With Apple always being ahead of the game in music, movies and other entertainment, it is interesting to see the effect they now have in the educational field. Apple fans were hanging off the edge of their seats as they witnessed the revealing of the new tablet computer, the iPad. This Wi-Fi enabled device has 10 hours of battery life on its 9.7-inch screen, weighing in at only 1.5 pounds. It uses the iPhone operating system so education companies that have iPhone apps can now make the same information available on the iPad.
The iPad could work wonders for learning, especially for k-5. Since the device is so easy to use, younger children will find it easy to navigate and use. The newest ability to purchase books on the iPad could get rid of some of the problems children face like forgetting books or not wanting to carry such heavy books around. “More than that, though, the tablet will completely integrate education and technology, allowing for easy access to e-textbooks and online teaching,” stated Jenny Williams at GeekDad. The idea of digital books is a great step forward for digital learners and tech savvy children.
Apple founder, Steve Jobs, explained how the device is useful for reading books, playing interactive games or watching video; all things parents are doing with children everyday. Popular publishing companies are already signing up to have digital books available in the iBooks store, encouraging students to download books or texts for school.
With the amount of time children spend on technology, it would only benefit their education. Interactive learning games could be displayed with high, vibrant colors. The touch screen would allow for them to move with ease through each lesson. Since children are already using this technology out of the classroom, incorporating it into their learning would only be beneficial. Hooking up the iPad to projectors and interactive white boards would bring presentations to life. The ability to record voice notes and podcasts can also contribute to many lessons.
Although many sites and videos can be used with the iPad, there are some downfalls, like the inability to multi task. David Andrade brings up a great point in his blog, Educational Technology Guy, about the lack of multi-tasking making it difficult for children to use the iPad. He stated “That’s right, no mention of multi-tasking on the iPad. For me, this is not good. It also has a virtual keyboard only. These two things make this less of a productive or educational tool. I can’t imagine a child doing research and creating content and projects on a device that doesn’t multi-task. Every time they left an app, it would close. It would also be difficult to do much typing on a virtual keyboard that is flush with the screen instead of tilted.” In addition, no compatibility with Flash means the many interactive games and lesson plans that so many children and teachers use will now be useless. No camera or phone will also limit the things children and teachers can do with it.
According to Apple, The iPad will be available in two months. Although you can purchase this highly-anticipated device soon, they are always quick to come out with second and third generation products.
There is already talk about iPad competition. Mashable gives readers a look at some of the most competitive products. The HP Slate and the rumored Google Tablet are just a few of the many devices that are going to give the iPad a run for its money.
The creativity and innovativeness of Apple has brought us so many devices to date. The possibilities for what is to come next are endless. As children begin to use these technologies, we will learn new and ground-breaking ways to improve them in the future.
In what ways it enhances education remains to be seen.
Photo from Apple.com