By Justine Von Arb, Staff Writer
The School of Music’s iPad initiative was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program Jan. 19, two and a half years after its debut.
The iLearn@Olivet program was launched in the fall of 2013. The Distinguished Program status requires an application in the form of an iBook, combining both visual elements and content to prove a program’s attainment of Apple’s Five Best Practices: visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, and a flexible learning environment.
Two representatives from Apple, Joel Davies, the development executive for Apple Education, and Jason Beckham, the account executive for Apple Education, presented the award, a plaque delivered in a big white box, to Dr. Bowling.
Davies acknowledged that, when he first began working with Olivet to launch the iPad initiative, he had a “suspicion that something really special was brewing.” Beckham echoed his sentiments, citing the School of Music’s “collaborative and innovative spirit” as a significant reason for such a successful launch.
The collaboration and innovation of the faculty, staff, and students involved in the iPad initiative are two of the core values of Vision 2022, Olivet’s strategic plan delivered in the State of the University address in March 2014. Dr. John Bowling, the University President, said that the iPad initiative and the subsequent recognition is “one hallmark of the changing face of Olivet.”
Reddick agreed, further noting that more and more students who visit Olivet’s School of Music have had previous academic experience with an iPad. The initiative allows prospective students to “continue pedagogy that has already been developed,” Reddick said.
“The initial learning curve is well worth the end result,” Reddick said, but the School of Music’s work isn’t finished yet. In the coming years, the School of Music aims to refine the processes involved with the initiative. Furthermore, Reddick said, the School hopes to move to an even more “technology-based delivery system,” including the possibility of flipped classrooms and online courses.
As the iLearn@Olivet program spreads across campus, Reddick offered encouragement to other departments and schools, such as the Department of Art and Digital Media, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Professor Lance Kilpatrick confirmed that the School of Education is following in the School of Music’s footsteps by pursuing recognition as an Apple Distinguished Program.
Neither the initiative nor the recognition, however, was a solitary effort. Reddick thanked the university leadership, music faculty and students for their efforts in “making the initiative an actual program.”