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According to “Millennials Rising” by Neil Howe and William Strauss, Generation Y prefers to learn collaboratively, any time, any place, anywhere and at an individual pace, through structured activities and by incorporating new technology into the curriculum.

Seton Hill University is preparing for the next generation of learners to use technology inside and outside the classroom.

“Students coming in now have learned in a significantly different way than students did a generation earlier. What we can attribute that to most is the availability of immediate information and connectivity,” said Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., provost and dean of faculty, in a recent interview with University Business. “They are used to texting each other and having access to information on the internet with such ease. What the iPad—and other mobile technologies—allows you to do is to garner the capabilities those devices provide to be useful in education rather than being a distraction. This represents a paradigm shift in terms of how we pedagogically approach things in the classroom.”

Market research conducted by the Washington Post indicates that the iPad is the next big thing in higher education technology as more and more textbooks make the digital conversion.

Mary Spataro, director of the Center for Innovative Teaching at Seton Hill, said that mobile devices like the iPad may help redefine how teaching and learning happen in coming years. “A big challenge is not to focus so much on the technology, but to focus on how you can use it to enhance the classroom experience,” she says. “If it’s a tool that can help us encourage interactive engagement and activities with our students, then that’s all the better for us.”