Bowdoin College is expanding its iPad lending program to include MacBook Pro laptops to ensure students can access software specific to their coursework, the Maine college announced on Tuesday.
Incoming freshmen will receive an iPad Mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Apple Pencil for their time at Bowdoin, while returning students can pick up a computer to compliment their existing devices, the college said. Bowdoin, like many higher education institutions, started a device-lending program during the pandemic, which cut off access from on-campus computers. Continuing to provide the iPads, as well as issuing computers, will further the school’s mission to “level the playing field” when students enter college, Bowdoin President Clayton Rose said in the announcement.
“During the pandemic we witnessed firsthand the power of a common technology platform for teaching and learning, along with the substantial and differential benefits that come with the combination of a laptop and iPad with an Apple Pencil,” he said.
Numerous other schools announced new iPad lending programs last summer, including the California State University system, which lent out iPads to 35,000 students across its campuses. Along with confirming that students have access to an internet-connected device, these programs are designed so instructors can take advantage of the technology, designing courses and projects with the same software and operating systems.
Tablet computers come with some shortcomings, however — they don’t typically have as much storage as desktop or laptop computers, and Windows and macOS programs do not run on iPads. Many publishers, however, such as Adobe, offer iPad-specific versions of their software, but some students need access to programs like video-editing software or analytics software that can only run on a desktop computer. Examples include Apple’s Final Cut Pro and IBM’s SPSS data management software.