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Undergraduate students visit Apple HQ as part of Digital Flagship Initiative

Undergraduate Student Government President Andrew Jackson (left) and Vice President Sophie Chang were among the four students to visit Apple’s Cupertina California headquarters Tuesday as part of Ohio State’s Digital Flagship Initiative, a partnership with the company.

Four Ohio State students visited Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, Tuesday, the beginning of a three-day app development workshop as part of the university’s Digital Flagship Initiative.

The initiative is part of an Ohio State-Apple partnership in which the university will provide iPads to its first-year students starting Autumn 2018 as a way to integrate more technology into the teaching and learning experience.

The Digital Flagship Initiative is on track to begin during orientation this summer, giving the iPads to the first-year students at Columbus campus, said Cory Tressler, director of learning programs and digital flagship. A temporary location for a campus iOS lab will be announced in the coming months.

Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president are among the four attending students. Andrew Jackson, a fourth-year in political science, and Sophie Chang, a fourth-year in environment, economy, development, and sustainability — the president and vice president, respectively — are working with Apple’s enterprise app development team to voice the needs of incoming freshmen so the iPads can be integrated with certain designs and applications.

The Ohio State-Apple partnership lets the university correspond with the tech giant and “work with them on looking at integrating parts of education, areas of need, and things we want to explore,” Tressler said.

The visit is intended to convey the student experience at Ohio State.

“[The students] are the experts,” Tressler said. “They are living the student experience, so they are the focus this week.”

Kaleb Orr, a first-year in business, and Brielle Davidson, a third-year in biology, also will visit Apple’s headquarters. While there, the students will not be allowed to use their own technology.

Tressler said the students were chosen because they had a variety of experiences and disciplines — Davidson is a resident adviser and Orr is a freshman.

“We aren’t allowed to take pictures or anything while we are in there. We aren’t allowed to use our phones. From 9 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.] we will be basically without technology in Apple,” Jackson said.

This is the first partnership between a higher-education institution and Apple’s app development team

Though unprecedented, Ohio State’s partnership with Apple is nothing new — a formal partnership has been around since 2012, originating with Digital First, a program dedicated to content development and mobile learning.

Specifically with the app creation, there has been other partnerships with Apple to deploy iPads, but nothing on this scale,” said Grace Buchholz, marketing communications strategist for Digital Flagship.

“I am super excited to go to Apple headquarters,” Jackson said. “Very few people actually get to go unless you work for Apple.”

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