Category Archives: Innovations

Emerging Technology

ECU hospitality management student Erin Carson, left, checks out an Apple iPad from Pam Evans, head of service – circulation for ECU’s Joyner Library, as part of the library’s pilot program that allows patrons to test drive new technology. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Patrons queue up for new technology at Joyner Library

Response was immediate.

East Carolina University faculty, staff and students quickly snatched up 10 Apple iPads offered for checkout in a Jan. 31 e-mail announcement from Joyner Library. All available devices left the building within two hours; 30 people joined a waiting list.

A similar reaction greeted the library’s pre-Christmas offering of the e-readers Kindle and Nook.

The offers were made as part of a Joyner Library pilot program designed to provide both access and opportunity for patrons to test drive emerging technologies. Kindles and Nooks may be checked out for two weeks, while the iPad loan period is three days.

“Providing these devices to our users to gauge their use and acceptance is an important part of our ongoing efforts to meet the changing information access needs of our users,” said Larry Boyer, dean of Academic Library and Learning Resources.

Boyer said that publishing and information delivery industries have undergone drastic changes in the past decade, with even more rapid changes to come. “E-books and e-book readers will be an important part of that story,” he said.

During the 2010 holiday season, e-book downloads outstripped the sale of hardback bestsellers, Boyer said. A Kindle user himself, Boyer gave his wife and two daughters each a Kindle for Christmas. They were a “big, big hit,” he said, “although all of us continue to love and appreciate the printed book.”

While many readers have checked out a Kindle or Nook to investigate them prior to making a purchase, many faculty members are reserving the iPads with specific plans for academic use, said Pam Evans, head of service for Circulation at Joyner Library. “iPad technology has entered the classroom, with professors using the electronic devices for instruction,” she said.

The library has 10 iPads, six Kindles and six Nooks for checkout, and requests for the devices have been so overwhelming that circulation staff are reviewing alternative booking methods just to keep up, Evans said.

Users returning the devices have completed a survey about their experience, submitting comments such as “This gave me the opportunity to explore before buying”; “I used it at a conference. It was small and easy to pack”; and “I liked the iPad so much, I just bought one.”

College of Education professor Beth Fine checked out four iPads to use in a face-to-face course in educational technology as part of a discussion on incorporating emerging technologies to enhance the curriculum and improve teacher productivity.

Many of her students had never used iPads before and were excited to have the opportunity for some hands-on exploration. The library’s program is “an amazing idea,” she said.

“The power of this new technology with teacher education students is something that can be understood only when it is used,” Fine said. “Providing opportunities for new teachers and teachers in training to interact with emerging technologies is a key idea that we, as a university, can focus on in our attempt to provide them with a rich and diverse experience prior to their field experiences.”

Faculty, staff and students may also take a look at the electronic devices during an e-Book/e-Reader Education Exposition March 22, sponsored by Emerging Academic Initiatives, Joyner and Laupus libraries. The exposition will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Room and from 2 to 4 pm. in the College of Nursing and College of Allied Health lobbies.

For additional information, contact the Joyner Library circulation desk at (252) 328-6518.


A list of books pre-installed on the e-readers is available at Pre-loaded applications on the iPad are listed at[HTML3]

Second Life

lbert Réveillon, president of the jury, presents the International Intraverse Award for Education to ECU via the same Second Life technology used to develop and deliver ECU's virtual 3D online early college program. (Contributed photo)

ECU’s virtual early college top in state

GREENVILLE   (Feb. 21, 2011)   —   A virtual early college program at East Carolina University has been recognized as the top program in the state for course content and its unique delivery platform.

ECU’s Early College Second Life Program (ECSLP), which uses 3D virtual technology to let high school students take college classes in their high school environment, won the Best Practices for Distance Learning Programming award from the North Carolina Distance Learning Association.

That honor follows an international prize the program received earlier this month. ECSLP accepted its Feb. 4 International Intraverse Award in Education, presented in Monaco, using the Second Life distance learning technology that supports the program.

“It is successful because it captures the student’s attention, challenges them, and allows them to interact with each other for projects,” said Sharon Collins of ECU Emerging Academic Initiatives. “It truly is the way students desire to learn these days, by advancing with technology.”

The awards recognize the quality of the course material ECU developed for a virtual environment targeting high school students, said Collins. Some 40 students in Pitt and Lenoir County classrooms are enrolled in the program.

“There are other Early College High School programs that are very successful, but ours allows students to stay in their high school spaces and not travel to a community college or university campus to obtain their learning since we can offer it through Second Life,” said Collins.

Second Life is a virtual 3D world, designed for high school students. In that world, students have an “avatar” (a virtual presence) and attend a real-time class. ECU is the only campus using Second Life to offer classes that let students earn college credit and high school credit at the same time.

The ECSLP is a partnership between ECU, Pitt County schools, Pitt Community College and Kinston High school. Students can take classes in anthropology, personal finance, child psychology, introduction to computers, English, sociology and web site design and maintenance.

To read more about ECU’s Second Life program, go to .

Music faculty on podcasts

ECU School of Music faculty performances and commentary are featured on “Treasured Tunes” podcasts linked from the university homepage.

The podcasts include audio music recordings by faculty, question-and-answer sessions with the performers and written podcast transcripts. The public may subscribe to the podcasts through a link to ECU’s iTunes U on the website. There are also links to information about the performers and the School of Music. Faculty performers will rotate through the site.

The first podcast features Elliot Frank, ECU guitar professor. The link to the podcast is or through the ECU homepage at

Collaboration for teachers

The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (CSMTE) at ECU held an open house for the educational community, introducing a lending library and virtual collaboration network for teachers called TeachNET.

The center has recently undergone a redesign to better serve the needs of teachers throughout eastern North Carolina. As part of this commitment to teachers, the regional lending library was unveiled at the event. This library provides access to resources that many teachers do not have access to in their schools. Teachers can access the center’s website at and search for items for their classroom to checkout.

And in response to feedback from area school personnel, the center has created an online collaboration system, TeachNET. The ECU TeachNET is an innovative platform that lets teachers across the region collaborate, access content-level experts and share lesson plans and ideas all online from their work or school computers. Many school systems are integrating iPads and iPod Touches in the classroom, so the center is also developing a mobile application that will let teachers access the TeachNET remotely in the classroom or out in the field.

The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education serves eastern North Carolina with a mission to strengthen the quality and increase the size of the teaching base in mathematics and science education and increase the pool of students who graduate from North Carolina’s high schools prepared to pursue careers that require mathematics and science. CSMTE translates the findings of educational research into practices that benefit students and teachers.


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