Several universities provide free notebook computers for students, which no doubt is part of their effort to attract students from competing colleges. Duke University gave free iPods to incoming freshman in 2004, with the intent of incorporating them into classes and other colleges followed Duke’s lead and even expanded the idea to offering iPhones. Consequently, it’s not a surprise that Seton Hill University is giving iPads to every full time student. I am sure Seton Hill’s news is but the first that will be coming from colleges.
The most obvious reason for colleges to provide iPads to students is for text books. I know it would have been more convenient for me to carry an iPad between classes when I was in college rather than carrying heavy textbooks. Obviously the iPad provides a technological opportunity to do more than a textbook ever can, but I wonder what it will do to textbook prices. I spent more money on books during college than in any time of my life. The skeptic in me expects the cost of electronic textbooks will not be significant less than paper copies.