Photo Illustration by Dan Leitao/The Mirror

Apple has gained representation in the average college classroom as more and more students want Macs when they go off to college. The question is, will students choose the iPad as well?

Apple is hoping that their latest device, the iPad, takes off in many different fields, but the biggest area Apple has to attract is education. The iPad has the ability to reshape how students use technology in the classroom both in grades K-12 and in higher education.

Apple’s iPad will come in six models. Three of them will work on Wi-Fi, and three will include a 3G cell phone wireless chip. The various capacities are 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB.

Apple has established that the iPad showcases many different features, some that the iPhone provides, others that a laptop provides, and a few unique components that the iPad will provide on its own.

The first and most important for students is an e-reader. For both textbooks and classic books the iPad has the ability to be the first e-reader will be widely accepted by students. One of the most attractive benefits of the iPad as an e-reader is that e-books will cost less compared to hard copies. Another reason that the iPad is attractive is that it brings more to the table then being a simple e-reader.

The iPad has the opportunity to become an integral part of a students day by being a new age notebook. But while Pages for the iPad will provide students with word processing, students will lose out on the luxuries that a notebook provides; with a notebook, students have the option to freely write all over the page as well as utilize highlighters and drawing diagrams.

A program like NoteBook 3.0 was brought to the iPad to take advantage of the iPad’s features, having the ability to transform the classroom. The concept of having all of your notes for every class in one place that weighs 1.5 lbs and is 0.5 inches thick is much more attractive to a student than multiple spiral bound notebooks and binders, not to mention text books.

The iPad would also be able to provide students with a more unique opportunity to learn with more options then the conventional methods. By utilizing iTunes U, Wikipedia, and other web based options, as well as the App Store which already has language learning applications, flash card applications, and grade tracking software. The iPad can become an aid to students’ every day learning.

The majority of college campuses boast an impressive amount of wireless coverage. At Fairfield, the only areas that do not have wireless are some of the sporting fields and parking lots. This means that for many students, the “Wi-Fi only option” would make sense, while having only 16 GB would be more than enough space for a student to carry everything with them, only potentially excluding their musical library.

The iPad will also bring together many features that smart phones and laptops provide students with such as email, contact management, and calendars. Quite often students in today’s world watch more television shows on their computer then they do on their TV. The iPad’s versatility to watch it anywhere will be a much nicer viewing experience then viewing their show on a laptop.

The only thing that is holding the iPad back is that it still needs a computer to sync with. At the same time, this means that students may not need to get a new computer, but instead continue to use their older computer and purchase a new iPad instead. This may pigeonhole the iPad to become a novelty for college students who would rather choose a new Mac than an iPad and a older laptop.

We will have to wait and see what Apple’s back to school promotion is this year and if they somehow work an iPad into the package.

This will give us an idea of how serious Apple is in its desire to make the digital classroom a reality.

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