It may appear to be an April Fool post, but it isn’t: starting in the fall, a college will give free Apple laptops and iPads to its freshmen.
Here’s how Seton Hill University of Greensburg, PA, is pitching the idea to its student body:
“Beginning in the fall of 2010, all first year undergraduate students at Seton Hill will receive a 13" MacBook laptop and an iPad. You will have complete access to these mobile technologies for classes as well as at all times for personal use. After two years, Seton Hill will replace your laptop with a new one—one that you can take with you when you graduate! With this technology at your fingertips, you can create a just-in-time learning environment, stay in touch with professors, advisors, and classmates, research any topic at any time, engage in hybrid and fully on-line courses, and access a whole host of Seton Hill technology services. In doing so, you will be learning the technological skills you'll need in the twenty-first century workforce.”
The offer is part of Seton Hill’s “Griffin Technology Advantage,” an initiative aimed at instilling "creative literacy" based on technology-aided research and blended learning styles.
It’s certainly a forward-looking academic strategy, and free Apple hardware could be a powerful recruiting incentive for high school seniors considering Seton Hill as a college destination. But maybe all of that campus connectivity will prove to be a mixed blessing. As the Mashable site notes, there is “no word yet on whether the expected profusion of gaming apps for the iPad will be banned during class time.”