Advocating for Students
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Georgia (Mar 15, 2011) —
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When KSU students from the iSchool Initiative took the stage in front of hundreds of screaming Utah high school students, they said they were launching a digital learning revolution. Looking like Steve Jobs-style product launchers, they showed the students of Kearns High School how to best use the 1,700 iPod Touches they had just received.
The iSchool Initiative, the brainchild of KSU sophomore Travis Allen, started when the Whitewater High Schoolstudent wanted to use his iPhone in the classroom as a learning tool. It has evolved into a nonprofit organization with a team of more than a dozen KSU students working to promote their vision of the 21st century classroom throughout the United States.
“If America is going to rise to the top again, it will take a grassroots movement of students, teachers and parents to come together and demand change in our education system,” said Allen, president and CEO of iSchool Initiative. “We are students attempting to change the way we learn in the classroom.”
In 2009, Allen speculated that the iPhone, iPad and similar technologies had the potential to transform the current educational system. He posted a YouTube video titled “The iSchool Initiative (Mobile Learning)” to explain his concept. The video has received more than 33,000 views to date, and it was one of the factors that inspired Kearns to provide iPod Touches to its student body.
After entering KSU as a freshman in 2009, Allen joined the university’s chapter of the international organization Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), which has supported the growth of the iSchool Initiative.
Allen is a mobile learner at KSU. He takes an iPad to classes and says he uses it exclusively to take notes, create study aids, read textbooks, stay organized and digest information. He eschews the use of the traditional pen and paper and doesn’t own a printer.
“Wherever I am, even if I’m waiting in line somewhere, I can study. I can access my assignments and schedule,” Allen said. “I’ve got everything I need right here.”
Allen’s team has big plans for the future, from launching an e-magazine about going digital to securing support from corporate sponsors to fund weekly seminars all over the U.S., like the one at Kearns High School.
“Our mission is to inspire and educate students on how to become lifelong digital learners in the information age,” Allen said. “We want to completely revolutionize the educational system, whether it takes two or 10 years. We plan to lead the revolution.”
-- Erica Rountree
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.