College only has eyes for iPads

Regis joins the ranks of schools using the iPad.

All students and faculty at Regis College in Weston, Mass., will get iPads when the fall semester begins, the latest in a growing number of educational institutions to take the digital leap to tablets.

What’s more, all students at the small campus will take Apple’s popular tablet with them upon graduation. The school purchased 1,250 iPads for all full-time students and its faculty. The iPad 2 models have 16 GB and are Wi-Fi only, for a price of $380 each, and the college says it will replace each device every two years.

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The half-a-million-dollar investment aims to increase collaboration among students and faculty and turn classrooms into dexterous labs of learning.

“It’s very engaging to have multimedia capabilities in the classroom,” said Marla Botelho, chief information officer at Regis. “People learn in different ways.”

Though the iPad will not entirely replace textbooks, that’s the direction the college plans to go in, Botelho said.

Apple and Microsoft are jockeying for position within the halls of learning, with Apple increasingly partnering with educational institutions, particularly elementary schools that usually charge parents a deeply discounted fee for student iPads. Other colleges that have invested in iPads for students include Hood College and Seton Hill and Freed-Hardeman universities.

Andrea Humphry, a professor of English at Regis, plans to use the iPads to conduct instant surveys of her class with a group polling app called eClicker.

“It’s a way of employing more of their senses at once,” she said.

They’ll also use the Keynote app to produce multimedia presentations on the material they’re learning, Humphry said.

Humphry said some people have asked her whether students will be distracted by the iPads.

“My response is that they already are,” she said. “Instead of fighting it, we’re saying we value what you’re doing, and let’s bring it on top of the desk. At that point, we all become colleagues.”

Copyright (c) 2012, the Boston Herald. Visit the Boston Herald online at Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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