iPads in Education

Innovating education with technology.

Obviously this group is dedicated to the use of iPads in education. The iPad has an excellent interface that is intuitive and smooth with an ecosystem that is much more mature than alternative Android or Microsoft. The iPad is surely the leading tablet technology in education for some very good reasons. With that said, there are many discussions that center around the use of technology as a tool depending on how a tablet is integrated into the curriculum. The use of a tablet is a vehicle to content, and for functions that support  learning objectives. So here is the question! :-) Equity of access is surely a challenge for many schools. We all know the cost of iPads runs from about $400 and up. There are many other tablets on the market these days (Android) that are significantly less expensive. We are beginning to see sub one hundred dollar tablets. If teachers are using tablets for web access, camera functions, reading, and some apps, can we achieve similar learning objectives with a less expensive tablet? Since many claim to be technology agnostic and view technology as a tool, is the iPad a unique tool overall as to crowd out other choices? I'm not talking of any specific app, because there are many apps out there in the Android world that are equivalent to those in the iOS world. I'm not challenging the iPad dominance as a leader, but am interested in perhaps viable alternatives for schools with limited budgets. As a professor in instructional technology, I always try to maintain objectivity with any technology. It may be that the iPad is the 'best choice' for many schools, but is it a zero sum game?  I think the answer is no, but we always need to understand the why and how. Thanks for any objective opinions or experiences! 

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Comment by Manel Rives on October 26, 2013 at 12:19am

I’ve been working with iPads and other tablets from the first day they appear.

IMHO almost everybody thinks about tablets considering economic, hardware and even OS variables. But, for me, the most important thing to be considered for a tablet purchase is what we can do with it, and nowadays there’s still too much distance in Apps and its possibilities among Android & Windows tablets and iPad. 

Not for its OS. I know people who is more confortable in Android or Windows, that’s not a problem. But when you try to create things beyond text documents, when you try children to create their own media education experiences… then, it’s when you realize the difference between the several mobile platforms.

Even when I do keynotes and workshops for teachers, and we go beyond text, they don’t choose Android but iPads, and they’re not cheaper!!

That’s my point of view

Comment by Vic D'Sims on July 23, 2013 at 4:00pm

We have been using the Nexus7 from Google and it's excellent in almost every way, except for a difficult time finding certain accessories, cases and screen covers. A lot of my peers in other schools and countries use them very well. I've seen Schools using Lenovo tablets also.

I don't care if it's Apple or Google or Hp or Dell, as long as it's Value for money and price vs reward proposition is excellent. Both iPad Mini and Google Nexus are great bang for the buck.

Comment by Richard McNitt on April 2, 2013 at 3:04pm

I have to agree with David. One of the issues with 'Droid devices is that the user experience can vary wildly from one vendors implementation to another.  While there is a (still) limited toolset available for managing iOS devices, to my knowledge no non mainline MDM solution exists for management of Android devices.  In addition Apple has an outstanding guide for use of iOS devices in education.  It's possible that a comparable 'Droid device exists, but I would personally be very hesitant to go forward with an implementation without seriously and thoroughly testing user acceptance, connectivity, management, durability and other issues.  In addition, you know Apple will be around for the forseeable future.  That isn't so clear in the case of the producer of a cut rate Android device. An adequate Android device may be out there, but it would have to be tested thoroughly and fully  for me to feel comfortable deploying it to a number of users.   

Comment by David Gavin on March 31, 2013 at 8:10am
I have tried some alternative tablet, especially a sub-100$ no-name Chinese Android tablet.
In the end it boils down to this: Other tablets work (more or less), but they are often frustrating. Some of this because of Android: too many features and options create an OS, where not content but the OS itself is at the centre. One of the biggest and unequalled strengths of iPads is how iOS tends to disappear while you use it. It is so simple to use that you don't have to think about it. You just use it.
And if you take the example of cheap tablets the problem with these is that they just don't work as they should. Crappy sensors don't get when you turn the tablet, a missing camera is really unacceptable for educational purposes, the touch interface is extreeeemely sluggish and creates errors because multiple taps are registered but executed with sometimes seconds of lag, and so on. My experience is that after some time I am so frustrated with the bloody thing that I have to suppress the urge to throw it in a corner. I go back to my Mac or an iPad.
Cheap tablets in schools are the equivalent of dysfunctional Windows PCs in school. They are bought but are not used.
Comment by Sam Gliksman on March 31, 2013 at 7:01am
Mark, I just wanted to correct the impression that this forum is solely about iPads. When the site was originally created there were no real alternatives to iPads - hence the name of the site. The primary objective of the website is to explore how mobile devices - iPad or otherwise - can be used to enhance education. As stated in the opening section of the home page, "This Ning network was created to explore ways iPads and other portable devices could be used to re-imagine the process of education and re-kindle students' innate desire to learn".

The end goal is educational reform and not the promotion of any particular device.

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