Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is requiring all incoming freshman to have iPads for class beginning this fall, officials said.
Students will be using the tablets to download e-textbooks and utilize article databases like JSTOR, LexisNexis and EBSCOhost. ASU faculty will also use services like iTunes U and iBooks Author to develop innovative, multimedia-based programs to better engage students with the learning process.
"What we've learned is that a digital environment can lead to improved educational performance," said Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications and economic development. "Our goal with this is to create an immersive experience in which technology is embedded within the curriculum."
Gina Hogue, who serves as the university's associate chancellor for academic services, noted that faculty will also benefit from the new technology because it allows professors to develop better mentor-student interaction.
"When I have the opportunity to see (students) teach, I set the iPad up and use FaceTime," Hogue said. "It just gives me constant access to the students and gives me an opportunity to build a close relationship."
Freshmen who do not already have iPads may rent or purchase them at the ASU IT store on campus.
Schools within the University of Arkansas system do not require students to have iPads, though it has been disucssed and might be considered in the future.