Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

Summary: A bevy of universities have Apple iPad pilots underway. Here's a look at the bandwidth requirements and other moving parts involved with supporting an influx of iPads.

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A bevy of universities have Apple iPad pilots underway. Loyola is using the iPad for e-textbooks in its executive MBA program with a blended app suite for alumni collaboration. Duke University is testing the iPad in field research. Abilene Christian University has limited iPad testing in the classroom to build on an iPhone program started in 2008.

Those pilots represent a few initial efforts for iPad adoption on campus. Sybase's Eric Lau has a Google spreadsheet with more. The wild-card is whether universities are ready for the shift.

At the Gartner Symposium in Orlando Sunday, analyst Ron Bonig walked through the key questions revolving around Apple iPad deployments in educational settings. Of course, it's not like universities have much of a choice---the students are bringing along the iPad regardless. Apple products are the student preference.

But Bonig's points are notable because they also apply to corporate settings. Looking at the agenda here, Apple in the enterprise could be the big theme. Last year's conference illustrated the CIO interest in Google and its corporate email offering. This year's conference has the heaviest dose of Apple I've ever seen.

Among the key themes to ponder as iPads invade universities:

  • Is there enough bandwidth? Bonig said that campuses have to assume every student has a mobile device. The game changer with the iPad is that it is optimized for rich media and graphics. Bonig's presentation noted:

Institutions that have already fitted out their academic buildings with ubiquitous wireless will need to reassess the number and placement of Wi-Fi points as an increasing number of faculty members begin to use mobile devices and rich media in their classes. Unfortunately, what looked to be a technology-enhanced classroom two years ago may be inadequate in the next few semesters, if not now.

  • How is the iPad used on campus? According to Bonig, the biggest reason the iPad is a campus hit---and a major player in education---is battery life. Classrooms don't have enough power outlets so the iPad is the only device that can get you through a day of classes. Bonig also highlighted obvious items like e-book capability, sharing and a store that has educational apps, the battery life carries the day.
  • K-12 adoption is iffy. Why? The iPad doesn't have native monitoring. "If you are going to give underage students a device which can easily access the Internet for research and other uses, you had better have a way to monitor what they are doing," said Bonig.
  • Multitasking will matter? Notebooks still have one key advantage: A student can multitask. The iPad can't. As e-learning systems, e-portfolios and student IT systems are optimized the lack of multitasking will hurt the iPad, said Bonig. However, Apple is also likely to add multitasking at some point too.
  • The iPad has classroom limitations---no USB port is a big one---but can enable multimedia learning.
  • Education adoption isn't a slam dunk with the iPad. "Surveys have shown that a significant percentage of instructors not only do not use technology in the classroom, they also ban students from using technology in the classroom," said Bonig. Of course, he also cited demographics. As old instructors go out to pasture, technology will be used more.
  • Technology is being adopted and iPad is in a good position. Social software is being used in the classroom for discussion and Twitter makes an appearance. Meanwhile, SharePoint and Google Apps are facilitating collaboration.

Bonig noted in his presentation:

Though it is still early days, and we're just now in the middle of the first full semester since the iPad's release, there are a number of pilots and experiments happening around the country in higher education institutions.

Most of these efforts are small and are limited at this time to a program or a specific curriculum, though several institutions are issuing iPads and will conduct some larger-scale experiments. It wasn't so long ago, however, that a few institutions were issuing iPods and then iPhones to students. Most of those initiatives have ended, however, while generic laptops and notebooks, multiprocessing devices with wide applicability, have maintained their presence on campus.

  • And the final lesson from Bonig may be most notable: Don't get locked in.

Related:

AT&T to sell iPads direct to the enterprise

Topics: iPad, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Software, Wi-Fi

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34 comments
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  • But can the iPad connect to most uni networks?

