When Apple’s iPad tablet went on sale to the public last spring, David Woodbury ordered 30 for the libraries at North Carolina State University to be available for checkout by students and faculty, PC World reports—and demand was immediate and widespread. “Literally, the hour we started [lending out iPads], we had students lining up to use them,” said Woodbury, NCSU’s Learning Commons librarian. That popularity is likely increase this fall, as schools around the nation are distributing iPads to students and faculty to start the new school year. Some are using the device to lure talented freshmen; others hope faculty and students will merely experiment with the tablet as a learning tool. But a few educators are betting the iPad will herald a revolution in the classroom, once-and-for-all displacing musty textbooks in favor of a mobile multimedia device that can engage students in new and innovative ways. “I think we realize that at some point in the future, textbooks will be digital and that we’ll be using a device like the iPad in the classroom,” said George Saltsman, Director of Educational Technology for the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at Abilene Christian University, where the device will be used in two classes this fall. “I don’t know that we’re ready to say that we’ll do that next year, but I do think that in five years all our students will be getting their texts digitally.”
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