iPads Given to New Oklahoma State Students to Test Educational Use

Back when the first Kindle launched, and especially last year with the release of the Kindle DX, there was always speculation about how eBooks will work in education.  For years we’ve also seen a number of tablets shown off with educational uses.  Now it looks like Oklahoma State University will be testing out the educational uses of the iPad.

Definitely better looking than the textbooks we remember

Students enrolled in classes in the School of Media and Strategic Communications and the Spears School of Business will be given iPads for their classes.  Those classes will use eTextbooks on the iPads in lieu of traditional dead-tree textbooks.  According to the school, the ePub version of at least one class’s textbook is $100 cheaper than the paper version.  Not sure how that adds up given that there’s no such thing as a used eTextbok, but it’s still a significant price difference.  If all the eTextbooks prove that much cheaper, the 16 GB iPad essentially pays for itself.  Add in everything else the iPad can do, and it could be a much better choice for students. {Wired Epicenter}

Other schools, such as the Illinois Institue of Technology will be giving iPads to incoming freshmen.  All freshmen are required to take certain classes, where they will use eTextbooks on the iPad rather than dead trees.

Last year, when the Kindle DX was tested in universities, it ended up not being very popular.  Many students lamented the lack of proper page numbers for citation, as well as the singular nature of the eBook reader and the refresh rate.{Gizmodo}  Those issues may persist with the iPad, but there’s a better chance that students will find an app or two that makes them like the device more.  The Kindle DX’s singular purpose is always a plus or minus depending on who you talk to, but our hunch is that students will find it more appealing, even if not necessarily more productive. While being able to jump onto the internet to cross check a certain passage or find additional information sounds good, how long will it honestly take the average student to lose focus?  The iPad itself may not be the perfect tablet for educational use, but using tablets in place of expensive and not so eco-friendly textbooks is a cost-cutting move that we can support.

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