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:
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.
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.
AT&T to sell iPads direct to the enterprise