For second year Wheaton graduate student Isaac Chiles, what began as an excitement for learning has evolved into the creation of something he hopes will fill a gap for students’ needs and interests.
Chiles has launched eduSwipe, an application designed to provide information and research material as reliable as a textbook, but as readable and straightforward as a Wikipedia article.
After completing undergraduate work at Bryan College, Chiles went on to earn a Master’s degree in communication culture from Trinity International University and work at a hospital for trauma services, where his job was to alert families about the loss of their loved ones. He stated that Apple later hired him because they said, “If you can tell people that they lost their family, you can tell them they lost their picture.”
After these heavy experiences with both communication and technology, Chiles enrolled in the Wheaton Graduate program for history of Christianity and began searching for a resource which would enable further learning on the history of the Church. “All I found was Wikipedia,” he commented, “which does me no good. It’s just not reliable.” He also looked into creating his own database through books, an option which would have been costly in both time and money.
However, what seemed to him a futile search for information led to a productive end: Chiles’ idea of creating the resource that he could not find. He brought the idea to his advisor, professor of theology and history of Christianity Dr. Jennifer McNutt, who, he said, greatly supported it. The journey yielded eduSwipe, an application that allows anyone with a smartphone, iPod or iPad to access articles written by authors whom he hopes are not only experts in the field they write on, but also have an immense passion for their area of expertise. A goal of the product is for the instructors’ passion to connect with the learners who purchase the app. Chiles said that he wants readers to ask, “Why did (the writer) devote their life to the study of this (subject)?” These authors include professor of history Dr. Scott Lingenfelter, who says of eduSwipe, “Professionals in higher education have so many resources to complement learning these days, but as far as I know, eduSwipe is the only one that combines the latest mobile technology with peer-reviewed standards of excellence. I think style will set it apart. The articles are thorough but not encyclopedic, and engaging without being chatty. Because of that, I believe it will appeal to instructors, students and general enthusiasts.”
Chiles said that he would have found many opportunities to use his application previously, both as a student in a classroom and as an individual who desires to learn about subjects that fascinate him. “I was terrible at the sciences,” he said, “but fascinated by them.” An app for chemistry or biology would have enabled him to learn more about the subjects, aiding him in class and giving the confidence to succeed with some extra help.
The eduSwipe apps consist of a series of articles available for individual purchase at a small cost, making them more affordable than larger and more cumbersome textbooks. Each subject contains roughly 50 articles of approximately 500-750 words, so that the brevity of the articles will make information access easier. As they go through classes, Chiles hopes that students will be able to search for information they would find helpful or interesting. The apps are also equipped with intext linking, so that any confusing concepts can be cross-referenced as the articles are being read.
Chiles hopes that users find the app helpful and simply enjoyable. “One of the best parts,” he laughingly said, “is that I get to read everything.” Because the app was recently released, he would appreciate any input which will aid either goal for the product.
EduSwipe apps can be easily accessed through the website, http://www.eduswipe.com.