iPad and a Bluetooth Keyboard

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I was asked today if we our campus should be looking at the iPad as an addition to classroom technology.

On the balance, I think it is time for the innovators and early adopters to get their hands on this device and explore.  Unfortunately, I suspect that many of the 8 to 10% of faculty who like to live on the cutting edge are already well ahead of me on this one.

But, for the sake of presenting ideas to the masses, here’s my list of pros and cons since everything points to this being a technology that will stay and affect how we work in education.
On the plus side:

  • Pen/finger centric devices were picked last year by Gartner to become mainstream in 2 years  (I think it exploded faster than anticipated)
  • it is a technology that generally allows the user to transfer information around to other devices
  • it is easily customizable by the user for low cost (i.e. “there’s an app for that”)
  • it has applications that can be used for a huge range of tasks
  • multimedia
  • peripherals for it are springing up faster than daffodils
  • faculty are asking me what I think of it and pointing out that it could replace a laptop for them
  • students are adopting it and rapidly mainstreaming it into their lives
  • K-20 schools are piloting them the way they did laptops
  • it does allow digital interaction that was difficult before, such as writing kanji and moving smoothly in virtual space

Cons

  • it is still not a great device for production of artifacts, although I see signs that this is becoming less of an issue
  • we will need to make sure that early issues with accessibility are being addressed
  • I still have some difficulty using it in some lighting conditions
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