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Dakota Wesleyan University Announces Partnership With Apple

Jackie Hendry

Dakota Wesleyan University becomes the first campus in South Dakota to supply each student with an iPad starting this fall. The university announced its digital initiative and partnership with Apple on Tuesday. 

Students gather in the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan campus and wait for what they’ve been told is an announcement about the future of their education. Most of them only know the name of the initiative: Digital DWU.

Dakota Wesleyan president Amy Novak takes the stage. She reminds students of the more-than 100 business leaders who came to campus in the fall to talk about trends in the workplace.

“And it didn’t matter if it was healthcare or education or the financial services sector, technology or our churches! All of them said the same thing: technology. Technology is changing our workplace and our world.”

She tells students what many likely take for granted: tech is changing how people learn and communicate in ways that weren’t even imagined a decade ago. Then she tells them their school is partnering with Apple, and joining a small group of universities across the country who are integrating technology throughout their education.

“And friends, I’m not talking about giving you a device for word processing or writing a paper," she says. "Starting this fall, when you come back, each of you will have your own brand-new iPad Pro with smart keyboard for a new kind of learning experience.”

After the announcement, students linger to watch demos from Apple representatives and members of this spring’s pilot programs at Dakota Wesleyan. Brady Hicks is a junior in the Athletic Training program. He says his class is creating their own text book through iBooks and collaboration with their professor.

“It’s been, honestly fun making the textbook. It’s a very innovative and creative way to learn when you have to create something that somebody else can learn from and that you can learn from yourself,” he says.

Other classes will use iPads for presentations, coding, storyboarding, and more. President Novak also says tuition won’t go up, but students can expect what she calls a small technology fee.

The Digital DWU program begins campus-wide in fall 2018.