An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1?

iPad with on display keyboard
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It’s been several months since I first geeked out and was the third person in line at the Apple Store the day the iPad was released.  Yes, I have embraced my inner (and outer) Nerd-dom.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it.  It didn’t take me long to change my mind on that.  Then I wasn’t sure if I could recommend it to others.  Once again, it quickly became something I could endorse wholeheartedly.  But the big question still remains, what is its place in education?  Is it the next big killer device?  Another in a long string of fads?  The perfect 1:1 device or a waste of budget?

I often include in my presentations John Candy’s line from Canadian Bacon, “There’s a time to think and a time to act.  And this, gentlemen, is no time to think.”  That certainly seems to encapsulate many institutions attitude when moving to iPad adoption.  In the few months since it has been released, there’s been just a FEW schools who are willing to commit to taking the plunge.

And that’s just within the first few months, the early adopters, the trailblazers.  The big question is… are they moving in the right direction or making a colossal mistake?

Based on my experiences so far, I’d say they’re making a good choice…  but might be doing it prematurely.  As a hardware platform, I can honestly say that the iPad is the greatest device I have ever used.  The battery life alone is a major reason for saying this.  I took my iPad on a nine hour flight and used it nearly the entire time.  Real world usage, not a battery test.  I watched a few movies, played some games, did some reading and typed out a few things.  After nine hours of usage, my battery still had 51% remaining.  That’s stunning.  Unbelievable.  Amazing.  And undeniably useful in an educational setting.

Anybody that has been through a laptop initiative knows that battery life can be the kryptonite of the program.  The idea of Anytime Anywhere is wonderful, but in reality once the computers have been used a few months it becomes more like LimitedTime, AnywhereThere’sAPowerStrip.  The very thought of being able to have students go the entire day without charging is crazy.  Just think about it.  They arrive to school with their iPads.  Use them in every class the entire day.  And then take them home to charge them.  No carts, no power strips spread out throughout the classroom, and it’s small enough that they can just slide them in their desks when they aren’t being used.

It sounds simple, but it’s one of those basic needs that can derail a program.  Beyond that, because the OS is so simplified, there’s no 10 minute waiting period while students power up and log in.  There’s no time to kill while students load up programs.  Because it’s so easy to jump on and off of it, it doesn’t need to be relegated to a specific time during the class.  It can easily slip in and out of a lesson without dominating it.  Plus, while keyboards are certainly handy, there’s no need for peripherals.  Onscreen keyboard, no mouse, built in microphone, absent power cable…  It’s just the student and device.  Simplicity is a very good thing.

Now that speaks to the hardware, the platform itself.  Then there’s the software.  And that’s where the “not yet” part comes in.  There’s A LOT to be excited about.  Video editing, drawing programs, music applications for real time performance and recording.  There’s office applications (both iWork and Microsoft compatible) as well as more than ample photo editing applications.  There’s e-readers, simulations, virtual frog dissections and interactive periodic tables.  There’s math applications galore, from flashcards to practice problems to interactive games.  You can view satellite images via Google Earth, or download maps going back to the Crusades.  There’s a ton of great stuff out there.  But the reality is, we’re just barely scratching the surface and the really good stuff is yet to come.

People forget, when the iPhone was released in the summer of 2007, there was no App Store, only web based apps.  It wasn’t until a full year later that people could download actual Apps onto their iPhones.  Developers had a full 4 months to create Apps for the iPhone before the App store was released, and during that time they were able to test their wares on the iPhone itself.  They knew the product, they could try it out, see what worked, what didn’t and explore the best ways to leverage the platform.

The iPad was a completely different situation.  Developers were forced to run the software on simulations leading up to the release of the iPad.  They couldn’t hold it, they didn’t know what capabilities it really had, or what the user experience would FEEL like along the way.  Consequently, nearly every launch app was really more of a beta release in some respects.  Now that we’re a few months into the iPad era, we’re just starting to see Apps being released that leverage the full potential of the iPad and the big players are finally identifying where they’re going to be making their pushes.

The point being, as good as the software is on the iPad right now, by the end of the year I have no doubt that the Apps will be reinventing the way we think of computing experiences.  The best is yet to come.

So with that in mind, would I recommend a 1:1 iPad initiative for schools right now?    Sure, so long as you have modest expectations.  Right now, there WILL be things that will frustrate you or that you are unable to do.  And if you need something that will be 100% effective on the first day of school, this is not the device for you.  If you’re looking long term and have the luxury of letting the App world catch up, a mid-year initiative would likely be the best time to launch.  Or if you can really think long term, I might consider waiting one more year for all those little details to be resolved by developers.

Regardless, I can say with complete confidence that the iPad is going to change the way we think of computing in schools.  As Chris Lehman often stresses, technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary and invisible.  I think the iPad affords us the best opportunity of making idea a reality.

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By | 2010-07-07T07:57:44+00:00 July 7th, 2010|iPad|38 Comments

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38 Comments

  1. Steve Dembo 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 8:58 am

    New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  2. Mark Carls 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 9:00 am

    RT @teach42: New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  3. Jane Ross  ADE 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 9:08 am

    RT @teach42: New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  4. Edach 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 11:13 am

    check out @teach42's article Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://tinyurl.com/37xx7lm

  5. Colin Ripmaster 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 11:21 am

    RT @teach42: New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  6. […] Read more from the original source: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42 […]

  7. Amy 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 12:04 pm

    This new tablet market won’t “kill” anything; in the end, these types of devices will spur consumption of digital content like books, magazines and periodicals.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..What is a money transfer exceeds the credit limit =-.

