Here is one reason to go and enroll yourself at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago – to become a lucky recipient of a brand new iPad. Yes that’s true. The iPads are being meted out to about 600 students of first year under graduate courses starting this fall in a move that’s going to cost the University no less than a whooping $250,000. This is as per a whole new initiative adopted by the premier university in an attempt to introduce exciting new technologies to students and faculties. In the past, educational institutes has doled out laptops as a means of winning over students but it seems that is passé with iPads being the current favorite.
However, IIT maintain their decision to dole out iPads as a few other schools have already started out with is not a marketing strategy or a gimmick to make their school become a favorite with students. Rather, IIT would like this to be seen as a logical move in the backdrop of the University’s renewed thrust on new emerging technology and with the university already having started out with the first courses on Mobile Application Development.
It is interesting to note that with this, IIT has joined two other universities – the Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania and George Fox University in Oregon who also have taken to providing iPads to freshmen. While iPads will be given free to students of Seton Hill University, George Fox students provides its student with the option to choose either an iPad or the MacBook.
There has been a marked change in the way things would go on in the education sector so that its not the same as it would have been even a decade ago. As IIT Provost Alan Cramb put it, “Students live in a world where technology is seamlessly integrated into virtually every aspect of their lives, where information and collaboration are available anywhere, anytime. IIT is committed to providing students with the tools and support to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.”
Illinois Institute of Technology is adopting the iPad as a new technology platform and has also drawn up plans to have in place a dedicated University app for the iPad that will act to provide students with information like maps, course listings or the latest news and events. This will be in addition to what the iPads are supposed to be put through like taking notes, reading e-books, checking e-mail and surfing the net. For the faculty and particularly for those who are into teaching engineering or computer science, the iPad can be used to build applications specific to the courses they teach.
The iPad will also be used as a safety device that will be used to beam out safety alerts to iPhone or the iPad in the unlikely event of any emergency taking place in the University campus. The safety aspect sure is an important issue with parents as well as students keen to know what means universities’ adopt to warn students and parents during emergency situations.
However, not everyone is convinced of the latest move with President Obama being critical of students being provided with the new devices which he believes is a “diversion.” In a recent commencement speech at Hampton University, he said, “With iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations – none of which I know how to work – information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”
Keep watching for more interesting tablet or e-reader news.