Samsung is providing 4,000 University of East London first-year students with its latest tablets in an initiative to support student learning. These will be loaded with e-books, in order to reduce the amount of books students need to carry to lectures.
The students will receive Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablets that have been customised with software to meet their academic needs, as part of the university's Progress Bursary programme.
Each tablet will come pre-loaded with digital textbooks and links to the university's online library, virtual learning environment and other student information resources.
Professor John Joughin, vice-chancellor at the UEL, said he believes that the tablets present a "level playing field" for all of the first-year students, adding: "The University of East London places a strong emphasis on helping students to get the most out of the time that they spend with us."
The project aims to help students save money on textbooks and embrace the idea that current students are ‘digital natives', who are accustomed to using mobile technology to consume digital information and content.
JS Group, providers of learning resources and student services to UK universities, set up the collaboration between Samsung, the UEL and digital textbook platform Kortext.
Professor Joughin kicked off distribution of the tablets by presenting one to newly enrolled Norwegian student Therese Fjeldheim, who expressed surprise at being handed a new mobile device.
"I didn't know I would be receiving the tablet until I read about it online last week. I'm very excited to get it and looking forward to seeing what it can do," said Fjeldheim.
Further distribution of the tablets will take place during the UEL Fresher's' week.
Such a move by Samsung and its partners is indicative of the influence digital technology is having on education, ranging from compulsory coding for school pupils, to BBC initiatives to boost awareness of digital skills.
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