The Ohio State University at Lima

Digital Flagship builds life skills, connections

July 19, 2018

Digital Flagship

When Jan Osborn was an education major at Ohio State Lima in the 1960s, the traditional lecture model of learning with a professor at the front of the room and students with a notepad and pen was the norm. Computers in the classroom were still several decades away.

Fast forward to 2018 and Ohio State’s Digital Flagship initiative is putting iPads in the hands of students and faculty alike.

“I am very excited to hear about Digital Flagship,” said Dr. Osborn (BS-Education, ’72), who is now the superintendent of the Putnam County Educational Service Center. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our area students attending Ohio State’s Lima campus.”

Dr. Leah Herner-Patnode, associate professor of education, is an early adopter of the iPads and will be teaching an Introduction to Children’s Literature (EDUTL2368) class with an iPad component during autumn semester 2018. She hopes it will not only improve the learning outcomes for her students but for their future students as well.

“I decided to be an early adopter to make sure I was using the new technology in a way that advances the students’ skills,” she said. “I am hoping that Digital Flagship will give the students and faculty more ease of communication, more opportunities to present information in unique ways, and, with everyone having the same tool, being on the same page when discussing technology and how it looks on the screen and in the classroom.”

Beginning with the incoming class in autumn 2018, freshman at all the campuses of Ohio State will receive a technology kit that includes an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil and a protective case.

“Technology is a tool that can open doors to information, support learning, and foster connections across the globe. We know that technology can help us with learning, research and creative work. We also know that technology can create significant challenges in our lives,” said Associate Vice President of Learning Technologies Liv Gjestvang. “This initiative is committed to helping our students think about when to pick up our technology and when to put it down. We are working to provide resources that support civic engagement, mental and physical wellness, financial literacy and digital literacy among a whole host of other life-skills.”

For Osborn, the use of technology in the classroom and the development of important soft skills is a continuation of an experience that begins in his schools.

“Putnam County Schools along with area West Central Ohio Schools have been using iPads in the classrooms for several years in the pre K-12 classrooms, including our special education classrooms, preparing students for the 21st century,” he said. “Students entering the Ohio State system will transition into the Digital Flagship University with the skill set they need to continue their academic achievements and earn their college degree.”

The distribution of the iPad technology kits is part of the broader Digital Flagship initiative designed to develop digital literacy and workforce readiness in students to help them succeed at Ohio State and beyond.

While the student technology portion of the program is generating a lot of buzz with its collection of shared tools, platforms and learning experiences, the Digital Flagship has two other goals. The coding curriculum portion aims to give all at Ohio the power to learn, write and teach code. Students will have opportunities across campus to learn coding skills to enhance their career-readiness in the app economy. A first-of-its-kind iOS Development Center will be an outlet on campus for students, faculty, staff and the greater Ohio community to explore app development from ideation to prototype to market.

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