There is an interesting article in THiNK Magazine, Stony Brook University’s “first progressive campus publication,” about whether or not the iPad will revolutionize Higher Education.  “Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania will be handing out iPads to their entire incoming freshman class this fall, and George Fox University will give students an option between a Macbook and an iPad for their freshmen.  Both schools have expressed hope that devices like the iPad will reduce the number of textbooks needed by students and make other common academic necessities—PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, online components like Blackboard—available all in one place.”

How might an iPad “reduce the number of textbooks needed by students”?  Well, these schools are banking on the hope that students will be able to download digital textbooks–which will lighten their backpacks–and extract less money from their wallets–as digital textbooks are “much cheaper” than conventional printed ones. 

“David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas-Dallas, . . . wrote in a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education.”  Parry states, “imagine . . . if the iTunes model for music were applied to textbooks. Students buying individual chapters at a time rather than the full book. Students renting textbooks for a few weeks as necessary. Those innovations were what revolutionized the music industry in iTunes. Can the same be done for textbooks?”  I can see this being a huge industry.  Perhaps students in the same class could purchase different chapters and share the expense!?  If the iPad can lighten a student’s burden–both physically and financially–then Apple just might just start an educational revolution with the iPad.

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