iPads in Higher Education – Business Analyst Addresses iPads on Campus


You’ll find a number of posts on iPad Academy covering iPad projects and initiatives in higher education (select the iPad Initiatives category just under the blog title). At a recent Gartner symposium, analyst Ron Bonig addressed the topic of iPads in colleges and universities, including a session titled iPads — The Ultimate Consumer Device in Higher Education. Among the points he made were:

Campuses need to provide enough bandwidth and network Wi-Fi access points to support the demands of the mobile, multimedia intensive iPad.
Agreed. I’ve experienced the pain and the promise of robust network access from the teaching side and the technology support side.

The iPad needs multitasking.
Apparently Bonig didn’t mention that the iOS 4.2 update arriving this month will address this. See my May post for more on multitasking and app switching. There are also those who argue the unitasking of the current iPad is a better fit for classrooms because it helps to focus student attention on the assigned task. I see their point, but workflows in the real world often require multiple tools to take a task from initiation to completion. Confession – not paying attention to social media, email and other digital distractions takes work. I’m still learning to focus intently on the task at hand and avoid needless diversions. However, a task often requires multiple tools. Let’s not confuse the unnecessary distractions of multitasking with the necessary multiple tools needed to accomplish the task.

Battery life is the number one reason the iPad is a big hit on campus.
Versatility and access to thousands of apps should help to insure continued adoption and use.

Agreed. See also Going One-to-One with iPads: Learning on the Leading Edge

As older instructors go out to pasture, technology will be used more.
On behalf of my fellow “older instructors” I say baloney. I’d say something else, but I try to follow the principle I set for iPad Academy:

We should share what we know with humility and what we believe with civility

As I wrote in the About section of this blog, I’ve spent thousands of hours with teachers at all levels. Rarely did I encounter a senior member of the faculty who was unwilling to consider technology that may help him or her better reach students or improve professional skills. To the contrary, the more senior teachers often conveyed a sense of renewal and newfound excitement as they evaluated and integrated technology into teaching and learning.

Link to full article on Bonig’s talk.

postscript: I try to follow another principle as well. “All of us are smarter than one of us.” I invite you to share your comments on this and other articles.


About Andy Brovey

Dr. Andy Brovey, The Portable Prof, helps others make sense and make use of digital tools through his work, websites and social media. He has over 30 years experience in educational technology, including teaching, administration and professional development. In 2007, Apple Inc. recognized his work and named him an Apple Distinguished Educator. He started this iPad Academy website shortly after the first iPad went on sale to help others become more comfortable and competent with the iPad, in person and online. His latest venture is Teach About Tech, a resource marketplace for technology trainers.