The Ohio State University announces Digital Learning Initiative with Apple, free iPad Pros to all incoming freshmen

Michael Drake, President of The Ohio State University, announced on Wednesday that the public university would begin a new Digital Learning Initiative with Apple. The move will help the creation of a comprehensive, university-wide digital learning initiative meant to support the university, as well as the surrounding community.

The new Digital Flagship University will help in research, creative expression, learning, and teaching. In the collaboration with Apple, Ohio State will create:

  • a student-success initiative to integrate learning technology throughout the university experience
  • an iOS design laboratory on the Columbus campus serving faculty, staff, students and members of the broader community
  • university-wide opportunities for students to learn coding skills to enhance their career-readiness in the app economy

Tim Cook also provided comment on the partnership that has been growing in recent years.

“At Apple, we believe technology has the power to transform the classroom and empower students to learn in new and exciting ways.

“This unique program will give students access to the incredible learning tools on iPad, as well as Apple’s new coding curriculum that teaches critical skills for jobs in some of the country’s fastest-growing sectors,” said Cook. “I’m thrilled the broader central Ohio community will also have access to coding opportunities through Ohio State’s new iOS Design Lab.”

A new iOS Design Lab will also be built on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. It will start as a temporary location in 2018, before having a permanent, yet to be decided location in 2019.

The design lab will be open to Ohio State students, as well the public. There, students, teachers, or anyone interested in learning how to create apps will be given the tools they need to learn iOS design and Swift development.

Additionally, all incoming freshmen, starting in 2018, will receive a free iPad Pro. The device will be a 256GB iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

Ohio State has been adding new iPad functionality for students and faculty for a number of years now. Currently, iPads are used in a variety of departments.

  • In a “flipped” chemistry course, students watch lectures and complete assignments online using iTunes, which provides enhanced opportunities for dialogue and collaborative problem solving in the classroom.
  • Journalism students in the School of Communication use iPads loaded with tools enabling them to learn skills important to their future careers.
  • The College of Social Work deployed iPads to all staff and faculty as part of a comprehensive mobile education initiative in 2012 and published the first three iTunes U courses in social work in the nation.
  • In biology courses on the study of plants, iPads function as field notebooks to document plant life, instruction aids and supplementary textbooks.
  • The Marching Band, part of the School of Music, uses the iPad to teach and learn the band’s nationally recognized formations.
  • iPads have been supplied to medical students since 2013 and are used as part of clinical instruction at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

As this partnership grows, iPads and digital curriculum will be added to other areas of the university.

As a graduate of The Ohio State University, this makes me incredibly jealous they didn’t have programs like this when I attended. I can’t wait to visit the iOS Design Lab as soon as it opens, later next year. Of course, we will bring you first-hand accounts of Apple’s latest coding education initiative.