Hood College: Freshman orientation and an iPad


As part of a pilot program, Hood College will provide an iPad 2 to each incoming freshman—about 311 students.

Without an iPad, Karly Reigel, an incoming freshman at Hood College in Frederick, Md., might have been studying elementary and special education elsewhere.

“I had already liked Hood, and when I heard they were giving away iPads I was like, ‘I’m definitely coming here,'” Reigel said.

The Reading, Pa., native joined 106 other first-year students on campus June 13 at the first of the college’s three summer orientations.

The orientation sessions allow incoming freshmen to sign up for classes, get a photo ID, and meet classmates.

As part of a pilot program, Hood will provide an iPad 2 to each incoming freshman—about 311 students—according to college President Ron Volpe.

Volpe personally handed out the first iPad of the day to Taylor Anderson of Rindge, N.H. Anderson said he decided to attend Hood to study management before he knew he would receive an iPad.

“It feels pretty sweet,” he said of receiving the first iPad. “I can’t wait to use it and utilize it for schoolwork.”

Hood students’ iPads will feature an iHood application, designed by computer science student Nathan Jacobson. The application allows students quick access to a campus map, the college website and news site, the Frederick weather forecast, the campus calendar and directory, and the college’s YouTube site.

The program will be evaluated in late fall to determine if the college should continue to distribute iPads to freshmen, Volpe said. A gift from the estate of Hood alumna Peggy Whitehead provided the funding.

Like Reigel, Middletown High School graduate Gretchen Whitesell said the iPad factored into her decision to attend Hood.

“I just thought it was awesome,” she said. “I always wanted one.”

More than 2,000 prospective students applied to Hood College this year, but in the next few years Volpe said the freshman classes will continue to number about 300 students.

“That gives us optimal enrollment,” Volpe said.

Students will receive iPads at the three summer orientation sessions rather than when they arrive for classes in August, not only so they can learn how to use them but also so they can complete their first assignment, Provost Katherine Conway-Turner said.

The assignment is to read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini and blog about it throughout the summer, both of which they’ll be able to do on the iPad, she said.

Hosseini is scheduled to visit the college in October to discuss the book.

During orientation, students will sign a contract taking responsibility for the iPad, with different options to insure it. If an iPad breaks during the summer, Hood will not provide a replacement.

Once all students return to campus in August, the freshmen won’t be the only students with iPads. The library will have 20 available for checkout, and a cart of iPads will be available for students if their professor decides to use them in class.

“The key here is this is still a pilot test,” Volpe said. “We’re going to do a lot of assessment after the first semester to see, do we take the next step and get them for everyone?”

Copyright (c) 2011, The Frederick News-Post. To see more of the Frederick News-Post or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.fredericknewspost.com. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Sign up for our newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.