College student interest in tablets high, ownership low

Tablet computers haven’t become pervasive among faculty members, either. Two in 10 students said some of the professors used the devices in class. Nearly nine in 10 tablet-owning students said “professors at their institutions should integrate tablet-based activities into their courses.”

Pearson’s tablet survey comes three weeks after Oklahoma State University (OSU) released results from its fall semester iPad pilot program – one of higher education’s first iPad pilots after the product’s release in April 2010.

Five OSU class sections on two campuses used the Apple tablet during the fall 2010 semester. Cost savings stemming from iPad use was “difficult to fully quantify,” according to OSU’s tablet summary report, but through “maximum integration,” costs could be cut.

Students, for example, were able to buy cheaper versions of their required textbooks on their iPad. Buying these eBooks for two semesters could cover the iPad hardware costs.

Universities that distribute iPads to students could slash printing costs, the OSU report said.

“The most important consideration is the device must be truly integrated,” said Bill Handy, visiting assistant professor in the OSU School of Media and Strategic Communications. “Simply distributing the device without evaluation of how the course might be modified for its use limits the impact.”

Students used the iPad to watch pre-recorded professor lectures before they came to class. Students would then spend class time asking questions about the video lecture.

OSU students who participated in the pilot program said they didn’t read on the iPad nearly as much as they anticipated.