Giving the iPad the Old College Try

April 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment


The iPad is cool, right? You know you want one. That’s how all Apple products are. You see it, and you want it. But what exactly is its purpose?

Cole Camplese is trying to find out. Camplese is Penn State’s director of education technology services, and he’s carrying his new iPad around this month — meaning no laptop or iPhone, both of which he usually relies on — to see if it belongs in students’ backpacks. He’s still using his laptop in his office, but other than that, it’s all iPad. You can follow the experiment on his blog.

Camplese cites a blog by Christopher P. Long, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts, for the reasoning:

The iPad is much less intrusive in collaborative contexts than either a laptop, which tends to come between members of the group, or an iPhone, which isolates individuals, severing each from the dynamics of the whole.

The Chronicle of Higher Education sees the use in campus life, too. “I’m writing this column on an iPad, sitting on a couch with it propped, very casually, on my lap,” Christopher Young writes. “Either I’m learning how to use it, or I’m unlearning habits picked up from so many years with a mouse. But one thing that is clear is how casual and unobtrusive it is compared with a laptop.”

According to The Chronicle, George Fox University and Seton Hill University have announced plans to hand out iPads to freshman next year to see how it goes. Who knows? Maybe some future class of Penn State freshmen will find an iPad waiting for them when they arrive on campus, too.

Amy Guyer, associate editor

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