Microsoft has revealed that Southern Illinois University freshmans will receive a Dell Latitude 10 tablet powered by Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. This is part of the school's "Mobile Dawg Tablet initiative", which is a free program for first-year students offering them a Windows 8 tablet pre-loaded with digital textbooks, course materials, Office 2013, and more.
The school chose Windows 8 over the Apple iPad due to more processing power, more memory for the money, and longevity. "The tablets offered 50 percent more processing power and 100 percent more RAM for the money, they are more robust and will last longer, and they come with a better warranty than Apple offered. Windows 8 tablets have better technical features, such as a USB port, they are HDMI-compliant, and they have a port replicator so we can use them in our labs with keyboards, mouse and monitors. Unlike iPads, Windows 8 tablets run full-scale applications and we can plug them into our existing Microsoft management and security tools to easily maintain them in a way that’s consistent with our policies," Southern Illinois University CIO David Crain stated.
Here's how the program works. Beginning Fall 2013, these Dell Latitude 10 tablets will be provided to all incoming first-year students. These Windows 8 tablets will be integrated into the freshman curriculum in English, Speech, Match, and University College. "The tablet program will interface with most of the other technologies currently being implemented on campus. From academics (SIUonline, etextbooks, recorded lectures) to residential life (campus menus, dining hours, campus safety) to campus events (dynamic calendar, streaming video, athletics), students will have a smart useful tool available 24/7," the school mentioned in a FAQ.
The tablet also comes pre-installed with an e-reader that will be the central hub of the school's education content. "Includes an e-reader so you can videoconference with study partners in other buildings, track search results from around the world, highlight sections of e-text you have questions about, read instructor’s notes in the margins and even share ideas with study groups via social media. Learning is truly a collaborative, interactive experience," the school explained.
Not only will these tablets make things a whole heck of a lot cheaper for students since they will not have to worry about purchasing expensive textbooks, but the students can take ownership of the device upon graduation! If the student damages the device, they can return it and get a replacement device! Talk about a cool incentive to be a freshman at Southern Illinois University!
Southern Illinois University is also planning on migrating 30,000 student accounts from Google Apps to Office 365.