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Provost Lecture Series: Chemistry professor's analysis of iPad use in class

2/28/2012

Interactive technology in the classroom has been shown to enhance student learning. The Apple iPad is one of the most exciting innovations of modern technology and has tremendous potential as a teaching tool. 

The question for Dr. Robert Shelton, assistant professor of chemistry at Austin Peay State University, is whether interacting with an iPad in a general chemistry classroom environment actually promotes student learning.

“Using available iPad applications, we designed and implemented structured activities in a first semester general chemistry class for science majors,” Shelton said. “These activities introduced, reinforced or practiced standard topics such as nomenclature and stoichiometry. Several forms of student assessment were implemented to gauge perspective and evaluate outcomes.”

Shelton will present a preliminary analysis of these assessments as part of the next Provost Lecture Series session at APSU. He will speak at 3 p.m., Thursday, March 1 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303. The event is free and open to the public.

Launched in Fall 2010, the iPad Project involved purchasing and setting up a dozen iPads with apps. Once the iPads were configured and put into the hands of the students, additional lessons were learned related to distributing and collecting assignments.

Shelton will show some examples of classroom activities. In addition, student perceptions of this technology and its benefits were assessed pre- and post-semester and the results from these surveys will be discussed.

In addition to the iPad Project, Shelton will discuss his research on using electronic structure calculations to help interpret experimental results and provide quantitative predictions to develop a better qualitative understanding of reaction mechanisms.

Shelton came to APSU in 2010. His research interests include computational projects, organic research and chemical education. Dr. G. Robert Shelton received his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (SIUE).  He then studied physical fluoro-organic chemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville. His research focused on the computational study and attempted synthesis of fluorocyclopropenes. After receiving his Ph.D., he did postdoctoral work at the University of North Texas, where he broadened his computational abilities and examined the phenomenon of H-tunneling.

Other sessions in the Provost Lecture Series also are planned for the academic year. All sessions are from 3-4:30 p.m. in the MUC, Room 303 (unless noted otherwise) and include the following:

March 15, MUC 307: Dr. Allyn Smith, associate professor of physics

March 22: Dr. Sharon Mabry, professor of music

March 29: Dr. Cameron Sutt, assistant professor of history

April 5: Mark DeYoung, assistant professor of art

April 12: Dr. Tim Winters, professor of English

April 19, MUC 103: Dr. Jeffrey Wood, professor of music

The Provost Lecture Series seeks to foster a spirit of intellectual and scholarly inquiry among faculty, staff and students. The program will be used as a platform for APSU faculty members who are recent recipients of provost summer grants, who have been awarded faculty development leaves and who have engaged in recent scholarly inquiry during sabbatical leaves.

APSU faculty members with recent research of acclaim also will be given a platform within this series. In addition, other faculty members of local or widespread renown will be invited to lecture within this series.

For more information about the Provost Lecture Series, call Dr. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of academic affairs at APSU, at (931) 221-7992 or email him at johnsonb@apsu.edu. - Dr. Melony Shemberger