Monday, April 5, 2010

iPads Paradigm Alert (ahem, cultural dopes)

Some excerpts from InsideHigherEd's story are below. Bottom line: iPads are set to be used/required for entering first-year university students, and are proliferating on campuses and in libraries generally. CMS providers like Blackboard are promoting their apps for the iPad. My take: This is the start of something much bigger and radically paradigmatic...proverbial genie is out of the bottle. Course "texts", collaboration, and information behavior on these campuses has changed irrevocably. This is, of course, something we already knew. But, it is manifest now.

excerpted text:

At least two are. Seton Hill University, a Roman Catholic institution in Pennsylvania, announced this week that it would be giving Apple’s new computing tablet to each of its 2,000-odd full-time students when they arrive on campus in the fall. George Fox University, a Christian institution in Oregon, will expand its annual laptop giveaway to first-year students to offer students a choice between a Macbook and an iPad. The year after that, there will be no more choice: Everybody will get iPads.

The e-learning giant Blackboard, meanwhile, today is announcing that it is launching an app for the iPad that will allow students to access their courses from the new device.


jkd said...

Hmmm. I think that this is a device that opens up a whole new market and new possibilities, but required iPads makes me nervous for the reasons that Cory details here and that Jonathan Zittrain talked about in The Future of the Internet (and How to Stop It).

We need Android/other open platform tablets to push in this space, and make sure it's not just a tethered-device AOL sandbox. Making that the default platform for academia - an environment where you could only consume what the Cupertino overlords deigned acceptable, and couldn't create without fear of censorship - would be very, very, very bad.

Hill said...

yep, tru dat jkd. i hope the iPad does for the "enhanced reader" market what the iPhone did for smart phones. trouble is, as you intimate, there's no competition right now. it's tricky. and, schools fetishize technology in myopic efforts to be progressive, cutting-edge, etc. i'm prolly still reeling from spending all this time i a VERY traditional lit-based English departments that LOVES textbooks purveyed exclusively from the university bookstore. thanks for good insights jkd!