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Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the insert-semester-to-continue dept.

Education 234

theodp writes "Perhaps people are reading too much into Apple CEO Tim Cook's 'Big Plans' for 2014, but hopes are high that the New Year will bring a biggie-sized iPad. Over at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner asks, Will The Large Screen iPad Pro Be Apple's First In A Line Of Desktop Touch Devices?. 'Rumors of a large [12.9"] iPad are many and constant,' notes ComputerWorld's Mike Elgan, 'but they make sense only if the tablet is a desktop for schools.' Elgan adds, 'Lots of schools are buying iPads for kids to use. But iPads don't make a lot of sense for education. For starters, their screens are too small for the kinds of interactive textbooks and apps that Apple wants the education market to create. They're also too small for collaborative work. iPads run mobile browsers, rather than full browsers, so kids can't use the full range of HTML5 sites.' Saying that 'Microsoft has fumbled the [post-PC] transition badly,' Elgan argues that 'the battle for the future of education is likely to be between whatever Google turns the Chromebook into against whatever Apple turns the iPad into.'"

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iDesk (5, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#45817609)

Just make an iDesk and be done with it already.

Re:iDesk (0)

nightsky30 (3348843) | about a year ago | (#45817751)

Give how normal desks and textbooks are treated by some children, they should stick with what they've been using for years. Kids are just going to destroy, abuse, and lose the expensive tech.

Re:iDesk (4, Informative)

ecotax (303198) | about a year ago | (#45817957)

Kids are just going to destroy, abuse, and lose the expensive tech.

You are overgeneralising. My youngest son goes to a school that uses iPads. The kids all take their iPad to school every day, and after one and a half year, his one is still in perfect condition, and I think the whole class had one 'accident' over that period. The school found a pretty simple solution to prevent this: the parents pay for the iPads themselves...

Re:iDesk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818087)

So you get to send your kid to a public school and forced to buy a product from a private company? Nice setup.

Re:iDesk (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#45818313)

Yes, an iPad is pretty expensive considering your tax dollars are already paying for public education. But consider this. When people are abstracted out from cost, tangible items are given and treated with less respect. It's just a fundemental aspect of human nature. Now, when you bring this cost closer to home, the parents will be there to discipline their own child. Also, it's exceedingly difficult (if not impossible) for teachers and staff to do the disciplining for the parents. So come full circle, yes, it's best if the parents pay for these high-ticket items that are in direct possession of their children.

Re:iDesk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818197)

It's moronic to force pupils to buy a tablet to school. Not all parents can afford to buy their kids such equipment and thus it creates a lot of inequality in the learning environment.

Re:iDesk (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45818443)

There's already lot of inequality in the learning environment. It's called suburbia.

Re:iDesk (4, Insightful)

red crab (1044734) | about a year ago | (#45818267)

Expensive tech aside, this is an example of monopoly even worse than MSFT's. Schools should have a say only over the course content, and that can be in form of a generic app designed to run on any device, even on a $25 Android tablet.

Re:iDesk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818301)

A third of the kids around here get free lunch at school. I'm sure their parents can afford to buy several ipads, though.

Re:iDesk (3, Informative)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#45818409)

You are overgeneralising. My youngest son goes to a school that uses iPads. The kids all take their iPad to school every day, and after one and a half year, his one is still in perfect condition, and I think the whole class had one 'accident' over that period. The school found a pretty simple solution to prevent this: the parents pay for the iPads themselves...

This is just stupid. An ipad is a specific device by a specific brand. They can tell you to bring a pencil or paper, and as long as it meets specifications, it doesn't matter what you bring. But to specify a certain brand of tablet is not right. First of all tablets are expensive. Only rich people or people who are bad with money can afford to have them for their children. I'm sure that Obama will buy them for the poor folks. But the middle class people are then left out. They can't afford to buy one because they are subsidizing them for the poor people. This is just corporate graft an d corruption to use our tax dollars to shore up an industry that is drowning in its own profits.

