Free iPad? Become a student

Seton Hill University (Greensburg, Pennsylvania) will supply all new full-time students in Fall 2010 with a new iPad and 13″ Macbook.

The giveaway kicks off the small liberal arts university’s Griffin Technology Advantage Program, which aims to cultivate digital literacy among its students. It also marks a growing shift to provide students with e-books rather than textbooks. Students will have complete access to the devices during classes and for personal use. They can download textbooks from the iBook Store, take notes, communicate and share files with professors, advisers and classmates, conduct research and engage in interactive learning experiences. No word yet on whether the expected profusion of gaming apps for the iPad will be banned during class time.

If one free iPad and MacBook wasn’t a large enough lure for prospective students, Seton Hill has also promised to replace laptops with new ones after two years that students can then take with them when they graduate. The university boasts an on-site IT department trained in Mac repair and will even loan students MacBooks while theirs undergo restoration.

The only compensation? Seton Hill is increasing its technology fee for students receiving the iPad.

Ford & Microsoft team up for electric cars

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft Corporation announced today that they will be teaming up again to make the widespread adoption of the electric car into a reality.

Ford said it plans to use Microsoft’s Hohm electric-car charging optimization service to help drivers determine the ideal time to charge their vehicles and how to best minimize impact on the grid.

Microsoft and Ford have already proven to be a successful partnership with the Sync system, a decade-long effort designed to improve drivers’ in-car experiences. Sync was launched in 2007 and has been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. The Internet-based service will be used for the Focus Electric plug-in hybrid in 2011, and in two next-generation hybrids in 2012.