Kayla Slade, a second-year student in Georgian College’s Paramedic program, is happy to have all her texts available on the iPad Mini in her right hand, rather than the 25 pounds of books previously required.
Kayla Slade, a second-year student in Georgian’s Paramedic program, is happy to have all her texts available on the iPad Mini in her right hand, rather than the 25 pounds of books previously required.

In the past, Georgian Paramedic student Kayla Slade wouldn’t only carpool with other students, her textbooks would carpool too. The texts were so heavy and cumbersome that students took turns bringing one book at a time. Now, all the students simply shove their texts into a side pocket of their uniforms.

All paper-based books in Georgian’s paramedic programs have officially gone digital this fall, replacing 25 pounds of texts with an iPad Mini weighing less than one pound. Slade and many of her classmates have been using the e-texts for a while and she says students love it.

“It’s so convenient. I can do my reading anywhere without carrying around books,” said Slade. “It’s also more interactive than textbooks, because they link to videos, quizzes and diagrams so easily. It’s hugely helpful to us to have all your books fit into a pocket or a purse.”

Many students didn’t even bring their textbooks to class because of the weight and inconvenience. This fall, an iPad Mini is a required item for students entering the Paramedic programs. Electronic versions of the books cost about 25 per cent less than paper texts.

“An advantage to eBooks is that students can carry all of their books, notes, articles and apps in one device,” says program co-ordinator Randi McDermott.  “It will be much easier for them to study and to do literature searches at any time and from anywhere.”

Another advantage is the ability to highlight text, annotate and rapidly search for information.

”The screen quality of the iPad is so advanced that I find I can read for hours without eye strain,” adds professor Rob Theriault. “It also interacts well with software we use to rate student competencies.”

Georgian’s paramedic programs have always strived to be innovative. In 2005, faculty began podcasting their classes and played a lead role in helping the college adopt iTunes U as a platform for the dissemination of audio and video material. In fact, few people may be aware Georgian was the first community college in Canada to adopt postsecondary classes available through the use of iTunes U.

In 2007, faculty also adopted an online learning platform and the Advanced Care Paramedic program has been taught live online ever since.

Wherever possible, the use of paper has been eliminated.

“My students submit their essays digitally though Turnitin, I mark them using the Word or Adobe PDF review functions and return them via email,” says Theriault. “There are no piles of paper slipped under my office door. It’s great to be green!”

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