Re:iDesk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817965)

Herculite glass is some pretty strong stuff. Although currently only Gorilla glass is used on mobile devices. So if an iDesk is made, Herculite might be the way to go.

Re:iDesk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817801)

I believe you misspelled iSurface.

Elgan is a Google sycophant; biased in the extreme (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#45817619)

That Computerworld let's him have the forum when Elgan has an IV of Google connected to his femoral artery just blows my mind. He's also the ex-editor of Windows Mag and not exactly a neutral observer of this stuff.

Re:Elgan is a Google sycophant; biased in the extr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817909)

That Computerworld let's him have the forum when Elgan has an IV of Google connected to his femoral artery

That Computerworld let us him have the forum when Elgan has an four of Google connected to his femoral artery? Dude, learn English before trying to post on an English language messageboard.

Re:Elgan is a Google sycophant; biased in the extr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817943)

Humor attempt fail

Re:Elgan is a Google sycophant; biased in the extr (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#45817989)

Dude, understand what an intraveneous abbreviation is. IV, as in his freaking veins.

Re:Elgan is a Google sycophant; biased in the extr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818095)

I for one can't wait to buy all my children chomebooks. HAHA. How did we ever educate our kids in the past.

Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817631)

So you want to turn millions os school children into Sith apprentices?

Re:Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45818403)

not possible, because there can be only one master and one apprentice at a time. when the master dies the apprentice assumes the throne / CEO position.

Betteridge says... (0)

areusche (1297613) | about a year ago | (#45817651)

No, it won't.

Re:Betteridge says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818133)

How can giant ipads, and chromebooks, not solve education across the nation?

Tablets will be good in education (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year ago | (#45817663)

Idk, I don't think for kids bigger is better. I guess I know when I see it, but the current iPad is already heavy after a while for my hands.

But tablets in general will be awesome in education coupled with programs like DuoLingo. Some kids really need to learn at their own pace (with a minimum requirement), that factory like schoolrooms just don't provide.

But as much as I like Apple tablets, not for school. Just too expensive. I bought from Aldi a 7" $99 medion brand tablet for family recently (free and clear, no 2 year plans attached), and I'm impressed how competent it is. Not the most beautiful screen, some things take several clicks, and battery life isn't an iPad.... but it plays netflix, has skype and most other programs, and surfs the net, and google's voice to text was surprisingly good. $99. I was blown away. Who knows how cheap they will get. If a kid breaks or loses that, who cares compared to an iPad.

Re:Tablets will be good in education (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817745)

As someone who does classroom technology in schools, you are right about the size. The iPad screen size is just fine for the majority of K-12 uses. I don't know what "too small for collaborative work," even means.

Re:Tablets will be good in education (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#45817977)

Can you point to any studies that show these things are an advantage in education for the regular student? Just curious, I have seen some older data that suggests they are not, but that was regarding PC usage. I have a nephew with an eye problem who I think has benefited from the school-issued iPad, but he mostly plays games on it just like everyone else.

Re:Tablets will be good in education (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45818257)

That depends entirely on how the devices are used and how you want to measure progress. The problem, as with much of education in this age of "reform," is that people always want to measure how well something is working by looking at test scores. I think all that shows is how well you take a test. Still, there is some decent research. Here's one summary.

http://schooltechleadership.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CASTLEBrief01_LaptopPrograms.pdf [schooltechleadership.org]

There have been some notable failures of 1:1 programs. There are other failures in progress. I think LA's iPad rollout is going to crash and burn. In most of the instances I've seen, the failures come when they throw the devices into the classroom and don't train teachers to fundamentally change the way they teach. I've seen it done right. When that happens, the teacher stops being the sage on the stage and works more as a guide while students solve problems and use a variety of tools.

iPads do support HTML5 (3, Informative)

MikeMo (521697) | about a year ago | (#45817671)

TFA is a bit fact-challenged. Safari on the iPad is not a "mobile browser" and supports HTML5 [html5test.com] (although it could do better).

