First-year students receive free iPads

Photo courtesy: Adobe Stock

First-year students at Florida A&M University are able to receive iPads and other digital supplies courtesy of the university. FAMU revealed the Digital Rattler Initiative in a collaboration with Apple in a press release earlier this month.

During the spring semester, 800 iPad Pros will be given to first-year students at FAMU along with an Apple Pencil, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Care + for Schools to provide technical support. According to WCTV, half of the packages have already been provided to first-year students.

FAMU officials announced that students who receive iPads can keep them while they are enrolled for their college career at FAMU, and students can purchase them for $1 at their graduation. The faculty members who educate students in the first-year experience course will also receive the resources from Apple.

The Digital Rattler Initiative gives students skills needed in the tech world, including Adobe Creative Suite, access to digital materials and the package allows students to submit assignments on Canvas.

Jennifer Collins, the associate provost for first-year studies and academic success, said, “The only requirements given to participate in the Digital Rattler Initiative is to participate in the First Year Experience SLS course, and it must be the student’s first year.”

Collins confirmed that 800 iPads were the maximum for the spring semester.

“The number of packages is based on the number of students enrolled in the First Year Experience SLS course currently offered both in person and online,” she said. “The best part of giving students the iPads is they have the tools they need to succeed in classes, take notes, do their work, and assist them academically.”

Photo courtesy: Adobe Stock

 Before launching this spring, there was a small pilot in the 2023 fall semester.

“There are no stats for the Digital Rattler Initiative yet because it is new, but students have self-reported that the iPads help them engage in classes and motivate them academically,” Collins said.

WCTV reported that the initiative is evaluating how beneficial the devices are to students and could hopefully raise retention rates for FAMU students.

“The Digital Rattler Initiative is empowering students to overcome the digital divide through access to essential tools and skill development, enhancing their academic journey,” Allyson Watson, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in a press release. “Utilizing the power of technology demonstrates our dedication to fostering student success and academic excellence and elevating the overall student experience.”