September 14, 2010
With colleges and universities opening their doors on a new school year comes an opportunity for the iPad to make its mark on campuses. The iPad's usage isn't limited to book reading, however. The Stanford University medical school has made Apple's device part of the curriculum for its 91 first-year medical and master's of medicine students, according to a new report. The University has handed out free iPads to each of its students who are being asked to use it for a number of functions. In addition to textbook reading, the University supplied iPad includes iAnnotate, a note-taking software program that enables students to write directly onto text, to sketch diagrams, to copy text, add highlights, or underline with the drag of a finger. Christine Nguyen, a Yale University grad, said she uses the iPad about 20 percent of the time, and uses her laptop the remainder for studying and in lectures. But, she loves it for anatomy. In anatomy class, students have traditionally used colored pencils to shade in the various body parts in an anatomy manual. “Look at this,” Nguyen said, pointing to the rainbow of colors in an iPad program used for annotating documents. Simply touching a different color changes the highlighting. “It’s so useful for drawing in anatomy class. It’s a lot of fun. You customize it the way you want to use it.” First year medical student Abdullah Feroze of New Mexico, who described himself as a “paper-and-pencil” kind of guy, appreciated that learning how to use an iPad now could be beneficial for his future as a doctor, given the move toward electronic health records for patients. The University's decision to provide its students with free iPads is definitely a work in progress. In fact, the University is regularly surveying each student to see how the device is being used by each of them. They will then use this information to determine future uses for the iPad. Surely, Stanford University isn't alone in its usage of the iPad on its campus. As the device matures, it will most likely play a significant role all across academia. If you are a college student and are using an iPad, let us know. Also, let us know how you are using the device. Leave your comments below.