iPad: the new big gadget on campus

This fall, the hit course on some college campuses might very well be iPad 101, reports the Baltimore Sun. At the University of Maryland, administrators plan to hand out Apple iPads to about 60 students, part of a new two-year program called Digital Culture and Creativity that immerses students in new technologies and focuses on the potential of the iPad to shake up the campus experience. The iPad has experienced early success in the consumer market, with more than 3 million sold since April, and it’s also going back to school. On college campuses across the country this fall semester, some students are getting iPads upon admission, while professors and administrators are trying to determine if this latest digital gadget will have a place in the world of academia. The College Park program “is really aimed at the student who is a so-called digital native, who grew up doing interesting things online,” said Matthew Kirschenbaum, associate English professor and director of the digital cultures program. “The iPad isn’t just a tool or instrument for the classroom. It’s also going to be an artifact, an object of study.” The iPad isn’t even a year old but is expected to popularize tablet computers. Its benefits include a vibrant touch screen and media presentation, long battery life, and mobile internet accessibility. But the device, which starts at $499, does not print, which means college students would need to use another computer to produce hard copies of their college papers. Still, technology experts and college officials expect the iPad—and other electronic readers and tablet computers yet to debut—will help reshape higher education…

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