As you know, colleges and universities love throwing in "free" gadgets to justify bumping up their enrollment fees. To this end, USC Annenberg has announced a new program to provide j-school students with iPads, digital cameras, and audio recorders to help them report the news. Now, don't get us wrong: we appreciate the importance (and we're big fans of) "the journalism," and if an upgrade from those long, skinny notepads to modern consumer electronics helps facilitate a new crop of Woodwards 'n Bernsteins, then so be it. But are these kids really supposed to type their front-line reportage with the on-screen keyboard? And haven't most students had access to proper laptops for years now?

In other "iPad in education" news, UC Irvine's iMedEd Initiative is providing first year medical students with "a comprehensive, iPad-based curriculum," according to PhysOrg. The devices are equipped with all the necessary apps for note-taking, recording audio, and faculty will develop podcasts and archiving lectures. Our favorite part of all this? The "digital stethoscope," which interfaces with the tablet for listening to and recording a patient's heartbeat. Once recorded, it can be compared to a library of over 3,000 heart sounds that typify specific heart conditions. Thornton Melon never had it so good!

[Thanks, Matt F]