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.

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A list of books pre-installed on the e-readers is available at http://media.lib.ecu.edu/techsrv/E-Books-List.cfm. Pre-loaded applications on the iPad are listed at http://blog.lib.ecu.edu/announce/?p=1145.[HTML3]



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