The Learning Zone, operated by ISS, have purchased 20 Apple iPads which will be available to staff and students on free loan.
The purchase of the iPads follows the success of the Learning Zone’s laptop loaning scheme, in which students can book out laptops to work on, following the production of a library card. The new iPads are 16GB Wi-Fi enabled models and retail at £439 plus VAT each.
Chris Dixon, Head of Service Delivery and Operations for ISS, said they were “seeking feedback from users of the iPads to improve the service and look at any applications that may be useful in the future”. He went on to add that feedback would also help with the creation of their “new mobile application which we are hoping to launch at Easter”.
Apple launched the tablet computer in April 2010 and, as of December 25 2010, the company has sold 14.79m units worldwide. However, users have reported on online forums that there have been some issues regarding websites and personal information being stored on the unit. Dixon stated ISS had “tested a full wipe of the machine to ensure that no user settings are left behind” and that they had “not uncovered any issues as yet”. He added: “Current working practice indicates around two minutes for a restore factory settings.”
Students’ reaction to the iPads purchases have been mixed. Aran Wilkinson, a third year computing student from Cartmel said: “iPads are a waste of money. They are designed for a single user and not for an environment where hundreds, and potentially thousands, of people will use them. They could have spent the money making the Learning Zone a better area for users with laptops”. A similar view was given in a recent survey carried out by SCAN which asked students whether or not they felt they received good value for money from Lancaster University. An undergraduate from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences questioned “why are we closing the Nurse Unit but then getting in iPads in the Learning Zone? It just does not make any sense”.
However, one student who had previously used the Learning Zone’s laptop scheme believed the iPads would be a success. Ryan Killingbeck, a third year physics student from Lonsdale, believes “the Learning Zone laptop system has helped me out in the past and I will definitely try and book an iPad next time I am working in the space”.