Access to Mobile Learning: iPads in Higher Education

Earlier in March, Seton Hill announced that beginning in the fall of 2010, all first year undergraduate students at Seton Hill would receive a 13″ MacBook laptop and an iPad. Displayed prominently on Seton Hill’s website is, “Students will have complete access to these mobile technologies for classes as well as at all times for personal use.” Incidently, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Seton Hill will charge $500 per semester fees for the new technology program that covers the new wireless campus, recently quadrupled bandwith and the on-campus Apple Certified Service Center.

Seton Hill University is not the only campus that will be giving away iPads to incoming students this fall. Illinois Institute of Technology and George Fox University also announced that they would give all incoming freshmen their choice of an iPad or Macbook.

What is even more interesting is that students will have iPad support on campus along with other supports (as listed on PC Report.net site):

“Then in the summer of 2009 they invested over $500,000 in their internal network infrastructure which upgraded all switches from 100mb to 1gb, installed VOIP, wireless, and a greatly enhanced, tightly integrated security and management system.”

Other advantages of their network include:

  • a completely wireless campus, including the downtown Greensburg Performing Arts and Visual Arts Centers.
  • WEB 2.0 resources such as blogs, wikis, social media, webcasts, and podcasts.
  • assistive technology for students with physical or learning disabilities
  • online virtual worlds and computer games.
  • the “Media Sphere,” an interactive gaming room.
  • the “InQuiry Zone,” an interactive technology training center.
  • podcasting studios.

The ZD Net online post, “University students: ibribed with a free iPad?” had me thinking a movie in the 80s where college sports teams bribed talented high school athletes with cars to get them to come to their schools.

This does have me thinking about college recruitment and whether offering an iPad and/or a Macbook (with all the campus supports) would increase college enrollment at smaller schools? Will this hurt other small colleges in that don’t offer them (particularly those closest to those that are giving them away)? Is this enough to encourage tech savvy young people to attend specific institutions? Unfortunately I have more questions than answers….

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About Camille Dempsey, Ed.D.

Cultural Theorist - Educator - Educational Technologist - Media Strategist LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/camilledempsey/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/jcdempsey3
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2 Responses to Access to Mobile Learning: iPads in Higher Education

  1. Great post and I’m sure offering high tech equipment will lure people to their campus.

    I do think it is good that educational bodies world wide are trying to increase the uptake of technology to aid teaching. Though at times the huge benefits in tools, access to information, sharing and collaboration, can perhaps mean the individual themself are losing out on some skills?

    The days of us all using microsoft word and google as a spell checker will surely increase. Using a calculator on a tablet as it’s to hand wherever you, instead of working the sum out in your head. Reviewing your own notes you’ve written down, typing them up and working out what questions you need to ask your teacher…are people now skipping steps…. I don’t know. in some countries is limiting higher teachers to reduce class sizes? Again I don’t know.

    What I do know is that my parents generation are better than mine at english and maths generally. Often their generation seems to have better education and skills, yet they had fewer opportunities and access to resources.

    I welcome the ipads, I welcome the laptops, I just hope someone out there is addressing my concerns and others I’m not aware of.

    Again great post.

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