As a part of the Top 25 initiative, UT is taking steps to help train professors on how to use the latest technology.

That includes catching teachers up to speed on the utilization of devices that many students use in their daily routines.

UT's Office of Information Technology (OIT) will host a faculty-focused workshop titled "How to Use your iPad" on Thursday in Greve Hall from 1-3 p.m.

"This workshop, it's focused on iPads, but you can use these techniques to any kind of mobile device," Jean Derco, the executive director of the support group at OIT, said. "(We chose) the iPads for this first workshop ... to just introduce folks to it that maybe aren't Mac users but are interested in the iPad and wanted more basic (information) ... not only how to use it in a classroom but the interface."

Thursday's workshop will cover the basics that users need to know to operate their iPad, including turning it on and off, downloading applications, storage and backups.

"A lot of these basic questions help you to be more efficient ... whether for personal or instructional use," Christina Goode, an IT specialist and instructor for development and training, said. "They (will learn) small things ... in that intro class on just using the device more efficiently."

Goode said that the basic workshop is still beneficial to those who are already using iPads. Faculty who have used their iPad for over a year have come and learned new things that made using their devices easier.

The follow up to the introductory class, titled "Mobile Technologies in the Classroom," will go beyond the basic and discuss how mobile technology can be a tool in the classroom.

"In the second level class we're focusing more on how you're going to connect this piece of technology to the other technologies you have available for you in this classroom and use it as a presenters tool and a means of engagement," Goode said.

Jonathan Jackson, a sophomore in computer science, is optimistic the workshops will help professors become more comfortable using technology.

"I hope that faculty would learn all of the wonderful and helpful tools that are available to them," Jackson said. "By experiencing the functionality of these devices, they could learn to better incorporate them into their own instructional uses."

Jackson, also an SGA senator for the College of Engineering, believes that technology use in the classroom should be encouraged.

"As technology advances, more doors open up to the resources they offer," he said. "There are some classes where you must have a computer or tablet in the classroom to be successful. Others allow students to do what they wish on them that allow the student to be successful."

OIT offers a variety of online and face-to-face workshops throughout the year for students and faculty. Topics include Microsoft Office products, Adobe products, research technologies and SharePoint technologies. A full schedule of workshops can be accessed online at oit.utk.edu/training.