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University of Minnesota to provide free iPads for research

Approximately 450 University of Minnesota students will receive Apple iPads at the end of October as a part of a major research project, reports the Minnesota Daily. The College of Education and Human Development will be handing out the popular tablet computers to its entire first-year class in an attempt to answer questions that relate to education research and technology, said David Ernst, director of academic and information technology for the college. Instructors that signed onto the project received their iPads Sept. 30 and are in the process of meeting and developing specific questions, he said. Researchers will try to find out how the use of iPads relates to things like retention, motivation, and student learning outcomes. The iPads will remain property of the college while students are using them. “Assuming this is going to be a success, they will be able to retain them for their entire career here,” Ernst said. While the policy hasn’t yet been solidified, the hope is that students will simply return their iPads to the college upon graduation. Instructors, who are not mandated to make use of iPads in their classes, are encouraged to use the devices so they are tools for education rather than distractions in the classroom…

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