitude towards adopting new technological advances. It’s the outcomes that matter.

What distinguishes our work with the iPad here at Pepperdine?

A few things:

First, our faculty members are driving the project. Our goal is to provide faculty members with the tools and support they need; we then sit back and observe where they and their students go with the technology. In doing so, we focus more on how the technology is best used in learning and less on how technologists think the technology can or should be used.

Second, our focus is on outcomes. Our eventual goal is to run an experiment where the use of the iPad is an independent variable and the learning outcomes articulated for different courses are the dependent variables. We hope to accomplish this by using identical sections of a course taught by one faculty member. One section is the control group and the other is the experimental group. Students in the experimental group are provided an iPad and software for use in their coursework. The research question is: how does the iPad positively or negatively impact learning outcomes? By focusing on outcomes, we hope to achieve a more precise determination of the impact of the technology on our central mission – educating students – and to develop a set of best practices that can guide broader adoption of this technology.

You can read more about our iPad initiative here.

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