Bill MacKenty

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iPad for education - Not yet…

Posted in Educational Tech Leadership on 28 - January 2010 at 04:09 PM (14 years ago). 184 views.

The iPad is here. Is it good for education? No way. I hope this post will help you see what we actually do with technology in education. You see, when we use computers in school, we like to create with them. We find some pictures of ancient roman art on the web, paste them into a word document, web page, or web 2.0 application. We use technology to express our understanding. Pretty simple, actually. But this is also the Big Thing that technology does really well - it allows students to express themselves in unique ways (video, webpage, wiki, blog, voice thread, prezi, yadda, yadda yadda).

Technology shouldn't be didactic - it should be interactive. It should let the student create something, and this is where the iPad falls short.

Here's why I'm panning this revision of the iPad:

1. No flash - this means many web 2.0 sites simply won't work, and many resources will not be available (yes, I know HTML 5 might change everything - it can't come soon enough.).

2. No multitasking. As I mentioned above, one of the big things we "do" in educational technology is to cut and paste and copy and paste. Kind of a pain when you have to quit and start and quit and start. This might be mitigated by the media browser in iWork, but still....

3. No camera. The iPad has a microphone, so kids could create podcasts, or narrate over a movie, but they couldn't create a movie using the camera.

I am also very reluctant to use it as a textbook reader. Would it be beautiful? Oh yes. In fact, this tablet is probably a great ebook reader, (and cheap, too). But without flash activities, I question the value. I imagine a classroom full of kids who are reviewing a gorgeous text book on an iPad with physics simulation experiments, and then recording their findings on a lab report in pages. That would be cool. Or perhaps plugging in a science probe and making measurements and throwing those results onto a webpage.

For personal use, I would love this. I am a commuter - an hour to and from work. I image reading the New York Times, or perhaps my favorite technology websites. But 25 of these in a classroom? I'm not sure.