“The stories just kind of float across the bottom of the screen, and they come with what I would call explanatory headlines,” he said. “They don’t tease the reader so much, and that’s something I tell my students to avoid.”
Learning-management system giant Blackboard Inc. has joined the iPad store with its own application that lets students check their assignments, upcoming exams, and class grades on the Apple tablet. In an April 5 announcement, Blackboard said its app would be free for iPad users in “an effort to help institutions get started quickly in mobile [technologies] and to encourage use of the iPad as a learning tool.”
The program, called Blackboard Mobile Learn, will be available in June on platforms for students who use the iPhone operating system, BlackBerry, and Google Android.
Officials at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., were perhaps the earliest iPad adopters in education, announcing March 30 that all full-time students would receive an iPad beginning in the fall 2010 semester.
Providing the latest eReader for students is part of the university’s Griffin Technology Advantage Program launch, which “provides students with the best in technology and collaborative learning tools, ensuring that Seton Hill students will be uniquely suited to whatever careers they choose—even those that have not yet been created.”
Seton Hill also will provide 13-inch MacBooks for full-time students. The students will own each Apple device, meaning they can take the iPad and laptop off campus and keep the products after graduation, according to the university’s announcement.
The University of Maryland partnered with the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) to create a free iPad app for online children’s books in more than 50 languages. The application gives access to a children’s search engine designed by Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory to sift through ICDL’s 4,000 book titles.
“In today’s digital and global age, children should be encouraged to read anytime and anywhere,” said Michael Levine, executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, which supports investment and research in digital technologies. “ICDL for iPad does just that.”
The iPad has gotten mostly favorable reviews from technology writers, although some—such as New York Times technology columnist David Pogue—caution that the device isn’t meant to replace a laptop.
“The iPad is … not nearly as good for creating stuff,” Pogue concludes. “On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it.”