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Maryville’s Apple Corps Provides Peer-to-Peer Training for Students

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Thanks to the Digital World initiative launched this fall, many first-year students come to class with iPads in their backpacks, rather than stacks of textbooks and bulky laptops. Learning to utilize the mobile device as a tool for productive study, and well beyond its capacity to entertain, is now an integral part of the student learning process.

Because an iPad is so much more than Netflix, Maryville’s Apple Corps was created under the auspices of the Division of Student Success. The team is tasked with providing student-to-student training on apps designed to support learning projects and collaborations, and improve study habits.

“The Apple Corps has been instrumental in the successful launch of Digital World,” says Jen McCluskey, PhD, vice president for Student Success. “Students have varying comfort levels with the technology. Similar to peer tutoring with math or writing, our Apple Corps helps students navigate one app or the device in general.”

This is no small challenge, as there are now more than 60 apps accessible in the Maryville cloud. The Apple Corps team helps students navigate apps being utilized in their particular courses, along with other apps students may want to explore. The trainers also provide “getting started” basics, shortcuts tips, and help with mobile printer connections and custom settings.

Learning to utilize the mobile device as a tool for productive study, and well beyond its capacity to entertain, is now an integral part of the student learning process.

Students learn how to work quickly and efficiently using the iPad, and also how to maneuver multiple apps at the same time, says Adam Zobrist, a sophomore in the physical therapy program. Zobrist is one of 10 Apple Corps student experts.

“Tutors can help with any of the apps inside the Maryville cloud,” Zobrist says. “Evernote and Explain Everything are two really big ones.”

The addition of Apple TV installed all classrooms is changing the way students present their work, Zobrist says. With just a few clicks, students can share their work with classmates and the instructor by projecting it on a smart board. “Instead of going through all the steps to set up a presentation, students can project their work with airplay, a tool that streams content directly from Apple devices,” he says.

The use of iPads for test taking also provides a new learning curve, he says. “There is a lock down app that can completely block everything besides the program that students are using,” he says. “It makes tests easier to take and quicker to grade for the teachers.”

In general, students appreciate the convenience of having a touchscreen device they can use in class, Zobrist says. “It also makes it easier for students to keep track of things, as everything is inside the same device instead of being in different notebooks or binders,” he says.

Katherine Geerling, a first-year student in the cyber security program and an Apple Tutor, appreciates the utility of the iPad.

“The iPad is definitely helping me stay more organized and keep track of my assignments,” she says. “It is so much faster to do stuff on the iPad.”

Geerling enjoys teaching students how to give high quality presentations of their work in class. “We help students worry less about how they format it,” she says. “They learn to let the iPad and the apps do that part for them, so they can focus on the content of their work.”