Monday, June 14, 2010

Evaluating the iPad

We bought an iPad to see what it can do. Can it find a place in schools or is it a gimmick that will go the way of the Newton? At the moment, I see it being most useful in schools as a data collection pad and as a textbook replacement device. (Opinions are subject to change after prolonged exposure.)

iPad Helmet
Originally uploaded by Joe_murphy
The idea is that a number of people will get to play with it, both primary and secondary, and as many subject area specialists that want a look. We've been trying to specify a range of apps to show off what it can do. I'm going to list here what we've added so far and I'd welcome your comments and suggestions. What have we missed? Have we included anything we shouldn't have?

I have deliberately skewed things towards free apps - this is deliberate! Cheaper is better and free is best!

The Basics (and the paid for apps!)

If it is to be used in schools, the obvious place to start is with the iWorks suite of apps: Keynote; Numbers; and Pages (£5.99 each). It seemed obvious to add Documents To Go (£4.99) to allow the easy distribution and editing of existing documents. Finally, in the "obvious" section, we've added The Elements (£7.99) because it is gorgeous.


We've obviously added a bundle of free/public domain eBooks but we've added a few more literacy related apps.


Other Subjects

Interesting Stuff

Note Takers

Looking at the list above, we're light on a number of subjects, including Music and Computing. Any suggestions on how we should plug the gap? Also, I want some games on there. Any suggestions from the Game Based Learning contingent?

Looking forward to seeing what people come up with


Michael Hughes said...

if blackboard actually gets round to it:

David said...

Thanks for this Michael. It hadn't occured to me to look for that ttype of app. We are just about to move to Moodle and there are a couple of Moodle apps that might be worth checking out.

Michael Hughes said...

a few more:

Not an 'ipad' app but certainly iPhone:Teacher Tool

And for Moodle (although this won't work with Strathclyde's Moodle due to authentication systems...yet): mTouch

Bethany Smith said...

I actually heard an interesting comment the other day (and I wish I could remember from whom), that they like the iPad because it forces teachers to think of using a digital device as something besides just note taking. That the issues in some 1:1 programs are that teaching isn't changing and laptops become glorified pen & pencils. It would be interesting to see if this is true.....

P.S. I have really enjoyed my iPad so far - we will see how our students do with it.

Juliet Robertson said...

Hi David

The iPad is interesting from an app perspective. I've blogged a wee bit about this and would suggest than many apps benefit from the bigger screen.

My interest stems from taking learning outdoors and what relates to this or would work well outside. Here 's a link to my blog index which may be of use here:

Best wishes

David said...

Thanks Michael.

The teacher tool looks like it is trying to be comprehensive. Does anyone know if it integrates with school MIS or VLE systems? I am a bit concerned tough about such sensitive personal information being stored on a portable (and easily lost) device. Is the data encrypted in any way?

Hello Bethany

Your comment reminds me of the SAMR Model of technology adoption (see for example The SAMR Model). I would be quite happy if note taking uses got the technology in there because I suspect the more innovative uses would follow.

Let us know how your students get on with their iPads.

Hello Juliet

I think the iPad is ideal as a data collection pad for a whole range of activities. Thanks for sharing your link.

Bethany Smith said...

Thanks David - I've never heard of the SAMR model, but it seems like a great way to frame the way we think about technology integration.

David said...

Hello Again Bethany

It's a model that works at a common sense level and it's an idea that's been around a while. It reminded me of a book I saw in the 1980s (or 1990s?) called The Mac Is Not A Typewriter and Alan November's book Empowering Students With Technology that talked about the same kind of thing.

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