Technology Enhanced Pedagogy: Exploration of Faculty Adaptation to iPad Delivered Curriculum

Sunday, 22 July 2018: 11:35 AM

Melissa A. Stec, DNP, CNM, APRN, FACNM, FANN
Carolyn Smith, PhD, RN
University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Technology can be asset in the higher education classroom providing a conduit for active, application level learning. Historically, technology has been used to support traditional pedagogy, but has not transformed education in an impactful way (Laurillard, 2007). While improving the flexibility, accessibility and quality of education is a strong foundation, technology should be employed in a way that places faculty to act as facilitators in the classroom and elevate the learning to a higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy. iPads serve as a platform for leveraging student-centered teaching rather than faculty focused and engage learners in meaningful use of technology to enhance learning (Hargis, Cavanaugh, Kamali and Soto, 2013). The purpose of this study is to examine the faculty adaptation to iPad delivered curriculum in a large, Midwestern university College of Nursing and identify the associated factors to successful integration.


This qualitative study examines the adaptation of faculty to iPad delivered curriculum. Fourteen faculty teaching in iPad delivered curriculum were included in two 60-minute focus groups. Four major themes and corresponding subthemes were identified as a result of the focus group; student attributes, faculty attributes, device capacities and challenges. Each of the first three themes had accompanying, overlapping challenges.


The first theme, “Student Attributes”, described participants’ views of issues and factors that influenced technology integration of iPads and were attributable to students. The subtheme, Screen size, refers to participants’ concerns that the iPad screen size influences the ability of students to engage in effective learning. Students could elect to purchase a full-size or mini-size iPad. Another subtheme pertained to Student learning style. Faculty participants expressed how the integration of technology provided students the opportunity to use a variety of learning styles and potentially increase opportunities to learn. The third subtheme, Student request for iPad content, described how faculty experienced increased student demand for course content and resources that were iPad accessible. Student learning curve consisted of participants’ observations of how students came with a wide range of skill and ability to utilize the iPad device in a learning setting and therefore created a need for students to receive training on the variety of settings and applications available on the device. In addition, variations in experience with technology in the classroom, Student device preference also influenced the success of technology integration. Participants remarked on how some students relied solely on the iPad device in the classroom whereas others brought their personal laptops in addition to their iPad device or only brought their laptops. Challenges in technology integration attributed to students identified by participants included Distraction and Cost of the device. The first student-attributed challenge, Distraction, described how integration of iPads into the classroom also served as a source of distraction.

The theme of “Faculty Attributes” represented the various faculty-related factors which participants perceived had an influence on their experience of technology integration. This theme consisted of several subthemes. The subtheme, Ability to roam free, described how integration of iPads into the classroom allowed faculty to move out from behind the podium and freed them to roam around the classroom. Participants viewed the increased ability to spend time with and among students as a positive aspect. Similarly, the subtheme of Active learning focused on participants’ thoughts on how technology integration provided faculty with the ability to use more active learning strategies in the classroom. Specific to the iPad device, the subtheme of Airplay for sharing described how participants saw that technology facilitated faculty and student sharing of information and learning in a quick and easy manner. The Use of instructional designers subtheme consisted of participants’ views that integration of technology provided new and increased opportunities to work with instructional designers in the delivery of course content. The Faculty Attributes theme also included two challenges with the integration of technology. The first faculty-attributed challenge included Inconsistent use. This subtheme referred to participants’ perceptions of how variations in the ways faculty members utilize iPads in the classroom contributes to confusion and hinders learning among students. Another faculty-related challenge included Use of iPad in clinical area. This subtheme consists of challenges presented by the differences in the ways faculty members leverage use of iPad devices while teaching in clinical settings as well as limitations imposed by hospital organizations on the use of iPad devices in clinical areas.

The third theme “Devices Capabilities” and captured participants’ view of how features, programs, and abilities of the iPad device impacts the integration of technology into the classroom. The first subtheme, Content delivery, described participants’ views on how the iPad device enabled direct and easy delivery of course content. Student had course content on one device which allowed them to come to class sessions with resources needed to learn in their hands. Similarly, next subtheme of Student access to resources captured how participants’ thoughts the iPad device provided students with quick access to additional resources such as the internet or specific apps (e.g., KeyNote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie) needed to complete coursework. Accessibility refers to how the iPad device itself was portable and convenient for students to take with them and thus made resources and course content readily accessible for students. Participants discussed iBooks as a resource faculty use for course content delivery and could be leveraged beyond its current form to provide students with interactive learning opportunities. The subtheme of Apps described how the iPad device’s ability to download a wide variety of apps creates opportunities for faculty and students alike to achieve coursework in creative and unconventional ways. Another subtheme focused on Examsoft – a computer-based testing software which facilitates student testing on iPad devices in addition to PC and Apple computers. Participants reported that the ability to use this software for test administration on iPad devices assisted in numerous ways including, but not limited to, test security, decreasing time to generate test results, and the ability to build a test item repository. The subtheme, iTunesU, pertains to participants’ view that this platform positively influenced technology integration by providing an easy to use platform for posting course materials. Participants identified two challenges related to the device capabilities. The first challenge included periodic Device updates which were perceived to create interruptions to causing problems with accessing apps or functionality of apps. The other challenge participants described pertained to Compatibility with Learning Management System.


As the result of this research, several themes have been identified that may contribute to faculty and student success with technology integration. The model developed around these themes includes 4 major categories: student attributes, faculty attributes, device capabilities, and challenges. The implication for the data is, however, that while change can be made with each indicator separately, that more successful technology integration may occur with thoughtful consideration of each indicator as it contributes to the whole.