SMU Meadows School of the Arts announced today that it has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for 2013-15 in recognition of its creative implementation of learning technologies. SMU Meadows was previously recognized for the 2012-13 school year.
The Apple Distinguished Program designation is given to programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.
The educational philosophy of Meadows Dean José Bowen stresses an inverted classroom with more focus on student engagement and less on fixed instructional technology. The school’s faculty and students use mobile devices including MacBooks and iPads that contain a comprehensive toolkit used both in the classroom and in professional development outside the classroom. The Meadows program allows all applications and hardware experiences to be equivalent for faculty and students.
“iPads and Macs are used throughout the school in ways that enhance both teaching and learning and make our students more marketable,” said Bowen. For example, all incoming freshmen are required to have a website. “Students must regularly create content for their websites throughout their college years, so they graduate with e-portfolios of their work,” he said. “Tools like iPad allow students to create and share content effortlessly.”
Individual departments throughout Meadows have also found multiple creative uses for technology. In the Division of Journalism, for example, students use both iPad and iPhone to capture and disseminate news. Journalism professor Lucy Scott said, “With iPhone, students don’t need to download video, cut it and rebroadcast it, but can instantly shoot and publish news. iPad can be its own platform for students as well, serving as a destination for content, acting as a teleprompter or becoming an additional monitor.” In addition, journalism professor Jake Batsell has been using iPad to study how mobile technology and social media are used by mainstream news outlets; his work has been published in an article in Electronic News and will be explored further in his new book Engaged Journalism: Rethinking News in an Era of Digitally Empowered Audiences, scheduled to be published by Columbia University Press in fall 2014.
In the music therapy department, iPad is used to help children and adults with special needs; while they are unable to play traditional instruments, they can explore and express themselves using various music applications. And in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, a group of master’s students conducted their entire study-abroad course in India on iPad and used it for video blogging.
Meadows’ in-house tech department, led by Director of Technology David Sedman and Digital Arts Solutions Architect Jason Warner, works closely with faculty and staff to provide support and training, and it has designed technology solutions for each division’s needs, including research and teaching requirements.
The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established at SMU in 1969, is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. The Meadows School comprises 11 academic areas: the Temerlin Advertising Institute, Art, Art History, Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, Communication Studies, Creative Computation, Dance, Film and Media Arts, Journalism, Music and Theatre. The mission of the Meadows School is to educate visionary artists, scholars and arts and communications professionals prepared to create sustainable and transformative impact. It is also committed to providing an ongoing opportunity for all SMU students to grow in the understanding and appreciation of the arts. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between arts entrepreneurship and social change.