At the risk of sounding unpopular and quite possibly ignorant, I for one will not be using an iPad anytime soon to enhance student learning or differentiate my teaching. Despite the endless articles, blog posts and twitter comments from experts about how much better tablet devices are, I cannot see myself attesting to a 1 to 1 iPad scheme in the near future. My school has a grand total of 48 iPads (8 are delegated to the Japanese team, 3 sets of 10 – 20 1Pad 2`s and 10 first gen, and a set of 10 iPad 1`s that are distributed among the staff). To date, I have not found an educational app worthwhile enough to recommend to other teachers that could replace anything that a laptop has to offer or can be found on a laptop.
I understand there are some reasons why teachers prefer iPads. Sure an iPad switches on quicker and is lighter enabling more mobility but so what? Don’t we request that our students not walk and operate devices at the same time? Someone mentioned to me how cool it was that Keynote is available on iPads. I thought to myself ok everyone is entitled to an opinion but aren’t the students missing out on the process of taking, uploading and inserting photographs? The whole creative process?
I can also see some of the advantages of having iPads in the early years but I still see nothing more than a “digital worksheet”.
To me the iPad 1 hype was nothing short of laughable. I really struggled to grasp how revolutionary and groundbreaking the device was. Then iPad 2 came out and it has a camera in it. Sweet but so does my iPhone I thought. And apparently the iPad 3 has higher resolution. Ok fine but I’m still not going to spend hundreds of dollars on one. Now I think to myself there are probably people out there who have spent thousands of dollars on all generation iPads, iTouches and iPhones. Yikes. Now it’s easy to understand why Apple is one of the richest and strongest companies in the world. I actually find going into the stores a bit of a bore now. The same old devices re-badged and goofy looking twenty-somethings in their jeans and blue t-shirts. A “Genius Bar” that:s not a bar at all (very misleading for a first-timer) but an over-crowded “I didn’t read the online instruction manual` and “I need to exercise my warranty rights” gathering.
Now, considering how Apple repeats most of its technology on all its devices, are there applications on iPads, besides ones that require touch-screen technology, that cannot be repeated on MacBooks – be it Pro or Air? Why shouldn’t I just use iPad applications on my laptop? Isn’t the iPad an oversized iTouch?
Is the only real benefit of an iPad is that it`s lighter to carry and takes less time switching on?
Are we now following the humankind trend of preferring things that are more convenient? Can we compare Apple to McDonald’s now?
Perhaps my knowledge of the touch-screen technology is limited and I do need to admit that those guitar-lesson apps look pretty darn cool. However, if you ask me, these pleasures are few and far between.
Please don’t be mistaken, I would love to be proved wrong and eagerly await professional development opportunities so I can reflect on this blog post I actually attended a workshop during the 21CLHK conference entitled “Laptops v. iPads”. It was a study into the obvious and it was inconclusive. In fact it was a real waste of time attending it. After they confirmed their inability to conclude their results, one handsome participant up the back asked them (in a rugged Australian accent) what device did they use to create their presentation. “Laptop.” they replied.
Swish….three points to me…..
I admit –
- I bought my wife one for Christmas. Why? 2 reasons 1. To entertain her on her long commute. 2. So she wouldn`t use my (our?) MacBook Pro when I wanted to use it. Thoughtful aren’t I? 🙂
- Common Sense Media: Setting Computer Limits
- A great list of apps from UWC
- A great list of apps from AIS, Singapore
- Could Checking Facebook in Class Help Students Focus?
- How a Tech Break Can Help Students Focus
- The Amazing Power of “Tech Breaks“
Laptops In Grade 3