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about a year ago | (#45817703)

It is easier to develop HTML5 applications for iOS than IE9 and IE10. I have not tested IE11 much to draw any conclusions from that.

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817829)

IE10 runs HTML5 just fine. Quit being a boner

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#45817729)

iPad is a mobile browser based on other capabilities than just HTML5 support.
For web developers, the most significant is probably the touch screen, closely followed by the relatively small viewport.
A rich website (i.e. "web app") build for desktops will most likely not work on an iPad, the mobile version of the site will.

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (2)

MikeMo (521697) | about a year ago | (#45817811)

Certainly touch support is significant (and is a rather obvious difference, no?) as is the small viewport, but these differences are not significant limitations and don't make it a "mobile browser". To me, the term "mobile browser" brings up the specter of the old browsers one typically found in phones before the iPhone, and it certainly isn't that. Aside from the size and touch issues, there are no major distinctions from the desktop version of Safari. Apple doesn't even bother to have a separate page of specs for the two browsers.

I have implemented two rather complicated web apps and Safari ran fine. Just make sure you don't depend on mouseovers and keep all of the element sizes dynamic (which you should do, anyway), and you're set.

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year ago | (#45818337)

"To me, the term "mobile browser" brings up the specter of the old browsers one typically found in phones before the iPhone..."

So the problem is your understanding of what a mobile browser is.

The iPhone, in fact, defined the first mobile browser. Prior to that, phones tried to make browsers work just like desktop versions.

Re:iPads do support HTML5 (1)

RetiredMidn (441788) | about a year ago | (#45818341)

iPad is a mobile browser based on other capabilities than just HTML5 support.

I agree with the previous reply that "mobile browser" suggests a significantly less capable browser than Safari on iOS (iPad or iPhone). One frustration of using iOS Safari is that too many web sites unnecessarily decide the browser is "mobile" and re-directs to their dumbed-down "mobile" variant, requiring me to specifically ask for the "full site", which typically works fine.

Yes! (4, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#45817681)

To heck with schools. I think I'd like one. Finally large enough to be able to use. The market for tiny devices for people with microscopic vision is saturated. Time for a tablet people can actually see. I looked at an iPad but it's just too small. The mini is okay as a book reader but I can use anything for that, no need to spend that kind of money on a book reader.

Need a stylus for math class (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#45817683)

Tablets for school make a lot less sense if you cannot write equations or draw detailed diagrams with them. A fingertip is simply too blunt an instrument to be used for writing equations or drawing - for that you need a stylus. I would dearly have loved to have a tablet for note taking when I was in school but not if I had to do it with my fingers. A keyboard is fine for taking notes if you are in something like an english class and a finger based touch interface is fine for navigation and reading. But to take notes in math class (or any class that uses equations or drawings) you absolutely have to have a stylus. I'm not sure how they are going to reconcile this problem in the current generation of tablets. They simply were not designed with a stylus in mind.

Note that not having a stylus isn't entirely a bad thing. Software developers have a terrible habit of mistaking a stylus for a mouse. A stylus should not be used for navigation. The sole purpose of stylus should be for drawing (diagrams, equations etc) which requires detail greater than can easily be achieved with a mouse or fingertip. While a stylus can be used for navigation, it does a pretty poor job of it.

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45817725)

I don’t really agree with that I’ve been using the full gamut of Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) ranging from Macysma to Mathematica to HP Prime for years, and I find text-only entry to be very comfortable. Mathematica even has photoshop-style palettes if you wish to choose familiar notations.

Don’t confuse mathematics with mathematics notation. The latter is totally arbitrary and can easily be replaced, most obviously by the various prefix notations common in CASes ( Integrate[x^2,x,a,b] , for example).

We already have a standard math notation (3, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#45818151)

I find text-only entry to be very comfortable.

