Selah Vetter / Staff Writer
Samford University has created a new program for their School of Arts this semester, which will digitize classrooms by providing iPads to students and faculty in the graphic design and theater departments. According to Samford student Lauren Bell, a graphic design major, this new technology has changed the learning experience and curriculum in these departments.
“It has honestly been a game changer,” Bell said.
The School of the Arts started the program, titled Catalyst, this semester. The goal of Catalyst is to grow students’ creativity and analytic skills in ways that are applicable in the workplace. By implementing core classes and themes, professors said they hope the program will teach students fundamental skills and prepare them for the professional world.
Within the Catalyst program, the School of the Arts established iCatalyst for the technology portion. This program provides iPads to students and faculty. The iPads serve as a way for professors to communicate with students.
The iPads have programs preinstalled that are designed for art and music students. This includes apps for sketching and sheet music. The iPads also help students reduce costs for textbooks through the app iBooks.
The associate professor of graphic design, Geoff Sciacca, said he believes the iPads will increase creativity and productivity in the classroom.
“The iPads have increased the students’ access to capable technology, by packing a relatively powerful device into a package that is much more portable than a laptop, which now means they’ll have a sketchbook and some pared-down tools for digital creation with them as well,” Sciacca said.
Sciacca provides his students with video tutorials. The iPads allow students to watch the videos on their laptops or phones while using their iPads to sketch. Many of his students have replaced their sketchbooks with iPads and now use their iPads for more detailed sketches.
“I have a lot of students who have chosen to have it to replace their sketchbook for doing thumbnails or more detailed pencil sketches during the ideation phase of a design program,” Sciacca said.
According to Samford student Lauren Bell , the iPad is beneficial for sketching or illustrating due to the Apple Pencil.
“My favorite feature of the iPad is the Apple Pencil. It has the ability to allow me to do sketches, thumbnails and illustration for my classes,” Bell said.
While the Catalyst program has only been in effect for two months, students and professors said the iPads already had an impact.