Kevin Kovalycsik: An investment in mobile technology = an investment in a student’s future

Meet Kevin Kovalycsik, instructor of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Law and Math in the Hospitality Management and University Transfer Departments at VCC. Kevin holds an MPA in Advanced Management and Finance from Columbia University; an MBA in Economics from Seton Hall University; and a BA in Journalism and Political Science from Rutgers.

Kevin’s interests lured him away from his hometown in New Jersey to Vancouver in 2008 to manage Venue Transportation for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Kevin is a successful veteran of global sport and entertainment facilities and events management with nearly 20-years of experience, including professional sports stadiums and arenas, harness and thoroughbred racetracks and convention centers and events management. Before relocating to Vancouver, Kevin completed his third-year as a senior director of the United States Tennis Open in Flushing, New York.

While Kevin’s accomplishments are too vast to list in this article we are showcasing his innovative use of technology for providing his students with the most current and relevant curriculum.

Dynamic information turbo-charges the daily lesson

Kevin subscribes to a vast array of global economic publications and continuously scans his sources for current material that relates to what his students are learning ‘today’. He then sends this info to his Twitter feed giving his students immediate access to the info. Kevin often teaches concurrent courses and therefore tags his tweets so his students know which ones are intended for them. Kevin notes that by the time his students get to class they have formed opinions and are ready to discuss and even challenge and debate issues relevant to the day’s lessons. Kevin points out that his use of technology models a professional application of the Internet as opposed to the social application for which most of them are familiar.

Making the investment in technology

Kevin encourages his students to make an investment in technology as an investment in their future and provides them with opportunities and incentive to do so. He ensures that his students are aware of e-books as an alternative to purchasing expensive textbooks. Kevin notes, “…accessing text and audio materials from online libraries can reduce the cost of a $160 textbook to $70” and subsequently, he encourages his students to apply these savings toward the purchase of mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Furthermore, he adds that the $90 savings combined with an additional student discount offered by some manufacturers can further reduce the costs. For instance, the Apple Store for Education offers a 14% student discount which further reduces the cost. This means students can potentially purchase an iPod touch for only $140 over the cost of a textbook purchase. Once inside VCC’s Wi-Fi environment students are able to access these web resources without having to pay additional data download fees to their mobile phone service providers.

Online bookstores and subscription

Currently, Kevin’s students access text and audio books from online sources such as CourseSmart and Overdrive, which typically gives them access to the materials for 180 days to 12 months.

Some resources feature online interactive learning experiences and in some cases complete e-Textbooks are available. Some allow a single download, which allows for access to the materials when web access in not available. All are viewable on any computer or browser-enabled device connected to the internet mobile or desktop device including Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile.

Managing the flood of information

With a massive amount of information available Kevin uses Pulse, a free news feed reader application to filter select feeds directly to his iPad. New posts from sites like those maintained by popular economic bloggers such as Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, etc. are fed directly to Kevin’s Pulse application on his iPad where he can quickly and conveniently scan them all at once. Subsequently, Kevin finds that major economic and business information news sources such as the New York Times, Globe & Mail and Aljazeera, provide continuous updates (some every half hour) and therefore he checks such sites concurrently, along with his Pulse subscriptions. Relevant information from all sources is then ‘tweeted’ to his students in preparation for their daily lessons.

Student-created content

Kevin enthusiastically describes a popular assignment where his students post videos of their own reflections on their learning. He points out that students tend to get very creative here and sometimes add interviews with peers and relevant economic and business professionals. He further notes that this is a growing segment of his practice and anticipates an expanded use of mobile devices by his students in the future.

For more information regarding this post, please contact Kevin Kovalycsik at kovalycsik@vcc.ca or contact the CID at cid@vcc.ca.

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One thought on “Kevin Kovalycsik: An investment in mobile technology = an investment in a student’s future

  1. Kevin this is so great what you are doing with your students. It was a pleasure to interview you for UT program renewal.
    You really are an early adopter an innovator.
    See you in the Cloud.
    Cheers, Ginny 🙂

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