iFisher, DePeters Family Center brings iPads, tech help to students and faculty

By Kelsey Braun ’22, Editor in Chief

Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

By Kelsey Braun ’22, Editor in Chief

Formed in September 2020 with a donation from the DePeters Family, St. John Fisher College introduced the new DePeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence. The center provides resources for innovative uses of technology and support services for teaching and learning environments on campus.

Lead by Director Katie Sabourin, the DePeters Family Center typically provides technology training to members on campus, ranging anywhere from Blackboard or Zoom assistance to providing support for faculty with iPads. In addition, the center is involved in conversations surrounding learning spaces and classroom settings on campus. This means taking a look at the classroom spaces and thinking about how to design them in the best way possible. 

Beginning in the fall 2021 semester, the DePeters Family Center will be rolling out the new iFisher program to all undergraduate students. This program will provide students and faculty with iPads, a keyboard case and an Apple pencil. “We’re looking forward to students being able to use their iPads to create products of their work in more creative ways,” said Sabourin.

The intent of the iFisher program is to provide an iPad to students when they come to Fisher as a freshman. Students will use them in their classes during their four years in undergraduate school, and upon graduation they can keep them at no additional cost. For current upcoming seniors, upon graduation they will have the option to buy the device at fair market value or return the iPads to campus.

Current faculty members are using iPads to present content, and as students get their iPads, Sabourin says it will open doors for what possibilities there can be in a classroom. “There’s a whole variety of things you can do on the iPad that otherwise would be hard for faculty to ask students to do in a course not knowing that everybody has the same technology available to them.”

The goal for the iPad rollout is that students will use them to keep notes, stay organized, download electronic textbooks and use e-resources. Depending on each student’s major and curriculum, Sabourin hopes the iPads will open new doors for creativity within the classroom. In addition, she said iPads will generate new possibilities for assignments, allowing students to create animated presentations, videos and even podcasts.   

“We’re excited to see how every student finds their own unique way to use it, and each faculty within their course can find ways to build it into their curriculum.”

Students can expect to hear additional information about the iFisher program as the spring semester wraps up and into the summer.

The office for the Depeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence will be on the second floor of the Gateway in of Basil Hall, starting in the fall 2021 semester. For more information for the Depeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence click here.

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