That makes you very unusual. While I applaud your flexibility on the matter, it is not nearly so easy a matter to get the entire global population on a new mathematical notation. Frankly I have zero interest in using a different notation when doing so provides me no additional value. Putting a stylus on to a tablet is a MUCH easier solution for note taking than trying to retrain everyone on some new notation. Those who have a specialized need for different notation (such as yourself) are not hindered in any way by providing technology to utilize the standard notation.

Mathematica even has photoshop-style palettes if you wish to choose familiar notations.

VERY awkward for note taking which needs to happen quickly. You need a notation that can be done with a pencil and paper and which does not change.

Don’t confuse mathematics with mathematics notation. The latter is totally arbitrary and can easily be replaced

I'm not confusing them a bit. We have a standard mathematical notation already which works just fine. Yes it is arbitrary and no it cannot be "easily" replaced. You are seriously proposing that we suddenly have everyone throw out the math notation we have been using for centuries just because it doesn't easily work on a keyboard? The economic cost alone makes this a prohibitively bad idea. Do you have any concept of the amount of retraining that would be required? Providing a stylus and some decent note taking software is a MUCH cheaper and simpler and better solution than trying to retrain everyone to some new keyboard friendly notation. Look up what Richard Feynman had to say about changing notations when he tried to invent one.

Re:We already have a standard math notation (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#45818255)

For the first 3 years of my undergrad degree program I used one of the convertible laptops from Toshiba back when Microsoft was pushing pen computing. Taking notes in maths lectures with that thing and a stylus worked fantastically because of the simple "easy erase" functionality which meant I could scribble things out, then erase them and leave my notes in a more comprehensible form.

It wasn't a great platform by any stretch (underpowered hardware, and ultimately the screen was way too fragile - even under warranty you can't depend on something like that then spend 2 weeks without it while it's repaired) but even just with the very basic hand-writing system it was a great way to work.

Re:We already have a standard math notation (1)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45818437)

I hadn’t realised (and don’t quite accept) that I am unusually ‘flexible’ in using text-mode mathematical entry. Indeed I think you’ll find that if you consider the sum total of programmers and spreadsheet users most non-academic users of mathematics are already using non-traditional notations for mathematics (though, I do readily admit, spreadsheet formulas and program statements are not terribly convenient for deriving symbolic statements).

Notations do change, have changed, and will change again - consider for example the switch from Roman to Arabic numerals. That brought a huge boost in convenience, sufficient to promote the adoption of the unfamiliar new notation.

Anyway, it is education that we are talking about here. Quite distinct from the fact that I do not believe adding more technology to the mix is the solution to a (non-existent) problem, I think you’ll agree that since education teaches ex nihilo, we can easily teach new learners whatever new notation we please, and it will be accepted by them as the norm. Provided they are sufficiently acquainted with the old notation to translate from it (and into it) if and when the need arises, there is no disconnect in their experience.

Re:We already have a standard math notation (1)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45818525)

Oh, and regarding note-taking: I’d argue that there’s a strong distinction between the need to record notes and the ability to use those notations in an ‘active’ or ‘computable’ form. Until very recently there was no ‘self-computing’ notation at all simply because everything had to be processed by a human. The idea that a notation should be machine-readable is obviously a fairly recent one (whether by ‘recent’ you imply either Turing or Leibnitz is fairly irrelevant in the grand scale of things). Arguing that notation must be machine-readable and ‘standard’ is somewhat inconsistent.

Standard mathematical notation is wildly inconsistent already (witness the confusion that arises when students first encounter subscripts and ‘powers’ in tensor notation); I don’t see any reason why this inconsistent ad-hoc hodgepodge should be protected to the extent of impeding further advancement.

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#45817769)

A fingertip is simply too blunt an instrument to be used for writing equations or drawing - for that you need a stylus. I would dearly have loved to have a tablet for note taking when I was in school but not if I had to do it with my fingers.

It is technologically possible. The Microsoft Surface tablet can be used with a stylus [youtube.com] .