    At mine they can't. Blackboard still wants to think it is 2004, and only support outdated versions of IE, and Firefox; and still runs on an outdated version of Java.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • That is not an issue related to the network

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 You are complaining about the poor quality of the web applications written by incompetent students (ie: the IT department) at your university.
      wackoae
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @wackoae That's not how I read it - I **think** he's complaining about policy at the University, set by staff, not students.
        Jeremy-UK
    • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 Check out Blackboard Mobile Learn, it's a free iPad app that can access the Bb CMS (note: your institution needs to enable it first). Google blackboard ipad for more info.
      Gritztastic
    • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

      @Cylon Centurion 0005
      It's easy to slam the current state of Learning Mgmt systems at Universities, but they do have a few grown up issues to deal with, like tying it into the registration systems, heppa and ferpa privacy regulations, and it has to be accessible to students with disabilties. Sure you can design a class in Moodle, but there's a lot more to it than that. And speaking of accessibility, how exactly would a blind student use an iPad?
      mmckee58
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @mmckee58

        The iPad has built in accessibility (ever heard of VoiceOver?) for the visually impaired. I've tried it blindfolded and it is quite impressive.
        RevolutionEagle
      • Blackberry: only fully compatible Slate PC to match up to Uni's Rules!

        @mmckee58 You can't beat it's instant bootup and security that defies anything even close from Apple, Google or Microsoft! ....hardware specs kick the H... out of all the other competition along with it's unprecidented Security features! .....and it almost ended up having the perfect name in BlackPad!!!

        The others may make it into the Dorms and home environments, but at the Uni... level Playbook will make the competition look like child's play! ;)
        i2fun@...
  • Enterprise management needed

    We really need some enterprise management tools for these things. There is no way to remotely erase a stolen one unless you have a MobileMe account the devices are registered to or specially configured so that Google Apps Administrator can do it.

    There is no way to keep apps updated. The apps are tied to whatever computer originally registered the device, so if you try to sync with another computer, it wants to erase and replace. This is unacceptable.

    Wireless reception is pitiful, so some classrooms may be problematic.

    And a lot of people expect laptop functionality when this is clearly a first-generation device.
    rag@...
    • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

      @rag@...
      I agree with most of your points except you assume a WiFi only model. Poor wireless reception can be eased thru 3G capability either thru AT&T or now thru Verizon with a MiFi account.

      Also, apps can be updated or added without the need for base computer synching. "There is an App for that".

      But you are right .. this is a first gen device. Still, for what it does .. the iPad is an exceptional mobile device.
      kenosha77a
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @kenosha7777 But then somebody has to pay for the 3G service. Many of our departments aren't flush with funds.
        rag@...
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @kenosha7777 How is the iPad exceptional in comparison to a netbook? You can't even set it up out of the box without having to connect it to a computer first. What's up with that? Do you think the Samsung Galaxy Tab will need to connect to a computer to set it up? I don't think so.
        mrxxxman
    • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

      @rag@... How many laptops do you know that have remote-wipe? (And wouldn't that be defeated by booting from the optical drive, or USB?)

      The iPad defers to it's host - this is not a bug, it's a feature! The iPad syncs with one computer, and the idea is you back that computer up, not the iPad. If you think about it for a while it makes sense. Why is it "unacceptable"? Again - back up the host computer. I've migrated an iPad from one older host to a new one, just make sure all the content is moved properly. Apps can be updated without a round trip to iTunes (on the iPad itself).

      I've not found the WiFi to be a problem - drops out around the same place as other (non-Apple) devices do. Mine is the "3G" version - I don't know if that makes a difference.
      Jeremy-UK
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @Jeremy-UK That's ridiculous! Apple promotes the iPad as if it was a stand-alone piece of equipment. It's not! And you never see them make that point anywhere. It's deceptive. How do you setup an iPad if you don't have a Mac? Can you do it with a Windows machine? You shouldn't need to connect it to another computer to set it up. That's bad design, or design on purpose that way so users have to buy yet another piece of Apple Hardware. When Apple and Jobs make these comparisons to upcoming tablets from other manufacturers they fail to say that the other tablets ARE stand alone products. You don't need to connect it to another computer to set it up. The Dell Streak and upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab don't require a "real" computer to set it up.

        You Apple fan boys swallowed the cool aid so long ago that you can't even see when an Apple product is crap. It might look great, but the underlying tech is immature.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

        @mrxxxman
        why do you keep posting this crap when you are REPEATEDLY shown to be wrong, and to not have any clue about the operation of the units you lambast.
        Seriously, your knowledge of the iPad is so close to zero as makes no difference, a dearth you fill with obfuscation and pure fantasy. Case in point:
        "How do you setup an iPad if you don't have a Mac? Can you do it with a Windows machine?"

