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Will iPad Fail in School?

Draper

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I love my iPad, but I think a laptop would be a better tool for school...

I'd like to agree with you for many of the reasons you listed, but even though a laptop has its affordances, so does the iPad. In the fall we'll expect to see fast app-switching and Apple's multitasking implementation with the OS upgrade, and that will do as far as most students are concerned. You're right in the regard that no student has enough practice with typing on capacitive devices with no haptic feedback to type an essay, but this is not at all supposed to serve as a primary device (evidenced by the fact that you need a PC or Mac just to get started).

The reasons why I see this as more viable for education on a mass scale, are:
  • Standardized hardware with hardware-specific software development
  • iOS 4 is closed and controlled, reducing the possibilities of user errors in use, software installation, upgrades, etc.
  • Its UI lends itself to being manipulated by a wide swath of cognitive levels and user technical abilities
  • Built-in push notifications

Laptops and/or netbooks can't really offer this w/o a clunky enterprise solution with full-time network adminstrators as an added cost.

In addition, I'm sure you can imagine early elementary schools students replacing their textbooks with a netbook...right? Little 6 or 7 year old booting up and opening MS onenote to get ready for the lecture? Going home and booting up to open up Paint to do their color-by-numbers mathematics homework? Trying to open their map for geography and realizing they don't have a program that opens PDFs, so Googling PDF to find, download and install the proper application. That could happen, right?

The iPad makes replacing traditional textbooks and materials with digital content that much less intimidating and that much more plausible. The richness of content can provide multimodal input from the moment you hit the power button, without the need to know much about computers. I honestly had a 5 year old watch me find and install an application that she wanted. She promptly took the device from me, found another application that she wanted, bought and installed it before my very eyes. That can be quite rough on the pocketbook to be sure, but luckily app buying can be restricted in the settings, and accounts are password protected.

As far as typing is concerned, there are a wealth of keyboard options available now, and they will only grow in number and functionality, in the future, so that when a student who uses this device arrives at the point that they have to start typing reports on the go, they will have the tools they need to get the job done.


I'm a PC (Windows user and Ubuntu hobbyist), that has no gripes with PCs. I used WinMo for many years, and love Android. As an educator, the iPad provides the best possible solution for more interactive materials and general progress in the field (in my personal assessment), and it provides it, now!
 

iPadCharlie

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In addition, I'm sure you can imagine early elementary schools students replacing their textbooks with a netbook...right? Little 6 or 7 year old booting up and opening MS onenote to get ready for the lecture?
I think you are selling today's kids short and apparently you know very much about kids in this age bracket! I have twin 7½ (and the ½ is very important!) year old grand daughters who maintain their own web pages (with their mother's help of course). We recently bought our 14 (and a ½!) year old grand daughter a new cell phone. She had never seen that model before and never looked at the instructions. The guy behind the counter set it up, handed it to her and she was texting her friends before we hit the door!

So yeah, today's "kids" (for the most part) can handle a laptop, iPad or almost any piece of technology we can throw at them.
 

henry2

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you are basically hitting the problems on the head as with the problems that might come up inside the school classroom with the ipad ..

1-issused with the ipad is the keyboard unit ..this way they can input what is need into the document as it need ..one for schoo usel and one for home use..with one at home and school for the student to use.

also think about this one.. when a child walks out the door head to go to school they have a small daypack filled with the following items
-x-ipad with it electronic school books and other accessories pre loaded onto the ipad for the grade the child is in along with a padded travel and stowage slip case
-x-ipad access items-x-1-power cord--x-1-screen cleaning cloth-x-
-x-notebook with pens for class room work as need.. the notebook is for basic note takeing like to look up places and dates for classroom projects when need
all packed into the small daypack for travel back and forth to school each day..

then add the brown bag sack lunch or lunchbox for the kid and the kid is ready to walk out the door and go to school .without haveing the heavy weighed down daypacks with the books and causeing heath problems for the kids..
 

henry2

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my 4.year old granddaughter gets on her dad computer and knows how to use the program to make the phone calls useing the long distance system that they have on there desktop in Korea where they are stationed at.. i got a few phones here in the middle of the night and i have talked to her a few times when she called me and i asked her where was mommy ..she basicall said she was sleeping ..which means the newborn was sleeping and my daughter was on the couch had fell asleep also along with putting the kid in front of the tv with her show that she liked and the babysitter has not yet figure out that when she get quiet go and see what she up to ..

so if she can figure that out how to get onto the computer and get through the start up and work the keyboard well enough to make a phone call then i can see them useing some form of electronic device in a classroom of the future
 

charriga

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We also need to consider the audience. There's a big difference between a primary age student and a high schooler (my thoughts were based on teaching high school).

I'd just like to see kids carrying a device with the books and tools they need preloaded instead of lugging around 30 lbs of books and having to make a trip to the library or computer lab to do their work.

My school is probably pretty typical.
For language intensive classes, the kids make notes on index cards, write a rough draft by hand, edit that, and then go home (or to the library) to type the next draft which is finally something that can be edited on the computer.
For math classes, except for the upper levels, all graphing is done by hand. The kids can make it through a few graphs in a class period versus being able to look at a dozen to analyze what effect changing different parts of an equation has on a graph.
Current education is cludgy and boring. Tech could do a lot to change things.

I just don't think there's enough available for the iPad yet to make it the best tool--at least for older students.
 

Draper

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In addition, I'm sure you can imagine early elementary schools students replacing their textbooks with a netbook...right? Little 6 or 7 year old booting up and opening MS onenote to get ready for the lecture?
I think you are selling today's kids short and apparently you know very much about kids in this age bracket! ...

I know plenty about kids in that age bracket because I've been teaching them for the past 6 years. I taught 6 year olds how to take digital pictures and upload them to a blog that they'd maintained. I understand what they're capable of. Maybe you don't understand that all children don't have the same affinity for technology, and if you've ever tried to teach anything to 20-30 kids in that age bracket, you'd know that because of their multiple intelligences, it can be quite a task to get them all on the same page.

What should be realized is that children require a lot of attention, when they are mastering something complex. If the goal of the lesson is to learn an operating system, I have no problem teaching any operating system you put in front of me with the cognitive level of a 3 year old or above. If your goal is to put content front and center, you want to OS to get out of the way. iOS is easily learned, and fades quickly. I have not met a child who could speak that couldn't master it within the course of 10 minutes with the device.

If I wanted to weed out the tech strong from the tech weak, I would have chosen a more complex operating system...however, my goal is to make technological affinity and prowess less of an issue, to allow a level playing field for content acquisition.

Before long there will be a company developing iPad software for schools.

DynamicBooks and Coursesmart are already on top of it.

Also...I know of some server side software that is going to be rolled out, too.
 
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MikesTooLz

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Many book companies make digital copies of their books available. Wouldnt be to hard for them to make an iBooks version available as well.
 

nthnm

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If there were a way for the school to lock it in a sense - to disallow students from downloading apps and music and the things the school doesn't want the students using - then yes, it's a good idea. I'm not sure how cost effective it would be, though they would most likely get a deal. Every school in my city (primary: k-3; elementary 4-7; and highschool) all had Mac computer labs. Some had PC labs as well, but all had Mac labs. I'm not sure how current the Macs are in the schools right now, but when those brightly coloured translucent Macs came out (eMacs?) they had them right away.
 

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