ICORE TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE:
WHY IS GC DOING THIS?
Innovation. Technological innovation has shifted to the mobile space and it’s being driven by the iPad and smartphones. There are manifestations of this in every discipline, some extremely compelling, some immature, all evolving rapidly. Our iCore Technology Initiative signals our intent to participate in and even define how these technologies are used in academia–to explore their use as teaching, learning, professional and creative devices.
WHO GETS AN IPAD?
- Incoming first-year students will be equipped with the latest iPad technology.
- Faculty members teaching classes in the GC Core curriculum will receive iPads.
- All junior/senior students will have access to iPads through our new lease/purchase program.
- All faculty will have opportunity to participate in the broader iCore Technology Initiative, based on submitting a usage proposal.
HOW WILL THE IPAD BE USED?
In year one, the iPads were incorporated into the new GC Core general education program and used to deliver an array of tools and orientation materials. This foundational commitment expands in year two to include the entire campus. We are adding a low-cost lease/purchase program to help achieve 100% participation at the course level when iPad use is required.
In the GC Core, the iPad is used to provide learning resources for an interdisciplinary course on Identity, Culture & Community — the type of course that has no logical single textbook. We are actively working with several other faculty members to take course fully electronic so that students can realize the savings of eResources more and more.
DO STUDENTS GET TO KEEP THEIR IPAD?
The iPad belongs to the institution while you are a student, the apps and content belong to you. Any hardware upgrades will be driven by programmatic needs. The iPad you have at graduation will be yours to keep.
HOW DO WE RECONCILE THIS INITIATIVE WITH THE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AROUND MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION OF IPADS?
It is the dilemma of our day that many of the products we purchase and use on a daily basis are produced under conditions that are beneath what we would accept for ourselves — from tomatoes, to running shoes, to gadgets from every major manufacturer. We actually believe Apple is doing a better job than many other manufacturers in both pressuring its suppliers to improve working conditions and producing products in an environmentally responsible way. For example, Apple recently joined the Fair Labor Association and their audits of working conditions are already under way. One of the broader benefits of campus discussions around the iCore initiative might in fact be to stimulate a more thoughtful engagement of our current use of consumer electronics and our need to recycle diligently and in a socially responsible way.
WILL STUDENTS NEED A COMPUTER IN ADDITION TO THE IPAD?
At this point in the development of tablet computing, we still encourage students to bring a laptop or desktop computer. While it is very possible for students to meet their computing needs with an iPad and GC lab computers, the convenience of having your own computer induces many students to bring a computer of their own choosing to complement their iPad.
WHY ARE YOU GIVING IPADS TO STUDENTS AND NOT LAPTOPS?
We believe tablets offer a unique set of benefits both in terms of content delivery and creation that laptops currently don’t afford. Textbooks become much more than just words on a page — they become interactive resources that offer not only text, sound, video and 3D graphics, but also study aides. Similarly, student work can easily extend beyond the written word and take on new multimedia forms. iPads provide students with a wide variety of tools in a relatively compact and highly portable format.
WHY ARE YOU GIVING IPADS TO STUDENTS AND NOT ANDROID TABLETS?
Planning for the iCore initiative began in 2011 when the iPad was the only viable choice for an educational one-to-one program. While Google has narrowed the lead in system software and hardware, Apple retains its lead in tablet-specific applications, security, hardware support and simplicity, making it still the appropriate choice for a one-to-program, even though there may be instances where an Android tablet would be an excellent choice.