The University of Western Sydney will give iPads to 11,000 new students and academic staff in 2013, according to a statement issued today by the university. UWS's Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education Professor Kerri-Lee Krause said, "With digital technology revolutionizing how we connect and interact with the world, university study should be no different. This initiative will not only readily equip our students and academic staff with mobile tools to enhance learning, it will also help them to engage with an ever-increasing online world."
Tablets are quickly becoming a mainstay of university life due to their portability, relatively cheap cost and their ability to provide education materials in dynamic and engaging experiences through apps and interactive books, like those made with Apple's iBooks Author.
The university already offers free campus wide WiFi to all its students and Professor Krause sees the iPad rollout a natural progression of its mobile technology strategy. "Over the next couple of years UWS will challenge some of the traditional lecture-style presentations by including more of the interactive learning that students value so much," Krause said. "Mobile technologies will be a key part of this strategy. We want to support our academic staff to make the most of iPads and custom-designed apps in class so that, even in the largest lecture theatre, students have access to just-for-me, just-in-time interactive learning experiences."
The USW iPad rollout is expected to be the largest iPad in education initiative in Australian history.