Frequently Asked Questions About the iPad
What is the iPad for?
The iPad is a tool that has real potential to be useful for engaged learning in higher education. At the moment, the most obvious use for the iPad is as an e-reader. Many texts are already available in iPad-compatible formats and more appear daily.
Beyond that, however, there are numerous potential applications for iPads in content creation and delivery, development and use of applications in and out of the class, video conferencing, improving opportunities for student collaboration, and other educationally relevant uses. Many of these uses have yet to be discovered, and we look forward to working with students, faculty, and staff to develop them for BVU.
The use of e-texts on the iPad has the potential for creating a “greener” BVU by reducing the number of textbooks that are printed, transported, and disposed of each year.
Why issue both an iPad and a laptop?
Laptops are a mature technology whose basic capabilities are well understood by the BVU community. They have been integral to the university’s operations for over a decade. They now have available a great deal of computing power and a wide range of software applications, and are fully integrated into BVU’s program.
On the other hand, iPads represent a new device category. Their potential is only beginning to be explored. It is clear that in the next several years the iPad, or a device like it, will probably supplant laptops as the basic device of choice for many individuals. At the moment, though, while iPads are powerful and flexible tools, they currently lack the capability to perform processor-intensive tasks such as photo editing, complex spreadsheet applications, and management of very large documents. They are, in other words, not yet fully ready to replace laptops in the BVU context. If they develop over the next several years on the trajectory that appears most likely, in the next BVU technology iteration they may well replace laptops for most applications on campus.
Are faculty required to use the iPad in their courses?
Except in University Seminar, where some level of iPad integration will be expected, faculty are free to employ iPads as they deem best. Faculty are strongly encouraged to work with their colleagues, students, the TLTC, and other support staff to identify innovative, creative, and educationally effective uses of the iPad in and out of the classroom. New apps are constantly being developed that will continue to expand the iPad’s capabilities as an educational tool.
When textbooks are available both in a paper format and in an iPad format, faculty are encouraged to note this fact on their syllabi and present students the option of purchasing and using the iPad version. The use of e-texts on the iPad has myriad implications for instruction, including improved interactivity, search capabilities, direct access to linked materials, and other dynamic possibilities.
The use of e-texts on iPads will, however, require an adjustment of classroom laptop policies to allow students using e-texts to have access to them in class. Faculty remain free to set stringent policies concerning use of electronic devices to forestall distractions in the classroom and they will be supported in the enforcement of such policies. The TLTC and Information Services are exploring security options for iPad use in classes to minimize the possibility of distractions. It is also important to note the sustainability impact of e-texts and the convenience of using textbooks that are easier to search and carry.
As campus-wide expertise on iPads grows, it is likely that their integration into the educational program will become more structured, as has been the case, for example, with ANGEL, BVU’s learning management system.
Will faculty development opportunities on the use of iPads be available?
Yes. Apple has an extensive array of educational materials that will be provided as part of our contract with them, and we will develop internal materials and support ongoing development workshops and other opportunities as well. In addition, we are devising strategies to encourage students to develop and share approaches to using iPads in their courses. There will be incentives available for faculty to develop deep integrations of the iPad into their courses.
As with the original eBVyou laptop initiative, we are committed to providing faculty and students with the resources and support necessary to be successful.
Are iPads compatible with Windows computers?
Yes. You can set up an iTunes account on both Mac OS computers and Windows computers, and iPads can be charged from any powered USB port. Software comes pre-installed on all Macs, and is available for free download from Apple for PCs that do not come preloaded with iTunes. Laptops distributed by BVU, whether Windows or Mac OS, will have the iTunes software pre-installed. Users will need only to set up their personal account on the machine.
Do I need to create an iTunes account?
For maximum power and use of the iPad, you will need an iTunes account. Many iPad-format e-texts are available via iTunes, and both free and paid apps are available almost exclusively through iTunes. A credit card or PayPal account must be linked to the iTunes account even if you are only going to use free applications.
What’s an "app?"
An app is, generally, a single-purpose software application that is installed on the iPad to perform a specific task or range of tasks. Apps currently available range from very basic calculator and calendar programs, to advanced games, presentation tools (which will be much stronger on the iPad2), and other similar uses. There are apps for art history, mathematics, financial analysis, and many other tools. Their advantage is that they are usually inexpensive, simple to use, and accessible via a single tap on the iPad screen.
Will the be an additional charge for students to receive both a laptop and an iPad?
No. The only extra costs incurred by students in this program are: 1) if they choose to pay an upcharge to receive a Macintosh computer rather than a PC, and 2) any expenses associated with purchasing apps and content to use on the iPad. In most cases, textbooks delivered electronically on the iPad are considerably less expensive than paper books.
As with the laptop, students are responsible for any damage sustained by the iPad in accordance with the terms of the student agreement.