Colleges, Universities And K-12 Give Mobile Computing A+ As Schools Flock To IBM For Wireless ThinkPad Computers

Wireless Cheaper Than Hardwired Network While Giving Students Greater Access, More Integrated And Customized Learning

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WHITE PLAINS, NY - 24 Aug 2001: - The explosive growth of campus-wide, mobile computing among colleges and universities is causing well-equipped freshmen this fall to add wireless IBM ThinkPad notebook computers to their lava lamps, popcorn poppers and year-long supply of laundry detergent.

Students from nearly two dozen higher education schools, including Seton Hall University, Northern Michigan University, University of Akron, Mount St. Joseph, Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and most recently Loras College, Oklahoma Christian University and Framingham State College will be using wireless ThinkPad computers from IBM this fall. Dozens of additional schools are collaborating with IBM to give all or part of their student body use of such computers. The cost is usually included as part of the tuition or school fees.

The phenomena of students using wireless IBM ThinkPad computers also includes a growing number of leading K-12 schools across the nation.

The wireless adoption reaffirms a fundamental change in teaching techniques with stronger emphasis upon students collaborating, more student-to-teacher communications using e-mail and more independent research and customized course work.

With the wireless networks, students can connect to the Internet to do research, retrieve and send e-mail, and collaborate with teachers and fellow students. Access can be made at any time from dorm rooms, libraries, classrooms and even common meeting or recreation areas.

Having connected computers in the classroom at the point of instruction, rather than having to schedule time in the computer lab makes the laptop and the Internet integral tools in the learning process, rather than a part-time supplemental activity.

Schools like wireless because it avoids the cost of installing, equipping, servicing and maintaining computer laboratories. Smaller and medium-size colleges are especially interested in installing wireless because of the cost savings compared to a retrofitted wire network.

Another feature feeding interest by schools is that the IBM ThinkPad computers have built in Wi-Fi* capability, helping ensure interoperability with other standards-based hardware. Wi-Fi is used with products that conform to the e802.11b wireless standard and enable devices to connect to campus intranets and the Internet at speeds up to 11mbps. IBM offers a range of Wi-Fi products along with integration and consulting services that can help schools reduce costs and attract tech-savvy students.

"Colleges and universities are setting the standard for wireless computing networks," said Lillian Kellogg, co-founder of the Peak Group, which offers sales and marketing strategy, research and technical expertise to the education industry. "Higher education has always been an early adopter of breakthrough technologies, and soon the wireless network will be as common on campuses as lecture halls and libraries. IBM's strength in notebook computers and wireless networking has made it an ideal partner for many colleges and schools."

"Based on the growth we're seeing, the number of ThinkPad's shipped to schools with integrated wireless capability could triple within the next 18 months," said Steven Stiles, manager of IBM's National ThinkPad University / ThinkPad At School Program.

Many K-12 customers like Randolph School, Huntsville, AL, Palmer Trinity Academy, Coral Springs, FL, Ribet Academy, Long Beach, CA and Clovis Unified School District, CA are also adopting wireless technology.

Emily Craft, staff development coordinator at Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama, adds: "The wireless network has freed us from the tangle of wires and cables that tether students to network drops. It is an invigorating experience to do Internet research on the campus lawn or calculate the trajectory of a model rocket launched on the baseball field. Even in the early grades students find a wireless laptop environment a liberating experience."

Teachers at Randolph School hand out ThinkPad computers to children in grades 3-7 from a special IBM cart that can be wheeled in and out of a classroom and that links up to 32 computers into the schools wireless network. Older students have their own ThinkPad computers.

Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, starting handing out IBM ThinkPad computers to all of its students last May giving students and faculty the entire summer to familiarize themselves with them before classes start this fall.

Vice President for Information Technology, Jeanne Skul, says: "Loras College recognizes the coming paradigm shift in education from a time-based system to an attainment-based system. ThinkPad Computers and wireless capabilities from IBM are essential tools to aid our students in our new customized, interactive curriculum."

This fall Oklahoma Christian University will give new wireless ThinkPad computers to all 2,000 students. More than 27 buildings, including residence and academic halls, will have wireless capability with linkages to about 140 Wi-Fi access points.

Dr. Bill Goad, vice president of information technology, said the decision to install the wireless infrastructure saved the school a minimum of $100,000 compared to installing a wired network. "For small-and medium-size schools, using wireless technology means saving a lot of dollars -- dollars that are hard to come by for private universities." He said the IBM ThinkPad was selected for students because of its quality, technical capabilities, including processor power and the fact it has the broadest signal range of any other computer now on the market.

IBM's Steven Stiles says students love wireless. "Computing that is so pervasive is also so convenient -- students no longer have to stand in line or wait until 1:00 am to get access to a terminal. That's a big deal, especially during busy midterms and finals week or when a term paper is due. At the rate we're seeing the growth of wireless computing it's likely that every major college or university will have this capability within less than ten years."

Stiles adds he isn't surprised at how many K-12 customers are jumping to wireless. "The positive impact of mobile computing on student achievement will be even greater at the lower grades," he predicts.

With IBM's ThinkPad University / ThinkPad At School Program IBM collaborates with schools to integrate technology into the curriculum and into the student learning experience. ThinkPad University / ThinkPad At School is a framework that includes Hardware, Software, Faculty Development, Infrastructure, Curriculum Integration and Support and Services.

Higher education schools using IBM wireless technology:

Albright College, Penn.
Anoka-Hennepin Technical College, Minn
Arizona State University MBA Program
Asuza Pacific University, Calif.
California State University - Fresno
College of St. Catherine, Minn
Framingham State College, Mass.
Mount St. Joseph, Ohio
Loras College, IA
Northern Michigan University, MI
Oklahoma Christian University, OK
Seton Hall University, NJ
Shenandoah University, Virginia
Southeast Technical Institute, SD
University of Akron, OH
University of California Irvine Grad School of Management
University of Incarnated Word, TX
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Wyoming
Wake Forest University, NC
West Virginia Wesleyan
K-12 schools using IBM wireless technology:
Clovis Unified School District, CA
Lindsay Unified School District, Calif.
Palmer Trinity Academy, FL
Randolph Academy, AL
RiBet Academy, CA
South Washington County School District, Minn.

More information about IBM can be found at

IBM ThinkPad computers continues to help lead the way in delivering enhancements, innovations and solutions that have shaped and defined the mobile computing industry. More than 13 million ThinkPad notebooks have been shipped. More information about IBM ThinkPad Computers can be found at

Information about ThinkPad usage in higher education can be found at and for K-12 usage at

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*Indicates trademark or registered trademark of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility

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