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Ohio State students equipped with iPad toolkit as orientation begins

Technology is part of the Digital Flagship initiative to improve access and affordability

As thousands of students make their way through orientation this summer at The Ohio State University, they are getting their hands on new technology to help accelerate their learning.

The university is handing out the first iPad Pro devices tied to Ohio State’s Digital Flagship initiative. More than 1,000 iPads have been delivered since orientation began in May.

At the start of the new academic year, every first-year student on the Columbus and regional campuses will be learning with the help of an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil supplied in a protective case. Associate Vice President of Learning Technology Liv Gjestvang said handing out the iPads and getting students logged on has gone more smoothly than she expected.

“I think the students are really, really excited. They’re excited to be here at Ohio State. To be able to walk in and get a piece of technology that they can use throughout their academic career is really exciting,” Gjestvang said.

The iPad toolkit is designed to support student success and prepare students for a modern, mobile workforce. Digital Flagship will also bring an iOS design laboratory to support the development of new apps, and coding curriculum to help students learn the Swift coding language. Students will have access to coding resources, business partnerships and professional development opportunities through the design lab.

Malaysia Bell, a first-year student from Cincinnati, said the iPad, and the software suite installed on it, helped set her mind at ease.

“I’m excited because I was like, do I have to buy a computer or MacBook? And they gave us this iPad and it has everything on it,” she said. “I don’t have to get anything else except a set of books.”

Bell said she also appreciated how the iPad and its toolkit are so lightweight. Tyler Guzman, a first-year student from Pickerington, agreed.

“It seems like it will be really useful,” Guzman said. “The iPad is really lightweight and it comes with a keyboard that’s really slim. So you can fit it in your book bag really easily and it doesn’t take up much space at all.”

Bell and Guzman will have the summer to get used to using the iPads before the start of classes in August. Gjestvang said that’s a critical part of the initiative.

“It means everyone starts on a level playing field, which is exciting,” she said. “They all are using the same device. So some of the things that we can do around affordability, around digital content, around interactive textbooks with video embedded and things like that all becomes possible when you have the same device that everyone is using.”