Just as local school districts provide a one-to-one environment, state officials say more than half the school districts across the state are using tablets in the classroom, a nimble, multipurpose machine surging in popularity across the country.
That's inline with Indiana's institutions of higher education, some of which also are providing a laptop for students.
Indiana State University spokesman Dave Taylor says their offer to students is even better than a discount: about half of incoming Indiana State University freshmen (1,356 students) received laptops this year as part of the university’s scholarship offerings. He explains the Laptop Award has been in place since 2006 and about twice as many students qualified this year as did in the first year. Taylor says the laptop is the students’ to keep if they remain enrolled in the university for the first year. Students are eligible if they have a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. That same laptop is available at a discounted price to students who do not receive the scholarship.
Taylor says more than 300 students also took advantage of a laptop rental program this year and there are printers stationed around campus for student use.
Taylor says the scholarship laptop comes pre-loaded with university-specific software. Students who purchase a laptop can have the software installed by professional staff members in the university’s Office of Information Technology.
"Students can do anything with this laptop that they might expect to be able to do with any laptop, including Skype," Taylor says. "They can log on from off campus. That’s important for all students, of course, but it is vital for the growing number of students pursuing their degrees solely online."
Cindy Scanlan, assistant director, graduate programs in management, at Valparaiso University, said they have much advanced technology integrated into the VU MBA Live program.
"The Valparaiso University College of Business offers MBA LIVE technology which allows MBA students in our Part-time Evening Professional MBA program to attend remotely live from wherever they are during emergencies or when they must travel for work," she explains. "I am not aware of any other program on campus that offers this technology; it was specifically designed for the MBA program because our MBA is an accelerated program geared towards working professionals who must balance work and family. Students attend their regularly scheduled weeknight class from wherever they are via laptop with camera and microphone and actively participate while the class is meeting."
She says that program is not any more expensive than any of the other MBA classes and it is designed for the working professional, as a back up when they have to travel for work.
The VU MBA program is among the elite 5 percent of the world's MBA programs accredited by AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and it exposes its students to the latest technologies. The business classrooms are equipped with projectors, a large viewing screen, televisions, audio systems, and every seat in the classroom has a power source and internet access. For students who do not have laptops, one is provided for them during class, and the entire College of Business Administration building is equipped with wireless internet.
The university utilizes an on-line classroom management system called Blackboard. This system includes collaboration features, blogs, contact information, email systems, test survey pools, grading centers, tracking reports, archived courses, electronic journals, and much more.
Indiana University has long been a leader in providing faculty, students and staff with the most up-to-date technology support for teaching, learning, research and administration. It offers the Catapult Center for Digital Humanities and Computational Analysis which offers a workshop and training series that meets throughout the year and provides hands-on experience in computational techniques along with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning which supports effective teaching and learning through the appropriate use of instructional technology and social media tools.
At Indiana University Northwest in Gary, bring your own device will be the theme for the regional campus as it will begin construction on a new building which will be "chock full" of technology. The new $45 million building at 35th and Broadway in Gary is expected to open in 2017, and will be known as the IUN/Ivy Tech Arts and Science building.
Carol Wood, Indiana University Northwest executive director of Information Technology, says the expectation is that students have technology and are bringing it with them, and the university is working to accommodate that technology.
"One of the things that IUN has done to accommodate technology is a service called 'IU Anywhere' which allows students to access all sorts of software," Wood says. "They don't have to install it it locally, they can stream it. We also have cloud storage available so students don't have to use flash drives to store files and they can access files from anywhere in the world."
Many courses at Calumet College of St. Joseph are supplemented with online instruction through Blackboard. Other courses are delivered solely online.
Joi Patterson, Calumet College vice president of Academic Affairs/Chief Operating Officer, says the college is supported through Black Board Learning, which is a technology platform for teaching and learning.
"Some instructors and programs use it more extensively than others," she says. "Currently we do not offer any online programs, but offer at least eight online interactive courses via Black Board. Many instructors are using Blended Learning to better facilitate student learning.
"Our degree completion programs such as Organization Management are supported by Black Board, E-Books and Laptop computers which are all built into the tuition cost. The laptops are essential for an accelerated format, allowing the students to work remotely and online. Qualified students receive a fast-track grant, which covers approximately 30 percent of their tuition cost," Patterson says.