The Daily Gamecock

SG hosts informational event for iPad release

Library official displays practical applications for tablet check-outs

Student Government encouraged students to “Meet the iPads” in the Russell House Wednesday as it officially introduced its $10,000 iPad check-out program with tutorial of the iPad 2 and its applications.

At the event, Thomas Cooper Library Technology Lounge Manager Lance DuPre showed students educational and social applications to help them make the most of checking out iPads.

“One thing is when a student checks it out, we have all of our apps pre-installed for education,” DuPre said, “but if they have their own iTunes account, they can sync the iPad to their computer. Students can use their own applications on the iPad at the same time.”

DuPre and SG are thrilled with what has so far been a successful program; however, they are concerned with the limited availability, as only 20 tablets are available.

“Our biggest problem is that we have a lot of people who want to check them out, but they’re just not available,”  he said. “Availability is our biggest problem.”

DuPre said that when the program started last week, two students were waiting to check out the tablets at 7:30 a.m. on the first day. All 20 of the available iPads were rented out to students by 2 p.m.

Students may rent an iPad for three days and renew it once for three more days. After returning the tablet, students can’t check one out again for 24 hours, to give other students an opportunity to rent one. But, DuPre suggested, students who have trouble renting an iPad should try in the morning, since that’s when returns are most frequent.

He also hopes to create an iPad availability page on the USC library website, which will make the rental process more convenient for students. SG is hoping to have a reservation list as well.

“I think that we’re in a transition period where students can start to realize that you have your education, but it doesn’t have to be limited to just paper textbooks, Wikipedia or what have you on the Web,” DuPre said. “There are actually very good programs out there that can assist students’ education.”

Students had the opportunity to interact with the iPad at Wednesday’s event, and some said they love the new program.

“Sometimes you just need a bridge between a computer and a phone,” said Cedrick Hair, a third-year exercise science student. “It’s easier than pulling out a computer; who wouldn’t want an iPad?”

One app, iTunes U, gives students and faculty the opportunity to download college lectures, including some from USC . The application is free on iTunes and can be downloaded to other Apple and Windows products.

And while video cameras are not available for check out in the library, the camera app allows students to record videos, which they can edit in iMovie and other applications.

“Cell and Cell Structure,” one of the academic apps DuPre exhibited Wednesday, allows students to view the interior of cells and videos explaining the structure of different cells.

SG members hope the new technology will improve the quality of education at USC and get students excited about learning with new media.

“It provides students the unique opportunity to get excited about academics,” first-year marketing student and Freshman Council member Courtland Thomas said. “First-year students don’t use our library like they should. This could be a tool to draw them in.”

Students are being assessed on their experience with the iPad and are asked to suggest applications that are not among the over 70 currently installed on the tablets.

“We are always welcoming suggestions or comments on what could be better or what students would like to see,”  DuPre said.