Starting in January, all new students who enroll at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, as well as the academic staff, will be given an iPad. The purpose is to make the learning experience more dynamic and effective.
Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, the university’s pro vice-chancellor, said, “With digital technology revolutionizing how we connect and interact with the world, university should be no different.” The rollout of 11,000 iPads is to support learning and teaching innovations across the curriculum and in informal learning environments.”
Education is quickly becoming a major market for tablet sales. Apple is, once again, competing head to head with Samsung in this arena. Apple has been promoting its iBooks Author software for creating digital textbooks and other curriculum material.
Krause said this iPad initiative is part of a comprehensive curriculum renewal strategy at UWS, which also includes more flexible study options for students and a blended learning model for all UWS degrees starting in 2013. She said:
“Over the next couple of years UWS will challenge some of the traditional lecture-style presentations by including more of the interactive learning that students value so much.
Mobile technologies will be a key part of this strategy. We want to support our academic staff to make the most of iPads and custom-designed apps in class so that, even in the largest lecture theatre, students have access to just-for-me, just-in-time interactive learning experiences.”
Incorporating iPads, or tablets in general, into the classroom is a great way to bring learning into the new era of technology and more schools should do what USW is doing. Earlier this fall, a middle school in Sydney required parents to purchase iPads for students in grades 7 through 10. Australian schools’ inclusion of iPads comes not long after Apple launched the volume purchase program, which allows bulk purchases of apps with savings of up to 20 percent if bought in large quantities.