One of the new courses offered at Beacon this summer was Mobile Learning in Higher Education. Mr. Alan Flaten created this course based on his academic interest in this subject and his desire to expand mobile learning on the Beacon College campus. This course aims to prepare students in the Computer and Information Systems major to excel in a professional environment increasingly reliant on mobile technology.
In one class session, Mr. Flaten’s seven students were provided with the scenario that they were attending a business meeting and were challenged to quickly find accurate answers to propel the meeting forward. The first question posed was related to the use of Windows 7 versus 8. Students were first provided an opportunity to express their opinions regarding which operating system is preferable, with a few commenting that Windows 8 is less user-friendly and is better for tablets rather than PCs. After this open discussion, Mr. Flaten reminded his students that, while there may be differences of opinion regarding different technologies, one must always have valid, credible information to support any position. The class was then asked to evaluate different tablet formats. Mr. Flaten initiated the discussion by first asking a series of questions that students had to find answers for. Once the class had reached a consensus regarding the validity of the information they had found, the discussion centered around which platform they would recommend, supporting their reasoning with the facts they had just collected. This helped reinforce the concepts of the importance of source credibility and of utilizing strong critical thinking skills.
For the second half of the class, the focus moved from the business to the academic world. The students watched a short YouTube video- The iSchool Tomorrow. After a brief class discussion, in which Mr. Flaten asked the class to consider the potential of mobile technology specifically on the Beacon College campus, students were required to individually peruse and evaluate the iSchool initiative Web site. They were challenged to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks to establishing such an environment at Beacon.
The Mobile Technology class is especially relevant to our CIS students, who will be expected to be proficient with various operating systems and platforms in the professional world. Brian Kaminski, one of Mr. Flaten’s computer networking students, had this to say:
As a student here at Beacon College, I believe that we can bring what we discussed in class to Beacon. It will be a difficult transition, but in the long run the students and faculty will benefit from it. I have such a strong passion for mobile applications that I have created my own app that works on Android, Google, and iOS devices.
Mr. Flaten is very pleased with the enthusiasm and high level of critical thinking skills exhibited by the class. The rest of the College will surely benefit from the technological proficiency of these students!
~ Gretchen Dreimiller