May 10, 2018
Students lighten book load for takeoff
Flight Services program goes fully digital
Professor Viktor Sreckovic used to see keeners sitting in the front of his class while he lectured behind the podium.
Thanks to a recent move in the Flight Services program to ditch textbooks in favour of iPads, that’s no longer the case.
“I’m not tied to the podium anymore,” Sreckovic said. “The class dynamic has changed and everybody is more involved.”
In response to changes in the airline industry standard in which staff are increasingly using iPads on the job, the Seneca program has successfully transformed the learning experience from paper to digital for its 600 students.
The Flight Attendant Manual — the 500-page bible students used to have to lug from class to class — is now an interactive iBook loaded with embedded movies, images and review questions.
Likewise, course materials have been transitioned to Keynote, Apple’s version of PowerPoint, and other iOS-friendly formats students can download. In-class assignments such as safety demonstrations are recorded on iPads and shared using Apple’s screen-mirroring feature. Creative activities are completed on apps like Nearpod and Bookwidgets. Attendance is taken on Attendance 2.
“It’s an interactive way of engaging the students,” said Angela Zigras, Chair, School of Hospitality and Tourism, which is part of Seneca Business. “By making the transition from textbooks to iPads, we are putting the technology into the hands of the learner, and that’s the way millennials learn today.”
Students entering the program are asked to bring iPads or purchase one through Seneca’s Apple-affiliate site where they can get an education discount.
This was welcoming news to Charlene Patron, a Flight Services student graduating this June.
“I was really excited about the iPad requirement coming into the program,” she said. “I spent my undergraduate years hauling textbooks around and putting money on my student card for printing. I gave up on that and bought a printer instead.”
Due to the higher cost of replacing ink, Patron ended up with four printers, none of which she relied on while studying at Seneca. In fact, she didn’t even carry a backpack at Seneca. She had a purse that contained her iPad, a notebook and some personal belongings.
“Technology is moving forward in all industries. In aviation, iPads are becoming the norm, especially in Europe, but the movement is happening in North America as well,” said Patron, who has just started a new job with Swoop, a new subsidiary airline owned by WestJet. “That makes us Seneca grads valuable assets because employers don’t have to spend time to teach us on how to troubleshoot on the device.”
Back in the classroom, Sreckovic said he has seen improvements in students’ grades since the iPads were integrated into the curriculum.
“Students see things differently now because the iPad has enabled a visual and tactile learning environment,” he said. “Last semester was my best semester ever for grades and I truly believe it’s because of the technology. It has helped me to adjust my material to them and in turn their grades have improved.”