The iPad is being flaunted as the Eighth Wonder of the World and media coverage has been voracious. Apple evangelists -- like Greg Packer waited patiently, with hundreds of his closest friends, outside the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. As the doors opened, on April 3rd, the hoards of technology enthusiasts descended and purchased over 300, 000 iPads and over the weekend 1 million applications were downloaded.
Like it or not the iPad has had an exceptional weekend -- now it's time to see how the platform will be used. In a recent Huffington Post article I wrote that education would be one of the largest beneficiaries of the iPad. Many did not agree with me and explained that I was overly optimistic about the iPad as an educational platform. The primary argument was that the iPad was an unproven expensive toy.
Fortunately, Seton Hill University does not agree with the popular consensus. The university is going against the grain and will be giving an iPad to every full time student. Not to be confused with Seton Hall University -- Seton Hill is a small Catholic university -- 2,145 total enrollment, located in Greensburg, PA.
I contacted Seton Hill and had the great pleasure of speaking with JoAnne Boyle (President), Mary Ann Gawelek (Provost) and Phil Komarny (Executive Director) -- about the decision to give an Apple iPad to each student. The iPad is part of a much larger ecosystem -- the Griffin Technology Advantage. The program was designed to train faculty and upgrade the infrastructure so the university would be prepared for technologies like the iPad.
I am being a little bit of a dreamer. If you think about the average text book and you digitize that text book -- then you will be able to update that text book. Ultimately, providing students with up to date information and that is the wave of the future.
--Mary Ann Gawelek (Provost)
Seton Hill University is redefining the educational relationship between the professor and the student. They are eliminating the monologue and promoting the conversion -- and ensuring that the flow of information is cooperative. I believe that technologies like the iPad are well suited for this task.
We see the iPad as a platform that allows our students the ability to call up information while they are sitting in a class -- to create and share information not only with other students but with faculty.
--JoAnne Boyle (President)