Students in the New York semester program will use the tablet to collect and analyze financial data.

Drew University students registered for the spring 2012 Wall Street Semester program will have a powerful new learning tool at their disposal.  Each will receive an Apple iPad loaded with apps that will allow them to use the device in ways not yet associated with higher education.

“Pretty much every other school that we’ve researched uses the iPad in a limited way: to read ebooks and take notes,” said Marc Tomljanovich, associate professor of economics and business studies, and director of the Wall Street Semester program.  “While our students will certainly use their iPads for both of these purposes, our central learning goal with this technology is to have them access and interpret financial information.”

According to Tomljanovich, there are several pieces of software available from Apple’s App Store that will facilitate this collection and analysis of financial data.

“There are apps that allow students to see up-to-date financial and economic information, such as Bloomberg and Yahoo! Marketdash,” he said.  “We will also be suggesting that students download a number of supporting apps, including a financial calculator and the online Wall Street Journal.”

In addition to analyzing financial data, students will be able to use their iPads to compose documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

“Each student’s iPad will come loaded with Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which are Apple’s analogs of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” said Tomljanovich.  “In addition to gathering and analyzing data, they will be presenting their findings, making these apps central to their experience in the program.”

Also, Tomljanovich says students can read course materials on their iPad instead of carrying books.

“Students will be using the Kindle app to read the ebooks that are required for the course,” he said.  “I’m planning to use the Dropbox app to share course documents with the whole class.”

Students in the program will each be provided with an iPad 2 with 3G connectivity, which will allow them to access the internet through both WiFi and cellular service.

As part of Drew’s Wall Street iPad initiative, students will have the option to purchase their Apple device at the end of the semester for a 50 percent discount off the retail price.  Tomljanovich expects that most—if not all—students will take advantage of the buy-out.

“It’s a good deal, no?” he said.—Michael Bressman