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CDI College brings mobile technology to the classroom
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CDI College brings mobile technology to the classroom 

CDI College, a for-profit organization that manages 26 campuses across the country, is another scholastic institution that has gotten on board with technology. Although the college has been using tablets in its classrooms for several years now, it came to the conclusion that a newer solution was needed to encourage productivity.

“We originally were using another device that we had started several years ago,” said Larry Heinzlmeir, VP, Marketing, CDI College. “That device became a little bit restrictive and it was viewed as an entertainment or media device rather than a productivity device.”

The college decided to replace its old tablets with the Microsoft Surface, in part because it was viewed more as a productivity device and in part because the students’ familiarity with the Microsoft operating system meant there would be less of a learning curve.

Before rolling it out to all of its campuses, the college launched classroom trials in Ajax, Ont. and Surrey, B.C. in the spring of 2013.

“The students responded very well [to the trial],” said Heinzlmeir. “They seemed to get up and running a lot quicker than with our previous device. They were very familiar – or more familiar – with MS Office, so they were able to get going quicker. They didn’t have to learn a lot of new applications.”

With the tablet, students are able to take notes, watch videos and view powerpoint presentations. Heinzlmeir stressed that the device’s split-screen capability is of tremendous value as an educational tool because it allows students to view a presentation in half the screen while taking notes in the other half.

It also means that students have access to educational materials whenever they need them. Fifteen years ago, instructors that wanted to show their students a video had to bring the video to class, and students could only view it once. With the tablets, however, students can view class videos whenever they want, wherever they want.

“It just enriches the learning process,” said Heinzlmeir. “With this mobile platform, [students] can take notes against YouTube videos. These things weren’t available 10-15 years ago.”

Aside from the immediate classroom benefits the students receive by using the tablets, they will also reap greater long-term benefits.

“It’s our feeling that they will be more productive in the workplace more quickly,” said Heinzlmeir. “They’re using the tools and methods and apps they’ll eventually use in the workplace. They’ll be more ready than they ever have been before.”

As for the teachers, the mobile platform gives them the freedom to use class time to enrich the learning process rather than stand at the front of the room lecturing.

“In some ways, it’s like flipping the classroom,” said Heinzlmeir. “A lot of studying can happen outside the classroom as opposed to inside, so the classroom can be used for more discussion and learning and clarifying. Instructors can…spend more time enriching the class insteading of trying to get through one stream of curriculum. It’s a huge advantage for instructors everywhere who want to dive deeper into their subject matter.”

The initiative will be officially rolled out to CDI College’s 26 campuses on May 19.

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