Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giving Up....On My iPad

Ok, I’ve officially given up on my iPad.

With my new gig, I’m always on the road. Since most of my travel is “car-free,” I need to keep my supplies to a minimum. In the beginning, I naturally assumed that my 3G iPad would be my natural travel partner.

However, I’ve just about given up on it. Being as my work requires me to type extensive reports and use a slew of files, the iPad just made everything take longer. (It was sort of like trying to mix cookie dough without a mixer—doable, but a pain!)

Plus, the iPad couldn’t watch flash videos (or anything else flash for that matter) so it didn’t facilitate modeling the many Web 2.0 tools that I love to use. Finally, it often sputtered when displaying the lengthy slide decks that I use during presentations. All in all, it wasn’t meeting my needs.

While I agree with the many supporters who point to the development of content creation apps (such as Animoto, Educreations, etc.), I’m still not sure if those apps are easier or better than using web versions a regular laptop.

Given my experience, I’m wondering how schools with 1:1 iPad deployments are finding the transition. Are you finding that students could accomplish much more with a simple netbook? Does the ability to create an edited, focused, environment on the iPad lead to greater engagement from students? Essentially, how’s it going?

Just wondering what folks are finding out there!


  1. Many of your reasons are why I couldn't find a good use for the slablet. I had one at school and returned it a month later. My student only wanted to play games, which it works for, but there are other devices that do not cost $629 for that.

    Working with DCD students, I found they usually just looked at it as a larger mobile game player. It became nothing more than a reward (an expensive one) for good behavior.

  2. As a long-time opponent of iPads in schools, I thought i'd seen the light and bought an iPad 64gig WiFi 3rd gen model. Aside from the iPad's ability to view videos on Netflix or whatever, give me access to my entire ePub ebook library, send occasional emails, it's inferior to a netbook. In working with an iPad deployment, I see that a low-cost netbook running Linux would be MUCH easier to manage,save files to for easy uploading, handling,etc. And, in truth, I wish now that I had spent the money on a netbook instead of an iPad. Simply, the iPad is not a netbook, laptop and false expectations can set one up for disappointment.

    I'm re-calibrating those expectations--what I want to accomplish with the iPad--and trying to just use it in that space. So far, that's working. When I need something with a bit more firepower, I carry a Macbook Air, but a netbook with Linux would do just as well.

    Should we be using iPads in schools? Not unless we've recalibrated our expectations for teaching and learning. Since most users in schools don't have any, the iPad fits...they aren't held back by expectations for tech.

    One more point - learning to do things the Apple way has been fascinatingly frustrating! In trying to view Flash movies, I found Puffin and/or Rover browsers to be effective on the iPad. In working with files, I found it necessary to take advantage of webdav and cloud storage like Dropbox,, or your own homegrown webdav server (e.g. is a nice solution for schools looking to accomplish this with their iPad deployments). There are a million other insights, and those learning experiences have been very valuable in and of themselves.

    Warm regards,
    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

  3. Thanks for your thoughts on this post. I appreciate all the insight that people have shared, both here and on Twitter!

  4. I'm with you, Kristen. If I had a choice of tools to use with students in school, I'd pick a netbook or a laptop. They're WAY more functional, many times cheaper, and equally portable.

    That doesn't mean I don't love my iPad -- but I love it mostly because it's an easy way to consume information from the couch. If I want to create anything, I'm working on a full machine.

    Rock on,

  5. Thanks for your comments Bill! I agree, it's more of a toy/convenience than a tool. ;-)

  6. My school currently has 30 netbooks in a portable cart that is wheeled from class to class. I couldn't imagine the iPads being as convenient to utilize in the classroom effectively unless one would know about specific apps to use whereas the netbooks are able to do much more. I think the iPad education hype is more suited to use @ home because the investment to purchase iPads for the classroom would be significant for what I consider a luxury computing device.

  7. I like that, "luxury computing device." Hmm... that has sparked a new idea. Thanks.



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