The breathless headline promises to explain How the iPad is Changing Education.
Just the latest in a growing collection of hundreds (maybe thousands) of similar declarations made in publications large and small over the two years since the iPad was released, trying to make a cast for how revolutionary the device (and tablets in general) is/will be to “education”.
Certainly Apple has sold a bunch of them (something like 67 million world wide), include many that are part of well-publicized projects in some K12 schools and colleges. There are even a few studies suggesting students benefit instructionally from the interactivity the device provides.
But changing education? Not likely.
Just in my lifetime we’ve had a long parade of technologies for which claims of “changing education” were made and still very little about what we call school is different from when I sat in a classroom as a student. The institution of what we call school is extremely resistant to meaningful modification, including from the pressure of new tech.
What’s different with the iPad is the way that some of us, still a relatively small minority, are increasingly using it in new ways for our personal learning.
However, that’s more about a networked device becoming more portable and easier to use than anything else. Not much different from the way that lighter, more capable laptops made personal learning easier than it was when the computer was too big to move from a desk.
The iPad, and other interconnected mobile devices yet to come, does have the potential to make major changes to the way kids communicate, collaborate, and learn. Potential that could be used by schools and teachers that are willing modify their traditional approaches by sharing control over the learning process with students.
But iPads changing education just by existing? Not likely.