wasting bandwidth since 1999

The Miracle, Education-Altering iPad (Maybe)

Ok, the iPad was announced yesterday and, as far as I can tell, the world remains pretty much the same.

I’ve watched the video of the presentation, read some of what the geeky tech blogs have to say, and, at this point, I’m 80% sure I’ll be buying one when they go on sale.

I know, I know, the device has it’s shortcomings (oversized iPhone? so what?), there will soon be cheaper competitors, and Apple will probably release a new version with more features in time for the next holiday season.ipad.jpg

It still looks like a very cool device – and sometimes you just can’t explain the iWants. :-)

However, included with the many, many stories about Apple’s latest object of tech lust (including the front page of the Post!?) are some breathless predictions of it’s potential effect.

This tablet will save the newspaper industry! It will revolutionize electronic books!! The iPad will transform education!!!

Crap!

As with any other new technology, it’s not the hardware and software that matters.

Putting a digital version of The New York Times on the iPad will not convince people to pay for it again unless they convince them of some compelling new value in that format.

In the case of education, nothing gets transformed if institutions latch on to it as a textbook replacement, a digital notebook, an expensive electronic replacement for a Trapper Keeper.

Change in how teachers teach and students learn will not flow from putting the same old curriculum materials on a tablet and then using it with the same teacher-directed lessons, primarily focused on preparing kids for standardized tests.

Mobile communications devices such as the iPad will only have an impact if they become individual learning platforms that regularly change to meet the needs of the person carrying it.

Anything less, is simply one more gadget for the school toy box.

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2 Comments

  1. Katie

    Well, of course I haven’t touched one yet, but I think it will be a game changer. We’ll probably have to use the “textbook replacement” theory to get them in schools, but once there, they will be incredibly powerful.

    Flash will finally get dumped (in favor of HTML5) and I’ll be glad to see that. Since I am a grandma who still works, I still need my laptop, but other things – reading, surfing, emailing, will be so much nicer on the iPad. I would probably buy for the iBooks store alone. I love reading on my iPhone Kindle app and it’s great for novels – not so much for NYT and National Geographic.

    And for the grandmas who aren’t forced to create work with the MS Office Mess and only want to consume or have a little more freedom in what they create – what a great idea. I hope camera/video conferencing will come next – to “skype” with the far away grandkids, and it probably will in the 2nd gen.

    My biggest decision at the moment is whether to go for wifi early or wait the extra 30 days to get 3G, too. I don’t think I’d use 3G very often, but when you need it, you do.

  2. Rash

    Whatever said and done, one thing users look for is a good design, apples ipad certainly failed to impress people with its dated looks. The competition is out there and will probably launch better looking devices with better compatibility

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