It’s Education Week on CultofMac.com. How’s Apple doing in schools these days? What are the best education apps? Is iTunes U worthwhile? Join us as we learn more about Apple in Education.
We are a culture on the go. We work, eat, play and study on the move, multitasking all the way. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to understand the appeal of Apple’s new mobile devices, particularly iPads and MacBooks, on college and grad school campuses everywhere. Many schools are getting in on the act directly, and facilitating mobile computing by providing iPads and MacBooks to their incoming students.
“The trend in higher education computing is this concept of mobility” said Greg Smith, George Fox University’s chief information officer, “and this fits right in.”
Cult of Mac has been reporting on this trend all year. Things accelerated with the launch of the iPad, a number of schools announced availability of the device for students before it had even shipped. iRush schools included Seton Hill University in Pennslyvania, Northwest Tech in Kansas and George Fox University in Oregon, where freshmen have been given personal computers along with class schedules for the past two decades.
Not all programs are created equal, of course. At Northwest Tech an iPad replaces an iPod Touch that students were previously given; at George Fox frosh get to choose between the iPad or a MacBook Pro. At Seton Hill students get both an iPad and a MacBook Pro!
“The iPad was chosen by Seton Hill because of its mobility and the ease with which faculty and students, in the future, will have immediate access to e-textbooks and comprehensive and integrated learning,” said Mary Ann Gawelek, provost and dean of the faculty at Seton Hill. [The Chronicle]
The trend continues in grad school. At Stanford University School of Medicine this year, incoming students were given iPads with their orientation materials, as much for it’s imaging and diagnostic capabilities as to lighten the textbook load. The iPads are equipped with iAnnotate, note-taking software that enables students to write directly onto text, sketch diagrams and add highlights to material of interest.
Henry Lowe, MD, Standord’s senior associate dean for information resources and technology, uses an iPad himself. “It’s quite popular with physicians,” he said. “Physicians are mobile. They move around from clinic to clinic, from patient to patient. It’s a nice, lightweight, portable device.”
Not to be forgotten, Macs get in on the action as well, with the 13″ MacBook being the most popular choice. According to a Fortune magazine report in August 2010, the Apple MacBook is favored by 47 percent for those college students who’ve yet to purchase a computer. As Fortune points out, this is a complete turn-around from 2005, when 47 percent of laptop buyers chose Dell.
The new lightweight MacBook Airs, with their long battery life and sleek form factors, are also likely to be a hit with the student crowd and should start showing up in quantity after the Holiday Break, boosting MacBook numbers even further.
Along with many more iPads.