Reed College, Portland, OR, was among seven institutions nationwide to participate in the Amazon Kindle DX pilot program in 2009 that found the device didn’t meet “the needs of higher education in terms of being an alternative to paper.” Martin Ringle, the school’s chief technology officer, then put the Apple iPad through the same paces and found quite a difference, as noted in this Campus Technology piece.
Ringle and his team at Reed College are preparing a white paper detailing their results, including a test to measure the level of distraction from the iPad compared to a laptop or desktop computer. Since the 1960s, Reed has had a strong reputation for adopting technology after careful analysis, so its findings carry some weight around the nation.
The college isn’t yet ready to make every student come to class with an iPad, but is working on getting more input from faculty and students. After that, it plans to look into cloud computing using the same step-by-step approach.