FAMU Collaborates with Apple to Launch the Digital Rattler Initiative

February 01, 2024
Twins getting Ipads
First-year undergraduate students receive iPads to support academic success

By Deidre P. Williams

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has launched the Digital Rattler Initiative (DRI) in collaboration with Apple to support student success. This spring, 800 first-year students will receive iPads and access to digital apps that focus on developing three 21st Century Skills—learning, literacy, and life. The first deployment of the device occurred in conjunction with the third annual Academic Success Summit hosted by the Office of Freshmen Studies.

The initial rollout is a pilot with four student cohorts to assess further opportunities for expansion. Participating first-year students and the faculty members who instruct them will receive the following at no cost:

  • iPad Pro, 64 GB
  • Apple Pencil for notetaking, sketching, annotating, and more.
  • Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
  • AppleCare+ for Schools to provide technical support.

Upon graduation, students may purchase their iPad for $1.  Faculty members who are a part of the initiative participated in a summer learning community focused on integration of iPad use in the first year experience seminar.

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

Christiaan Lewis, a first-year architecture student from Jacksonville, Florida, received his iPad this semester. He is immediately seeing cost savings and increased efficiency with using the device for notetaking. He encourages his peers to take advantage of this free opportunity.  

“I saved money by downloading a free app on my iPad that would have cost me $200,” said Lewis. “Also, I don’t have to buy several notebooks to take notes during class anymore. Everything I need is on my iPad and I am grateful to FAMU for providing me with this tool for my success.”

Students at Digital Rattler Initiatives with Ipads

Upon graduation, students may purchase their iPad for $1.

Jennifer Collins, Ph.D., associate provost for first year studies and academic success, echoes this sentiment.

“We are excited about the limitless possibilities the Digital Rattler Initiative offers our students,” said Collins. This investment will ensure our students are prepared for academic success and equipped with resources to enhance their digital proficiency skills needed for professional success.”

For more information about the Digital Rattler Initiative, contact Jennifer Collins, Ph.D. at 850-412-6595.

About the Digital Rattler Initiative

The Digital Rattler Initiative was piloted in 2023 among a small cohort of students within the First-Year Experience program at Florida A&M University. It has since grown into a comprehensive effort supported by the Office of the Provost aimed at equipping FAMU students with the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to thrive in the digital era. Through strategic partnerships, state-of-the art infrastructure, and forward-thinking curricula, the DRI focuses on fostering a culture of innovation and the development of digital learning, literacy, and life skills across all academic disciplines.