NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication were each presented Apple Distinguished Program Awards on Monday for their digital initiatives.
OU students are utilizing iTunes U, Apple TV and iPads to conduct research, complete projects and spur creativity. Joel Davies, Apple higher education development director, said the awards given to OU were two out of less than 20 across the nation.
Dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education Gregg Garn said the college’s graduates have the opportunity to be technology leaders and he constantly sees students working together with iPads and hears teachers discussing how to use technology to become better educators.
Garn acknowledged the college’s students for their hard work.
“It is not the easiest thing to be a teacher today. I commend the students who have taken on this challenge,” he said.
Apple Inc.’s confidence in the College of Education was inspiring, Garn said, and one of OU’s original missions, at its founding in 1890, was to expand the knowledge and theory of the art of teaching.
“The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education continues to be on the forefront of innovation, impact and education excellence in pursuit of that original goal,” he said.
Joe Foote, dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said in its earliest days, Apple was about education and creative industries.
“It’s our job to take that technology and leverage creativity through it. And we certainly know in Gaylord Hall, it’s really not about the technology. That’s simply a means to an end,” Foote said. “It’s about the creativity.”
Foote recognized Buddy Wiedemann, IT director, for his hard work at the Gaylord College and joked that a recent audit shed light on the college’s flaw: an overreliance on Wiedemann.
Foote said one example of Wiedemann’s innovative ideas was the use of Apple TV in classroom lectures. At the time, in 2011, the device was meant only for home consumer use.
Today hundreds of classrooms across America, including all of Gaylord College, use Apple TV to enable faculty to seamlessly display material while roaming around the classroom untethered to equipment.
Next, Davies presented Garn, Foote and OU President David L. Boren with plaques acknowledging the Apple Distinguished Program Awards.
“This award recognizes and celebrates transformative teaching,” he said. “It’s not about the device. It’s about the student centric experience that happens when the device is in student hands.”
When Boren addressed the crowd, he dismissed praise both Garn and Foote had given him earlier for his support of each college’s leading program and said all the praise should go to the students.
“It’s you. Your vitality, your ingenuity that deserves the thanks for these awards,” he said.
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