Bowdoin College will provide every student with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, an iPad mini and an Apple Pencil in an effort to create digital equity across campus. The plan, which was announced Tuesday, will debut this fall.
Dubbed the Digital Excellence Commitment (DExC), Bowdoin’s effort will provide every current student and all future students with “a suite of the latest Apple technology and access to a full range of course-specific software designed to advance learning, inspire innovative teaching, and create digital equity across the student body in the use of tools essential for success in the twenty-first century,” according to an announcement by the college.
The DExC effort builds on an earlier Bowdoin iPad initiative. The new, more comprehensive initiative also provides students access to software used across a range of courses. The DExC initiative’s full cost will be covered by Bowdoin.
“During the pandemic we witnessed firsthand the power of a common technology platform for teaching and learning, along with the substantial and differential benefits that come with the combination of a laptop and iPad with an Apple Pencil,” Bowdoin College president Clayton Rose said in a statement. “Our Digital Excellence Commitment allows us to level the playing field so that every student has the opportunity to fully benefit from the technology that plays an essential and growing role in the learning experience at Bowdoin. Our central mission is to deliver an exceptional liberal arts education along with the knowledge and skills students need to lead in our increasingly digital world.”
In summer 2020, the college issued each student an iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and cellular data (activated and funded by the college for those students who had internet connectivity needs), an Apple Pencil, and an Apple Magic Keyboard.
The earlier iPad initiative was initially intended to ensure students had the tools needed to learn remotely due to the pandemic. Bowdoin said faculty and student experiences with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil led to many teaching innovations, but the administration increasingly recognized that students and faculty members continue to rely on laptops and software for much of their work and that students had unequal access to these tools.
As a result, first-year students entering the college this fall will receive all new equipment and software; returning students will use the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil they already received and will receive a supplemental 13-inch MacBook Pro with a full software suite.