School of Art launches iPad initiative


Brianna Beck, freshman art education major, sits with her iPad she was required to purchase for her 2-D composition class, Sept. 20. Photo by Chelsae Ketchum.

Cassie Smith

The School of Art now requires most of its incoming students to purchase iPads.

The new rule is an effort to keep its students up-to-date with technology. Students taking 2-D composition — a class all art students must take — are required to buy iPads.

The class is a foundations course, so most of the students taking it are just entering the School of Art, Mark Schatz, an assistant professor, said. The hope is that students will get the iPads when they enter the program and use them in other classes throughout their college careers.

“We’re looking at all the foundations courses and talking with all of our instructors about how it can be used,” Schatz said. “We’ve passed around machines to a bunch of faculty over the summer to let everybody experiment and see how it can tie in and it’s got really exciting possibilities throughout all of the School of Art.”

There are 70 students in five sections of the 2-D composition courses who have iPads.

Brianna Beck, freshman art education major, was not pleased when she found out she was required to purchase the device.

“On top of a laptop, I had to get that also, and I was like, ‘Why can’t we just use a laptop?’” she said. “Now I understand. It’s easier, more convenient and the apps help a lot.”

Avin Hannahsmith, freshman fine arts major, said he was surprised to find out an iPad was a requirement for the course.

“I didn’t expect to use an iPad for college, at least not in that sense,” Hannahsmith said.

According to Schatz, students using an iPad can quickly come up with multiple variations of a design they’re working on, which allows them to delay the decision about what will work best until they come up with more ideas and possibilities.

It is also a professional development tool that allows students to showcase their first-year work and turn the ideas that inspire them into beautiful presentations, Schatz said.

“Our students right now are going to be emerging professionals in 2020, and if they don’t have that computer literacy, we’re really letting them down,” Schatz said. “It already is such a seamless part of culture. It’s important to make sure we’re keeping up with it.”

He said to his knowledge, Kent State University is the only public institution in America with an iPad initiative in its art program.

“We came up with the idea, but we’re really learning how it’s going to be used because we have 70 bright, young minds playing with it,” Schatz said.

Beck said she is starting to enjoy using the iPad.

“At first, I thought it was really hard and I hated it, to be honest,” Beck said. “We just finished a project with them, and as time went on, I started to like it and get really detailed with my work. I kind of like the challenge and I actually just digitally rendered a photo for fun.”

Hannahsmith feels the iPad is beneficial because he is able to view different perspectives of his artwork and that allows him to see problems he may run into while designing it.

Schatz said the iPad initiative has been a good move so far.

“We were really excited to see how it was going to go,” Schatz said. “Everything sounds great when you’re talking behind the scenes. We had 70 students show up with iPads who had already downloaded all the applications we were going to use, and they were gung-ho and ready to go, so it was really exciting. So far, so good.”

Contact Cassie Smith at [email protected].