Drexel Announces iPad Vending Machine

Collaboration with Free Library to provide tablet access to Drexel students and Manuta/Powelton Village residents.

Had they unveiled it a day earlier we might have thought it was a prank. Drexel and the Free Library — spurred on by the success of the school’s MacBook dispensing unit —  announced yesterday that an iPad vending machine of sorts at the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will make a cool dozen Apple tablets available, free of charge and for four-hour stretches, to Drexel ID-brandishing students and library card-carrying residents of the neighboring Manuta and Powelton Village neighborhoods.

The digital divide-targeting kiosk is swipe card-activated, and the devices will come loaded with educational apps such as Browzine, Hoopla digital, Mango Languages, Overdrive and Zinio that, according to Free Library prez/director Siobhan A. Reardon, “have been specifically chosen to support the digital literacy needs for children, teens and adults.”

Drexel Libraries Dean Danuta A. Nitecki, says that the self-service technology enriches the way students access information as well as provides tools to “help our neighbors gain access to self-help training and practice discovery of information sources.”

The school assures that any personal information entered into the devices is wiped clean when they’re returned to the kiosk, which, surmises Apple Insider, is likely run with Apple’s Mobile Device Manager platform.