iPad – is it any good for the classroom or learning?

Well, it’s here; the iPad has finally landed.

I had said on Twitter that I wouldn’t blog about it until I actually had one (and I’m still thinking about it) but I have read quite a bit over the weekend about and wanted to bring together the various threads of thoughts and ‘research’ already out there on whether it will be good for students, and the classroom, or not.

I’ll start with my final words (!) and they are simply how can we be sure that the iPad will be any good if we’ve literally only just got it (not in the UK we haven’t!)? We may know how the theory fits in with technology and student fashion, but will it work, will the students buy one (or even can the afford one, given that they’ve already got a smartphone and high-end laptop?) and will they see the benefit to their education, or is it just another shiny Apple device? It could be that we, the educators and facilitators, are the only ones who see its potential, and talk to each other about it as the students carry on with their existing kit.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve found …

Tony Bates: Educational affordances of the iPad:

“Although the iPad suggests an exciting future for the design of teaching and learning, we need to bear in mind that many people still have limited broadband access, which is essential for such developments. So the iPad will at least initially further widen the digital divide.”

Elliot Masie: iPad First Look for Learning:

Frederic Lardinois writes on ReadWriteWeb: Colleges Give iPads to All Incoming Students:

“Seton Hill University plans to give every first year undergraduate student a 13″ MacBook and an iPad. Just last month, George Fox University in Oregon also announced that it plans to give its new students a choice between a MacBook or an iPad. The question, though, is if programs like this aren’t a bit premature, given that nobody has actually used the device yet and that we don’t really know how well the iPad will work for textbooks and other school-related activities.”

Brian Chen writes Colleges Dream of Paperless, iPad-centric Education:

“One hitch in the universities’ plans [see above by Frederic Lardinois] is that Apple has not inked deals with any textbook publishers to bring their offerings to the iPad’s iBooks store. So far Apple and publishers have only formed partnerships around e-books for fiction and nonfiction titles, like those available for the Kindle.”

Bridget McCrea writes Measuring the iPad’s Potential for Education:

“The fact that ninth graders like Nothstein are somewhat blasé about a device whose heavily anticipated launch attracted millions of eyeballs around the world isn’t exactly surprising. Call them jaded, but today’s K-12 students have the world at their fingertips when it comes to technology, and are only limited by budget when it comes to getting their hands on items like Apple’s new iPad.”

James Tubbs writes Powering Your Classroom with the iPad, Part 2:

“The effective uses of the iPad in the classroom will multiply as educators adapt to this exciting new technology and find ways to innovate their teaching methods accordingly. As Robert Reynolds notes in his article about the iPad’s future in education , the ultimate educational use of the iPad and similar technology will depend entirely on how students respond to it.”

iPad in the Classroom:

“Today, iPad is probably not the answer, but as a concept it is a stage-setter that gives us a glimpse of what the technological landscape may look like in the classroom of the not-so-distant future.   While the iPad may need several iterations before it becomes a sleek and elegant classroom solution (multi-tasking?!?), this should be a wake up call for the educational publishing industry.”

Bob Brogan writes First Look at the iPad for eLearning:

“Another drawback for eLearning and purely from my viewing the initial demonstration, was the appearance of a lack of multi-tasking capability. This may also be a hindrance. Quite often someone wants to working on a document or some other material as they are reviewing eLearning content or sessions.”

Steve Kolowich writes iPads on Campus:

“The e-learning giant Blackboard, meanwhile, today is announcing that it is launching an app for the iPad that will allow students to access their courses from the new device. “

WISE Pedagogy: iPads for Education: How Much is Hype?

“Unless you are a devoted Apple fan who would use a new Apple device anyway, or you teach at a school that is giving each student his or her own iPad, you might want to wait a few months before you buy one solely for pedagogical purposes. Time may tell whether this new device will have enough advantages to surpass the others that are already available. Even if you and some of your students already do have iPads, it may be a while before we can expect to design lesson plans that incorporate them into course activities.”

Robert writes Is education ready for the iPad?:

“iPads are been handed out to students from three universities and faculty with hopes that Apple’s tablet will transform education. These universites … pre-ordered bundles of iPads with plans to experiment with how the tablet could change learning in the classroom. Officials from each university saw the iPad as having potential to render printed textbooks obsolete. One dent in the universities’ plans is that Apple has not inked deals with any textbook publishers to bring their offerings to the iPad’s iBooks store. So far Apple and publishers have only formed partnerships around e-books for fiction and nonfiction titles.”

  • Nice collection of articles. I can’t wait to get a look at one, and look forward even more to a year down the line where there are more and more apps created that can be used in the classroom.

  • dr2

    Tablets aren’t a new concept so still curious why all the hype about the iPad. If you are going to carry around something bigger than a mobile device, I still don’t see why you wouldn’t just bring your laptop…better for taking notes, multitasking, supports Flash…all those useful things you need to do/see at school or work. I see the iPad as being a Kindle plus right now at least…(which isn’t necessarily a bad thing,,,)

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  • As an educator, I see the advantages of the use of the IPads in education. I bought one and I use it on the go. With the benefits of 3G, I have access to the Internet everywhere. Using the app built by Walden University, I have access to my classroom all the time. I don’t depend on the IPad for all the tasks, but it definitively facilitates the way I learn and communicate with my peers. The IPad opens new ways to see instruction. Thanks for sharing this information, very interesting to me as a Instructional Designer.

  • Nat

    Hi guys – great site, keep up the good work :)
    As the iPad is going to be launched soon in the UK, I wondered if you’d like some cases/ accessories to take a look at for review? We’d be happy to help out.
    Alternatively, if there’s anything else on our website that you’d be more interested in then do let me know!
    Looking forward to hearing from you
    All the best

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  • Brant Kilness

    Well this was nice to read, perhaps I will come back later and read more of this stuff!

  • Wendy Virginia

    I never seen at it from this angle before, but this certainly is good and will make me think more about it.

  • Terri Bergenty

    This is an exciting article, there is always knowlledge to be gained and I shall make special note of this.

  • PTZ IP Camera

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  • iPhone 4 Cases

    This new iPhone is so much cooler than the last one. I really enjoy the cool little camera. I wonder what Steve Jobs has in store for us with the next generation!

  • Truly actually very good web site article which has got me considering. I never looked at this from your point of view.

  • In ten years time, I think this question will be like looking back at people who asked “will the internet be used in education?”. The simple answer – yes. The iPad has a long way to go yet, but I expect it (and other tablets) to be a large part of everyday life in the future. As more people start to use them there will be more incentive to develop better, more researched and student targeted apps, it’s just a matter of time.

  • I’ve just written an article for my student newspaper about how I justify a £400 spend on an iPad. Let me know if you think I’m missing any worthy Apps!


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