  8. mqaissaunee 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 2:02 pm

    An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://j.mp/c3Gj8x

  9. Obe Hostetter 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 2:51 pm

    RT @mcarls: RT @teach42: New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  10. Dotty Myers 7/7/2010 at Jul 07, 10 | 4:41 pm

    I do not see the IPAD being used to type IEP’s, Maybe other applications, but IEP’s are so paper intensive and more is being added. I see them as being useful to use with students with learning disabilities. Well time will tell

  11. Bill Handy 7/8/2010 at Jul 08, 10 | 7:45 am

    Steve, thanks for your feedback regarding your experience with the iPad. I am personally involved in the Oklahoma State University pilot and want to clarify that ours is a limited pilot (approx 125 units) simply because we want to avoid making the mistake of making a decision before knowing all the facts.

    Our job which started more than a month ago and will continue indefinitely is to truly test the iPad – evaluate, measure and document everything from outcomes to changes which must be made to integrate the tool. I am sure you can imagine this undertaking is huge even leading up to the first day of class – implications to wireless access e.g. what happens if 150 students all log on at the same time via one antenna, ADA requirements, changes to curriculum and class structure (I am prerecording all my lectures to leverage the technology and allow more classroom time for discussion and hands on work), integration of iTunesU and other course management tools, compatibility to already existing technology such as D2L, book availability in ePub or iBook format and how this integrates with current book distribution channels, etc.

    Personally I am glad we have had the summer to get ready for this.

    If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can find all my contact information on my website, http://www.billhandy.com

  12. Sheri Alford 7/8/2010 at Jul 08, 10 | 9:40 am

    RT @teach42: New on Teach42: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://www.teach42.com/?p=1264

  13. iPad Summary 7/8/2010 at Jul 08, 10 | 11:13 am

    An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42 http://bit.ly/dpCJGd #ipad #apple

  14. Lennie Symes (in RC) 7/9/2010 at Jul 09, 10 | 8:35 am

    An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42 http://ow.ly/293jL

  15. Thomas Sauer 7/9/2010 at Jul 09, 10 | 12:26 pm

    Reading: "An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1?" http://j.mp/c3Gj8x

  16. LCDS Technology 7/13/2010 at Jul 13, 10 | 2:40 pm

    Currently reading – An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – by @teach42 http://bit.ly/azUaw3

  17. Mark 7/26/2010 at Jul 26, 10 | 3:29 am

    Hi Steve,

    Nice post. Mine is another school looking at iPads as one of a number of ways to go 1:1. We are only in the early stages, but I’ve set up an open Google doc so that people can write down what they think are the pros and cons of using the iPad in secondary education. I’d love to have your input also. The doc is found at: http://tinyurl.com/34jc3gp

    Cheers,

    Mark

  18. Brandt Schneider 8/2/2010 at Aug 02, 10 | 11:04 am

    Just got a grant to outfit my music class. Read along here: http://brandtschneider.blogspot.com Hoping to learn from success and failures in other places. Is there a common spot we can share ideas? Contact me if so.

  19. Gianto Widianto 8/9/2010 at Aug 09, 10 | 5:57 am

    An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42: Comments:an excellent analysis of whether IPads should… http://bit.ly/aPLueC

  20. SAM 8/9/2010 at Aug 09, 10 | 11:54 pm

    Education resource: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42: Comments:an excellent analysis of … http://bit.ly/bi21Th

  21. Maria Perifanou 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 2:14 am

    More iPad school&univ initiatives!! http://www.teach42.com/2010/07/07/an-ipad-for-everyone-is-the-ipad-ready-for-11/
    #mlearning #PLE_BCN

  22. Scott Newcomb 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 8:04 am

    More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #PLE_BCN (via @mariaperif)

  23. iPad Summary 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 8:14 am

    An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42 http://bit.ly/c97rEY #ipad #apple

  24. robinwb 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 10:02 am

    More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #PLE_BCN (via @mariaperif) (via @SNewco)

  25. TheConsultantsE 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 12:08 pm

    More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #via @mariaperif @SNewco

  26. Jana Brown 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 12:33 pm

    RT @robinwb: More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #PLE_BCN (via @mariaperif) (via @SNewco)

  27. debid 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 1:28 pm

    RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN

  28. Meg Juss 8/10/2010 at Aug 10, 10 | 2:25 pm

    RT @TheConsultantsE: More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #via @mariaperif @SNewco

  29. Lynne Oakvik 8/11/2010 at Aug 11, 10 | 12:16 pm

    RT @MegJuss: RT @TheConsultantsE: More iPad school & univ initiatives!! http://bit.ly/azUaw3 #mlearning #via @mariaperif @SNewco

  30. Mario Pires 8/12/2010 at Aug 12, 10 | 9:50 am

    [#Education] An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? – Teach42 http://ow.ly/2oH9c

  31. Cyndi Danner-Kuhn 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 6:19 pm

    RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN

  32. Patrick Larkin 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 6:19 pm

    RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN #bhschat

  33. Scott Newcomb 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 6:20 pm

    RT @bhsprincipal: RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN #bhschat

  34. Kelly Brannock 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 6:21 pm

    RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN

  35. Michael Berry 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 7:04 pm

    RT @bhsprincipal: RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN #bhschat

  36. Peter van Loevezijn 12/18/2010 at Dec 18, 10 | 10:45 pm

    RT @SNewco: RT @bhsprincipal: RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN #b …

  37. Mel Riddile 12/19/2010 at Dec 19, 10 | 8:23 pm

    RT @bhsprincipal: RT @cyndidannerkuhn: RT @teach42: An iPad for Everyone: Is the iPad ready for 1:1? http://bit.ly/bJtorN #bhschat

  38. Brendan Smith 9/5/2011 at Sep 05, 11 | 7:49 am

    Delmarva Christian School in Delaware rolled out an iPad 1:1 program this school year to their 180+ students.

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