Category Archives: Laptop
It has been about a month since we decided to offer the iPad as an alternative to the laptop that we have been giving out to our students for many years. There have been mentions of this by mostly technology publications around the world with many comments ranging from concern to praise. And of course there has been a fair amount of discussion on campus about what this really means. Actually the greatest advantage for us is that it has forced our programs to consider what their minimum computing requirements are so that they can properly advise their students about whether they really need a laptop or not. We have no idea what the adoption rate for iPads will be but we know there is excitement growing especially with incredible hype that has been accompanying the scheduled release of the iPad this coming Saturday.
What struck me tonight as I was thinking about all of the standard interviews that I have been giving is that the most interesting aspect of George Fox giving out iPads will be the direct comparison to the MacBook. It has been interesting observing faculty consider and realize that the iPad probably can do all that they require. Unfortunately as I have mentioned before this is not exactly what Apple wants explored at this time in Higher Education. But this may be really interesting in that our university has totally defined the usefulness of a laptop and in recent years the MacBook for support of academic technology needs. Next year we will get to compare the experience of those who select the iPad with this wealth of laptop experience.
If you have followed my blog or George Fox University you know about our laptop program where in recent years we have given out an Apple MacBook to all incoming freshman. The purpose for the program was for marketing, standardization and convenience. The issue for us is the changing landscape of educational computing and the value dilution of a laptop for a traditional undergraduate. George Fox University happens to find itself at the crossroads for both of these issues.
We had been hoping that the iPad would be the perfect transition technology, but I address some of the shortcomings of the iPad that prevented us from offering the iPad in place of the MacBook next year. However, in looking for a way to offer an option to the MacBook we have decided to offer the iPad as an alternative choice. I think this will be a very interesting opportunity that will first be marked by the percentage who select the iPad and second by the success we find in utilizing and supporting it. Now we will make sure the iPad offering is as complete as possible and we won’t be able to give any guarantees that the iPad equally replaces the MacBook. In fact the smarter value choice would be for the MacBook, but what will the students choose?
There will be many reasons why students may choose an iPad and it will typically break down into those who already have their laptop of choice or those who actually believe that the iPad is the more functional computing device for them to be a successful student. How the numbers work out will be interesting, but no matter what I think we will see many iPads, iPhones and iTouches throughout the undergraduate population. We will be deliberate in tying to integrate these mobile devices into our Teaching & Learning strategies, but in most cases we will just be observing whether the iPad satisfies the technology needs for undergraduate higher education. Of course the rapid availability and our adoption of E-Textbooks will strongly influence the value of the iPad. Stay tuned.