When Technology Gets Out of the Way…

I love this new iPad 2 commercial. From my experience with iPods in the classroom, getting technology out of the way increases time on educational tasks. My students don’t spend ten minutes watching the computers login, then another 30 seconds for an application to launch. Instead, they get right to work with a device that is barely noticeable in a room full of learning.

Apple in Education Week at Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac ran a series this week looking at the revival of Apple products in education. I recommend you at least read the following:

  1. It’s All About Mobility –  check out the graph at the end showing the decline of Dell and the rise of Apple.
  2. iPads Get Top Grades In Cedars School Pilot Project – overview of the iPad pilot launched by Fraser Speirs.
  3. The Best iOS Apps for Education
  4. iPad May Replace Computers and Textbooks In Schools, Expert Predicts – it is great for reading but also can do writing.

And for a more cynical look at computers in education, read this interview with pioneering computer scientist Alan Kay.

iPads Bring Accessibility to the Disabled at a Far Lower Cost

Link: iPads bring accessibility to the disabled at a far lower cost

tuaw.com compares the iPad to other accessibility devices. I’ve seen an Eco up close and I agree that the iPad has more features by default, runs more reliability, and costs far less than the $7,000 – $15,000 price tag for the Eco. The article suggests that most devices are purposely limited to one function in order to qualify for Medicaid. That is disappointing if true, since limiting an expensive device to one feature seems to work agains accessibility.

“Pupils and teachers will never want a device that’s harder to use than the iPad”

Some pretty safe bets from Fraser Speirs. If we limit the scope of those predictions to education, I mostly agree with him. However, I think that for the foreseeable future we will continue to need more complicated and powerful devices. My colleague who teaches the CAD program at my school could not achieve the same results with iPads. His class will continue to need desktops.

What the iPad Allows…

What the iPad has allowed us to do is to bring digital resources up to the same level of availability as paper resources in our teaching. It’s unthinkable that pupils would only have one or two hours of access to books each week, yet that was the position with digital resources before we deployed the iPad…When pupils learn with the iPad, they are learning in their own technological vocabulary. Personal computers – whether Windows or Mac OS X – are not most teenagers’ common experience of personal computing.

Fraser Speirs – iPads, Curriculum for Excellence and the Next Generation – also check out the section “What Technology Should Be”. I think his arguments also hold true for the iPod Touch, thought it will not be as easy to use for many students.