        You can't even bother to find out?!? 5 seconds on google would have given you the answer! (Yes, of course you can use a Windows machine.)

        "You shouldn't need to connect it to another computer to set it up. That's bad design, or design on purpose that way so users have to buy yet another piece of Apple Hardware."

        Why is this bad design? Apparently simply because you say so. The last bit or idiocy has already been addressed.

        "You Apple fan boys swallowed the cool aid so long ago that you can't even see when an Apple product is crap. It might look great, but the underlying tech is immature."

        You are one to talk about immature.
        DeusXMachina
    • And a lot of people expect laptop functionality

      @rag@...
      Funny, And all apple zealots are expecting Win mobile to have all those features at first launch. A mobile os is a mobile os. All three os's will be on tablet like device sooner or later.
      mgaul
    • It Has Enterprise Management

      @rag@... Have you ever used one of these devices? Granted, I'm waiting for a Playbook but it irritates me when people spread blatant lies about products that they have obviously never used. To address your points:

      Remote Wipe: Can be initiated by a consumer using MobileMe. If you're a company that uses Google apps, yep... still have remote wipe. And, if you're an enterprise that uses Exchange? Remote wipe. Other enterprise management tools include policy enforcement, secure device configuration, device restrictions... So, what enterprise management tool are you looking for?

      Ways to keep apps updated? You do realize that businesses can push out their own apps, right? And that you can update apps OTA from your iPad... Again, have you ever even looked at an iPad or are you just regurgitating unverified opinions?

      Wireless reception? Really? Again, you clearly have not used one of these before. And if you believe they have a wireless reception problem, I have some ocean-front property in Denver to sell you. Seriously, we've deployed a significant number of iPads in the enterprise I work for and have not seen any issues. Their wireless reception is about on par with a Dell Latitude e4310 and slightly better than the current revs of Blackberry. Admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence, but with about 50 deployed to senior execs who are VERY vocal about any perceived issue...

      Expect laptop functionality? I can't answer for what people expect, but I've yet to see any of our users complain about lack of functionality. As for throwing the gratuitous "first generation device" out there. Duh it's a 1st generation device. And an impressive one at that. Not for me (again, I would prefer a Playbook) but I fail to see why this is a criticism unless you're just blindly criticizing something because it was first.

      Now, maybe an iPad is not for you. It sure isn't for me. But trying to act like you know what you're talking about when you clearly don't... that destroys your credibility. Next time, please try speaking form experience or... baring that... do some basic research first. Geez.
      eak2000
  • This is going to be a problem..

    I already see it at my school, University of Phoenix, they are locking themselves into the iDevice suite (iPod/Phone/Pad) when they should be embracing ALL forms of mobile technology, especially being an online school. They will shoot themselves in the foot if they continue down this path...

    As a consumer, if they fail to support the Android market - I'll have to take my education dollars elsewhere.
    JT82
    • Yes, you'd think Android would be more affordable and more flexible

      @JT82
      You'd think students and Universities would be interested in the low-cost of Android tablets rather than getting caught up in Apple's restrictions (and high costs). They could even develop their own tablets using the Android OS and probably just their own in-house brain trust to sort out an OS to go with any hardware configuration they wanted. With a ready consumer base in the hundreds if not thousands at each school, you'd think these universities would take a harder look at what it takes to develop their own custom tablets, and at the very least, should be considering technology platforms that address both iOS and Android as well as other possible future platforms for their students and faculty to adopt in the future.
      AndroidGold.com - Best Android Tablets and Phones
    • Of course...

      @JT82 you are aware that the great majority of U. of Phoenix students rely completely on federal loans for tuition, so they probably have a few bucks left for educational devices. Oh, there is the enormous default rate on those loans--which all other taxpayers get to cover...
      frabjous
  • RE: Apple's iPad goes to campus: A look at the opportunities, hurdles

    Oh, let me print out that document. No, my iPad doesn't print. Also, there are numerous netbooks that can go over 8 hrs for less money that come with a full compliment of ports and aren't tied to Steve Jobs whims. Maybe the next generation or 2 of the iPad will add some of these features.
    pwhite42