Why the iPad will change education as we know it

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(image source: http://www.ninjamarketing.it)

When I was in high school, we lugged really heavy and expensive textbooks around e.g. Gardner’s Art through the Ages (Amazon link), our backs bearing their combined weight during our commute. Now in 2011, a student’s life is being transformed to adapt to the digital age (at last). As we’ve seen since the advent of the iPad, the first early adopting schools have started paving the way for integrating the devices in classrooms all over the world. Will our children grow up in a world where costly printed textbooks and heavy uberdimensional bookbags are a thing of the past?

It certainly looks so. The news that iPads will be provided to Kindergardeners in Maine USA broke last week, in my view a natural and necessary step forward in early education. Here in Europe, there are already pilot projects in schools in Austria and Germany that equip highschoolers with the iOS device. Now I’ve stumbled across the article One Year Later: assessing the impact of iPads in Education (link), which explores several reasons why the iPad will fundamentally impact education.

As author Sam Gliksman points out, the iPad in Education has a lot going for it. The device is light and handy, turns on instantly, is less expensive than a laptop and easy to use. Moreover he notes its capacity to present audiovisual media and the promising potential it holds for special needs children or the creation of content. He also acknowledges that we’re early in the game and that there’s a lot to be done especially in the digitizing of textbooks and the development of specialized and customized apps for schools and their individual curricula.

I can speak from my own experience that using the iPad to study and do research feels like the way it was always supposed to be done. Information at your fingertips, literally. Visually stimulating, fun to use and handy and lightweight. I almost wish I could go to high school again and experience it with an iPad! Can you imagine holding all your textbooks AND your homework in one device?

I’d definitely recommend you read the original piece quoted in this blog post: One Year Later: assessing the impact of iPads on education (8 April 2011)

His website can be found here: http://ipadeducators.ning.com where you can find lots of resources on education and e-learning.


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3 thoughts on “Why the iPad will change education as we know it”

  1. I found one of the reader comments interesting… only because I’m in IT. This in particular bugged me:

    **application** “won’t work in my building because Networking won’t open up the needed port due to what they believe are security risks”

    This is the problem with a lot of IT staff especially in this type of environment. IT tends to get a lot of flack for being a roadblock. Now, I understand there always going to be security risks and sometimes you’re going to need to say no, but IT should be an enabler to getting things done. Standing in the way of allowing a teacher to do their job doesn’t benefit anyone.

  2. Over a decade ago I worked for a top K-12 eLearning company. We had the latest Macs on a secure, closed network but the main reason people bought our product over others was CONTENT! Sure you can give every kid an iPad but if the content is bad (like most is today), their education will continue to deteriorate as it has over the last 15 years. Good idea but the two go hand-in-hand or it all FAILS!

    1. What “bad content” on iPad are you talking about? The device does not come with content – that depends on the user or in this case the insitution. In principle the same content that you put on a laptap can be put on the iPad. If you are referring to the paucity of educational textbooks in digitized form for the iPad platform or of specialized apps – it’s only a question of time before this becomes standard. The iPad may not be the sole tablet device used in schools in the future but at least it will have shown the way in my view.

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