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College of Education and Human Development to provide iPads to all freshmen in largest research-based iPad pilot project in the nation

October 6, 2010

The University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), in partnership with the University's Office of Information Technology, will provide its entire freshman class of about 450 students with iPads, in the largest pilot of its kind at a major research university. The cost of less than $216,000 is being funded entirely by private donations and will have no bearing on tuition.

CEHD faculty, who are world leaders in academic technologies and postsecondary education, will research how iPad use relates to student retention, engagement, and learning outcomes. A broad spectrum of first-year undergraduate courses in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning will incorporate the devices.

The iPads will allow CEHD freshmen to access digital textbooks, which should offer them significant cost savings. At the University of Minnesota, textbooks average about $1,000 per year for undergraduates -- equal to eight percent of the cost of tuition/fees. Digital books often cost less than half of print equivalents. Providing iPads to the entire freshman class also expands access to those students who may not otherwise be able to afford the learning technologies that the device supports.

"Mobile technology plays an increasing role in student life and student learning," says CEHD Dean Jean Quam. "CEHD faculty and students are eager to lead the way in exploring the potential of new technologies, like the iPad, in and outside of their classrooms. It's the kind of innovative research that is at the core of what we do in CEHD."

The iPad is known for its reading functionality. Display and touch-screen usability increase the potential for accessing additional information to enrich readings and curricula. Nearly 200,000 downloadable applications are also available for the iPad, with more coming online every day. This offers a great deal of flexibility to instructors as they determine how best to use the devices to support student learning.

Students will receive their iPads in late October, giving them an opportunity to become familiar with the technology before using the devices regularly in spring semester classes.

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College of Education and Human Development freshmen will receive iPads as part of pilot project.

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