iPads have been a popular device in higher education for some time now, but it looks like the smaller version of Apple’s best-selling tablet is catching on as well.
Lynn University in Boca Raton Florida announced that starting next Sunday it will distribute 600 iPad minis to incoming students. The university said the move will save students hundreds of dollars on the cost of textbooks and help it deliver “enhanced” multimedia curriculum developed by the school’s faculty.
“We are one of just a few schools in America deploying iPads in this way,” said Lynn University President Kevin Ross in a statement. “It is the culmination of years of planning and preparation by our staff.”
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Pilot programs, infrastructure and training
Rather than simply getting on the iPad bandwagon, Lynn U. officials note they laid considerable groundwork preparing for the addition of iPad minis. The tablet initiative included pilot programs, a major expansion of technological infrastructure, faculty and mentor training, and a major overhaul of the freshman curriculum materials.
“We’ve worked closely with Apple experts, faculty and others to identify the right apps to provide the right mix of functionalities for the students,” said Chris Boniforti, Lynn's chief information officer. “But the top down approach is only one way to do this. We’re also going to use organic, word-of-mouth sharing to cultivate a powerful list of apps that will ensure students and faculty have everything they need.”
The university also prepared by determining which iOS apps will be “pushed” to each device and expanding the number of campus Wifi access points.
In addition to processing over 700 iPads, Lynn U. is engaged in an ongoing configuration of the devices with the various software needed to create the learning ecosystem it envisions.
(Choosing the right tablet and enterprise app development will be among the key topics discussed at the upcoming TabletBiz conference & expo in New York on November 13, 2013).