Apple Inc. has recognized Anderson University as an Apple Distinguished School, an honor that places AU in the forefront of educational institutions around the globe in the use of mobile technology as a teaching and learning tool.
According to Apple, this designation is reserved for programs, such as AU’s Mobile Learning Initiative, that meet stringent criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and that demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.
The university celebrated this rare achievement Feb. 12 by announcing it to local officials and then to the student body. First, Anderson University was presented the award at a luncheon held at the Vandiver Gallery on campus. University President Dr. Evans Whitaker emceed the event, attended by nearly 100 guests, including community leaders, alumni, friends of the university, as well as faculty members and students.
“Ten years ago we produced a long-range plan that called for leadership in educational technology,” he said, ”and today we achieved that goal with the help of Apple. This award truly sets us apart... It symbolizes our international stature as a leader in implementing mobile technology as a learning platform.”
Dr. Whitaker said AU’s Mobile Learning Initiative began five years ago and that its objectives aligned with those presented by the Apple program. He cited Provost Dr. Danny Parker for championing the idea of using mobile technology and Dr. Ben Deaton, dean of the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning, for playing a major role in making the idea come to life on campus. Dr. Parker and Dr. Deaton emphasized that the initiative has been successful because of buy-in from the faculty and students.
The luncheon featured demonstrations of how faculty and students are using iPads and other devices in innovative ways. For example, Katey Robinson, a senior biology major, uses her iPad to better understand the structure of molecules. Atley Citeno, an education major, showed how iPads provide dynamic platforms for presenting material to schoolchildren.
The second part of the celebration shifted to Henderson Auditorium, where the presentation of the award was recreated for about 1,000 students who came armed with their iPads. Dr. Whitaker, who emceed this event as well, said “Those iPads and the way you use them have paved the way for Anderson to be recognized as a leader in the use of mobile technology.”
In addition, the ceremony in Henderson served as a platform for announcing the startup of AU’s revamped website. It has a multitude of enhancements, including the capability to accept photos shot by students and faculty on their iPads.