On Wednesday, the Ohio State Department of Athletics announced plans to provide its student athletes with iPads starting in fall of 2012. This move stems from a broader university initiative, the Digital First Program, which aims to optimize the use of technology in the classroom and foster a digital learning environment. In the fall, only 500 iPads will be issued to select teams. There are about 1,100 total student athletes, and the department hopes to provide iPads to all of them in two years. A lot of that could depend on funding: the Department of Athletics is initially funding the program, but hoping to explore other means of support in the coming years.
The OSU Athletic Department hopes that the iPad program will help facilitate academic success for its athletes. Ohio State assistant provost for student-athlete success David Graham said that using iPads would help the school find "creative and innovative ways to enhance our tutoring and mentoring services for student-athletes." The school also hopes that through the technology, athletes will be able to keep up academically with the rest of the student body. The iPads, which will be available to students during their entire NCAA career, will come pre-loaded with materials that the department has traditionally distributed in hard copy. The Department envisions the use of academic apps to aid the students in their studies. Research has suggested that students who learn on iPads may score higher than their traditional textbook peers, so perhaps this is a worthwhile investment.
Related on SmartPlanet: