Rabu, 01 Februari 2012

Confused about iPads in Education

It's been nearly two years since I got my first Asus convertible tablet/netbook, loaded it up with Linux and started kicking it around with my every day to classes. In general I have found it to be an extremely useful tool.

I need to type notes or prepare a presentation? Not a problem - it is a netbook after all and can perform all the same functions as a laptop. I need to take hand written notes? I don't have to keep track of notebook paper that I always inevitably lose. I simply fire up Xournal and can use any stylus (or even a pen with a cap over the tip) to take notes on the computer just as if I was writing on a notebook. 

My netbook convertible does what any good piece of technology should - it makes my life easier.

You want to know what doesn't seem to make anyone's life easier during class? Those iPad's I've seen piles of people caring around campus with them this last year. In fact, I've never once seen an iPad used productively to take notes in a classroom. You can't type notes effectively on the dang thing - at least I've yet to find anyone that can match my 90+ WPM using a touch screen keyboard. You also can't take hand written notes effectively due to the poor quality of basically every capacitive stylus in existence.

One useful thing the iPad can do is function as a calculator. Another thing I've heard proposed is replacing text books with ebooks on the iPad. You know what else has all the functions of a calculator and can read ebooks and pdfs? You guessed it - my netbook.

The biggest joke at the end of all of it? Even the "16GB" version of the iPad costs more than the highest end Asus T101MT.

Maybe I'm just not "hip" enough to see the need for them, but it seems to me if we want to revolutionize how our students learn using technology they would be better served if that technology came in the form of something other than an "iPad" or capacitive tablet of any sort. Whats your take on it?

~Jeff Hoogland

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