University successfully leading a ‘revolution’ by giving iPads to students


Students at Maryville University use iPads
Every full-time student at Maryville University is given an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil.
Photo Maryville University

Maryville University started giving an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil to every student in 2016. Today, the school’s enrollment is up almost 18%.

“We’re leading a revolution, changing the entire model of higher ed for students,” said Dr.Mark Lombard, the university’s president.

Maryville University, a private institution located in St. Louis, has 3,600 iPad, 350 Mac, and 110 iPhone devices. All textbooks, class notes, and homework are on the tablets. And 94 percent of  faculty build the iPad into their courses.

A faculty survey found that the top use for the tablets is student group work (73 percent). A tie for second place is student presentations (68 percent) and faculty presentations (68 percent).

Apple struggling to pass

Back in the day, Apple was the 500-pound gorilla of school computers. Now it has less than 20 percent of the K-12 market, and Google’s Chrome OS dominates. But some of Google’s classroom advantages don’t apply to colleges.

Chromebooks in elementary school classrooms benefit from having limited capabilities. That helps keep kids from playing around with them when they should be working. And Chromebooks are more rugged than Apple’s tablets, which fits children who are clumsy while they’re growing.

University students need powerful devices, such as an iPad Pro. And they’re mature enough to take care of a more breakable computer. But as students, they still need to take class notes, where an Apple Pencil is ideal. An iPad can have a keyboard added or removed, which isn’t possible with a laptop.

iPad goes to university

Maryville University’s goal for its 1-to-1 iPad program is to help students learn in their own way. “So many people fall through the cracks. Not because they’re dumb. Not because they’re lazy. Not because of any of those things. Because the way they’re being taught doesn’t fit their learning style,” said Dr. Lombardi.

The thousands of iPads and other computers are handled by Jamf, a company that helps over 14,000 organizations manage Apple devices. Maryville University also uses Apple Classroom and Apple School Manager, more commonly seen in K-12 schools.


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