iPad pilots launching in higher ed this fall

A survey conducted by financial services firm Morgan Stanley in April showed that the iPad was most popular among consumers ages 25-34. Nearly three in 10 respondents from that age group said they were “interested” in buying an iPad, and 20 percent of respondents who own an iPhone, iPod, or Mac computer were “extremely interested” in buying Apple’s latest release, compared with 4.6 percent of respondents overall.

Oklahoma State University (OSU) will oversea one of this fall’s biggest iPad pilots when it gives the device to 125 students in five courses within the School of Media and Strategic Communications and the Spears School of Business at the university’s Tulsa and Stillwater campuses.

OSU officials said they would track cost savings in the iPad test run. Students enrolled in one course in the pilot program will save about $100 on the course textbook, which can be downloaded and read on the iPad.

“This pilot … will provide valuable insight into the research benefits of the Apple iPad in the classroom,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “The iPad has had an amazing impact since it was introduced last April, and we are excited to be able to put this powerful and creative tool in the hands of students and faculty and see what happens.”

Bill Handy, visiting assistant professor in OSU’s communications program and a leader of the iPad initiative, said educators would focus on how students and professors use the iPad apps to problem solve in the classroom, and “how the integration of these mobile tools can expand the tactical abilities of students as they enter the workforce.”

At Houston Community College (HCC), where campus officials piloted the Kindle in several classrooms, the iPad is being used by 25 students in an anatomy and physiology course this summer.

HCC students pay about $200 per textbook, the college said in a June 18 announcement, so accessing course material on the iPad will save some students almost $1,000 per semester.

Paul Garcia, a life sciences professor at HCC whose students are piloting the iPad, said the gadget’s video capabilities and crisp visuals could give the Apple product the edge over other eReaders tested at colleges and universities.

“Our students are already so visual as far as learning styles that it’s becoming the new wave,” Garcia said. “We, as instructors, are going to have to adjust our teaching methodology in order to keep them engaged, and in using the iPad, we can show the students movies and animations and give them a wide array of multimedia resources that they can tap into.”

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