All of last year I was working with teachers and students to help implement a 1:1 computing environment with netbooks.
Given all of the press around the ‘iPad announcement‘, I’m wondering what are the pro’s and con’s for this device in education? And how does it compare with other portable devices such as netbooks?
Is it a netbook killer? Is it a kindle killer? Is it just a distraction? Is it only a media device with iphone apps and a web browser (is that all we need?) Is it something that would be useful in your classroom?
Obviously, for those schools making good use of mobile devices like ipods, this will be a natural extension as the device has the same operating system as the iPod touch and iPhone. The larger screen will allow for better input – inclucing note taking and a better browsing experience at the very least. And while I’m sure there will be a number of schools that will jump all over this device, I still think it comes up short in a number of areas. I’ll be the first to admit that I wanted a cut down Mac OS X rather than an appliance! I just can’t imagine not being able to multitask with applications. The issue of multitasking can be fixed in software but if the iPhone’s anything to go by, it won’t be happening anytime soon.
Here’s some of my thoughts …
- Awesome interface, ipod/iphone users will immediately recognise
- Great industrial design
- Great ebook reader and media device
- Most people who have actually used the iPad rave about it – may be I need to see it and use it!
- Very responsive OS with 10 hours battery life
- no multitasking – one application at a time
- no USB port – no memory sticks
- no camera
- no flash support for websites (come on Apple and Adobe!)
- no SD card slot, HDMI port, or video out – without buying adapters
- more DRM content
Will I buy one? Probably! Will this be a good device for education. Certainly, as education software will follow this device! But the lack of multitasking and a USB port is a show stopper for me. This product could have been revolutionary. It could have decimated the netbook market. But it still falls short as far as I am concerned. Perhaps I should wait for version 2.0 or 3.0? May be then I can get access to the things that would make this device simply awesome.
Some more thoughts on the iPad can be found here:
10 things Netbooks still do better than an iPad
Is it fair to compare Apple’s iPad to a netbook?
Let us know what you think in the comments! And if you have time why not fill in this short survey for the Ed Tech Crew http://bit.ly/bc3Ms8