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Olivet at forefront of music education technology with new iPad initiative

Posted: Sep 09, 2013

2013-09-09iPadBand

iPad is the best technology available for transforming the teaching and learning experience at Olivet.

Olivet’s Department of Music announces the iLearn@Olivet initiative which provides an iPad to every student involved in the music program at Olivet. The initiative is the first distribution of the iPad in the University’s history and one of the first iPad deployments in the country designed specifically to empower young musicians and transform music education.

iPad content and usage is tailored for Olivet’s Department of Music needs as iPad will be used for all band, orchestra, choral and instrumental ensemble music scores, ebooks, note-taking and email. Right at the students’ fingertips will be countless thoughtful and innovative applications of the technology, including field formation diagraming, vocal coaching, and recording apps and solutions. In some instances, students won’t even need to lift a finger as the department will also be purchasing 50 AirTurn Bluetooth page turning devices to be used with iPad, which will allow instrumentalists to turn the pages of their music wirelessly with the use of a foot pedal.

At the beginning of the 2013–2014 academic year, in the first phase of this initiative, nearly 500 music students, staff and faculty have received or will receive their devices. Students have purchased their devices at a discounted price through the University, as part of their tuition and fees.

On hand for the initial distribution were Dennis Seymour '82, director of information technology, and 23 of his staff members. They were available to help with the setup of the devices and troubleshooting as the students familiarized themselves with the applications and capabilities of iPad.



Setting the pace for music education

“Working with Olivet’s information technology staff to implement this initiative, we had three goals in mind,” said Dr. Don Reddick ’79, department chair. “We want to improve the quality of the education process for our students and faculty; reduce the cost of college expenses; and equip our students with the skills they need for current technology trends in education and the workplace.”

Together, they determined that iPad is the best technology available for transforming the teaching and learning experience. Getting iPad into the hands of the department’s faculty, staff and students will fundamentally transform the higher education experience for them.

To enhance iPad usage, Larsen Fine Arts Center, home of the music department, now has more than twice as many WiFi access points throughout the building.

“This is a new adventure for all of us,” said Professor Ryan Schultz ’06, music professor and director of the Marching Tigers — the fifth largest marching band in Illinois and the largest at any Christian university in the U.S. “Faculty and staff will be learning about iPad right alongside our students.”

“For the marching band, using iPad for our music and formation diagrams greatly reduces the amount of items band members have to carry with them,” he added. “Directing from the podium, I will be able to isolate sections on the field for drills. We can also practice later in the evenings because the screens light the music.”

Matt Jacklin, assistant director of the Marching Tigers, is excited about using the Coaches’ Eye application. He’ll be able to take a video of the band’s performance with his iPad, and then use the video to give feedback to the students.

Students catch the excitement

“I’m excited that we’ll be saving so much paper!” said Brooke Bellamy (senior, music major, Elkhart, Ind.), leader of the Marching Tigers’ mellophone section.

A computer science major and a euphonium player in the band, Paul DaSilva (freshman, Bourbonnais, Ill.) has many plans for using his iPad. “I’ll have to be careful to keep my device charged because I’ll be using it so much,” he commented. “And playing in the band will be a lot simpler now. No more huge bundles and folders to carry.”

Zach Kohlmeier ’13, an adjunct professor in the music department and an employee in the information technology department, is especially enjoying the merging of iPad technology and music in this initiative. He began using his iPad during the summer as he played piano at church and for musicals. “I just pushed a button once to turn a page of music, and I didn’t have to worry about pages getting blown by the wind,” he said.

As Zach put it so well: “Technology is moving forward, and Olivet is at the forefront.”

 
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Average ACT composite score of last year's incoming freshmen