A pair of snow leopards pace about their outdoor confines while a river otter glides across a water pool in a playful back swim. On this May afternoon at the Akron Zoo, associate professor and chair of psychology Amber Chenoweth leads her students through integrated study in animal cognition using Hiram’s Tech and Trek program.
Chenoweth, a Tech and Trek early adopter, says the new mobile and mindful technology program breaks former barriers, helping students translate their experiences, collaborate with one another easily, integrate research materials, photos and notes, and become more interactive and “in the moment.”
Tech and Trek enables students to capture, connect and reflect upon life-changing ideas, feelings, images and questions, no matter where they are. For example, at the zoo, Tech and Trek early adopter students Mikenzi Daniels-Smith ’19 and Amir Riddle ’20 use iPad Pros to record the animals’ behaviors as they relate to their intelligence. Daniels-Smith creates and edits a video on the spot with her iPad. Riddle uses his iPad as a device of convenience, a tool he can tote along with ease.
“I came to college with a very big, out of date laptop, but this iPad has been easier for me to carry,” Riddle says, adding that portability only begins to tell the Tech and Trek story. “I truly imagine more of my group and individual work becoming more seamless and being improved through this technology.”
Chenoweth envisions Tech and Trek’s possibilities for students in the health and conservation course she and Emily McClung, instructor of nursing, will teach in Zambia during the fall 3-Week term.
“Emily and have already talked about how this will make it easier for students to bring along their assigned texts on their devices,” Chenoweth says. “Students will also be able to share their reflective journals throughout the trip. Instead of us having to collect student notebooks, students will be able to air drop their reflections to us, allowing us to give them more frequent feedback. Tech and Trek is a game changer.”