With the release of the iPad 2 in Frankfurt the other day, I was amazed at the queue outside of the Apple shop! It went for more that half a kilometer and this was at 4:30pm. It got me thinking about the use of the iPad 2 within all levels of schooling.
In my last post I spoke about Gaming in Education, though I have no doubt that the iPad can facilitate the higher order thinking skills needed, I also thought of this as a replacement for the laptop in schools. Computer technology has become a necessary tool for both home and school learning – it keeps us connected, allows us to explore and to share our ideas, and does not constrain our learning to a 9-3 timeframe.
A huge impact on schools and systems is the financial ramification on the up keep of this technology. I don’t believe that it is viable for schools or school systems to pay for new technologies to be used on a mass scale (i.e. 1:1). Some principals and system leaders may argue that it is our duty to supply these, particularly for families who are constantly challenged with the cost of educating their child/ren. I argue that it is a government responsibility, where tax deductions or even subsidies can be given to families to help absorb this necessary this cost. The Rudd Government Laptop Initiative in Australia, beginning in April 2009, saw a huge investment into the one-to-one laptop scheme for Grade 9-12 students, as well as the Digital Education Revolution Funding for all schools K-12. Though this major injection into the economy has been received well, I don’t believe that the impact of this will be felt for many years. I believe that this was a turning point in the nations history, where we will see the greater development of tertiary industries in the years that follow, transitioning us from the depleting primary resource sectors to a more technological and scientific based country.
Greg Whitby, Executive Director for Schools for the Catholic Education Office Parramatta in his blog BYOT (Bring Your Own Technologies), gave a very interesting account into the need for more personalised technologies for student use. In examining the iPad 2 I think that it has many of the bugs worked out, where; the VGA adaptor and ability for Flash files to be played on a projector has now been rectified. And the ability to connect to the Smartboard (IWB) via wifi has been fixed.
I do think that there are some limitations with these however. The constant connection to an iTunes account (rather than a Time Machine backup to a server is an issue), and the inability for international students to use existing iTunes accounts is a REAL problem (when moving from one country to the next). However I like the ergonomics and classroom environment it promotes, particularly when they are flat on the table. However I think this is a good option too:
Any which way, I recognise that these are a wonderful tool for learning and can’t wait to see how they will impact the teaching and learning, and ultimately the outcomes of our students. Please click on the link below for a wonderful video on iPads in Learning: