Seton Hill Will Give Students iPads

March 31, 2010

Another new Apple product, another university-based Apple-product giveaway. Seton Hill University, in Pennsylvania, has announced that it will give each of its 2,000 new and returning students an Apple iPad and a 13-inch Macbook next fall. The high-end swag is part of a new initiative designed to “provide students with the best in technology and collaborative learning tools” in anticipation that tomorrow’s careers will require fluency in Web 2.0 and its accouterments. Seton Hill is not the first campus to give away Apple gadgets to students: Duke University in 2004 gave iPods to incoming students, and in fall 2008 Abilene Christian University began giving its incoming students iPhones and iPod Touches. Both of those projects -- particularly the latter -- involved a research agenda designed to learn more about how professors and students could use the devices to enhance learning, and Seton Hill says its experiment will be no exception. The giveaways at Duke and Abilene Christian have also been criticized as marketing ploys. A Seton Hill spokeswoman emphasized the educational opportunities the gadgets would create, but acknowledged that the giveaway -- which the university advertised with a full-page announcement, redirecting traffic from its home page -- would be “an incentive to current students as well as prospective students to attend Seton Hill University.”

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