I have been buying Apple products since the early 1990s. It was not until last year that I really demonstrated my geekiness when I pre-ordered the first iPad. I had never pre-ordered an Apple product before. I shall pre-order the new iPad as well.
As far as I am concerned the iPad is a good product. It is useful in the classroom. Very useful. Even at the basic level of usage it is simply good. It is light, comfortable to use, portable and friendly. Students can comfortably sit anywhere and do their research, collect data and images, save their files to DropBox or email it to themselves. The students feel comfortable with the device and they like to use it. It is not a creepy treehouse for example. They feel okay with the iPad.
There are naysayers in education that label it as garbage. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it rankles when they have not even give the device a worthy trial. It is particularly annoying when the same naysayers pull the purse strings of an organisation as well. Regardless of your viewpoint it is not garbage. Perhaps the litter by the side of the road is garbage but not the iPad or any tablet device for that matter. Calling the iPad garbage is rather puzzling.
The current iPad does have problems.
- It does not have a camera.
- Presenting with it is a challenge. Only a few apps permit one to present. It is clunky in this mode.
- It lacks applications such as iMovie.
- It lacks a conventional USB port or SD card slot. One has to use the ridiculous adapters.
The new iPad2 goes part of the way to solve some of those problems.
- It has 2 cameras and includes the Facetime app. Excellent.
- It includes mirroring of the display and that eliminates many presentation issues.
- Apps such as iMovie, Garageband and even good old Photobooth are available for the iPad.
- It still does not have a conventional USB port or SD card slot. One still has to use adapters to transfer data via hardware. The thing that annoys me is that there are a plethora of adapters. If you bought all of them you might end up paying up to $150-00 Australian dollars or more. That is a touch exploitative on Apple’s part.
Anyway I will buy the new iPad2 and sell the current iPad that I possess to a colleague or student at school. I wish I could buy 30 of the new devices and give them to a class of students at school. Construct some dedicated units that employ the device and also require the students to get out into the field and out into the community, collecting views, images, data and news. Get the students out of the classroom, and get them walking, talking, observing, collecting and creating. Just like the archaeologists at Pompeii.
I have collated some related iPad resources and links here.
PS. Hey Apple Australia, what is happening with the Innovative Technologies School Conferences in Australia this year? I have not heard anything about ITSC in 2011? Annie Agnew, where are you?