I would love to move to a large stylus-capable tablet for schoolwork!

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

ecotax (303198) | about a year ago | (#45817809)

Tablets for school make a lot less sense if you cannot write equations or draw detailed diagrams with them. A fingertip is simply too blunt an instrument to be used for writing equations or drawing - for that you need a stylus.

No you don't. You just need decent software. The MyScript Calculator app (just google it) does a decent job, for example.

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#45818229)

You just need decent software.

None exists to my knowledge. I honestly cannot conceive of any way you could reasonably take notes requiring fine details using your fingertips. There is a reason we use fine tip pencils instead of big bulky markers to take notes.

The MyScript Calculator app (just google it) does a decent job, for example.

Utterly useless for note taking. That is an app for processing a single equation, and not even especially bulky ones at that. Furthermore it actually is a calculator which misses the point entirely. When you are taking notes or working through a calculation you are not trying to have the computer solve the problem for you. You need to essentially make a very detailed drawing, nothing more. (an equation is simply a drawing) The best tool for this is a pen or stylus due to the standard math notation in use.

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45818483)

Include this with all of the other use cases that Apple has classified as irrelevant. Of course should Apple ever change it's mind, it will suddenly become one of Apple's great innovations.

Re:Need a stylus for math class (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#45817917)

If the Surface Pro and Galaxy Note can steal thunder from iOS devices then Apple may be forced to react. But don't hold you breath; Jobs was no fan of the Newton.

Jobs is no longer with us (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#45818295)

If the Surface Pro and Galaxy Note can steal thunder from iOS devices then Apple may be forced to react. But don't hold you breath; Jobs was no fan of the Newton.

Last I checked Saint Steve is no longer in charge of Apple.

Plus I think his animosity towards the Newton had more to do with it being a mediocre product that few people really wanted and also maybe the fact that it was John Sculley's baby. If the Newton had been selling like crazy Jobs would not have been likely to kill it off but it simply wasn't a sufficiently profitable product. There were things to like about the Newton but the rollout was badly flubbed, it was expensive, and it wasn't clear who it was designed for. Too small for note taking, too bulky to be a PDA, limited networking ability (and the internet wasn't really a thing for the masses yet), poor device for media consumption, useless as a PC replacement, etc. They made a lot of design tradeoffs and the result was a device that tried to be all things to all people and achieved just the opposite.

The future of education (5, Insightful)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45817687)

The future of education is human teachers teaching human kids.

Please stop using prospective educational uses to justify technolust. There’s no harm in wanting better gadgets, but there is harm in fixing things that aren’t broken.

The best thinkers in history were educated by people. I see absolutely no reason to replace competent, compassionate humans with impersonal and inflexible machines.

Re:The future of education (4, Interesting)

ecotax (303198) | about a year ago | (#45817873)

The best thinkers in history were educated by people.

And the best teachers in the world have always used whatever tools could help hem in that. Crayons, cave walls, scrolls, blackboards, pens, notebooks, televisions, you name it. And now they have iPads.
Not to replace them, but to assist them.

Re:The future of education (0, Redundant)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817929)

THIS.

Re:The future of education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818021)

THIS.

Stop... please stop with the 'this'ing... *Try* to talk as if you're older than 12.

Re:The future of education (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45818277)

Okay. This comment shows great wisdom. Technology is a tool that students WILL use when they graduate high school. We should be embracing the tools that make sense and showing kids how to use them now to solve real world problems.

Wordy enough?

Sorry to have peed in your cornflakes.

Re:The future of education (1)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45818485)

I disagree.

Usually (though not necessarily) it makes students dependent on mysterious ‘black boxes’ and engenders them to become dependent on one implementation and it’s quirks. Technology should only be introduced gradually to provide ‘shortcuts’ for that which is already understood but tedious to perform.

And never, ever, should we promote reliance on technology. If we provide students with tablets and on-screen keyboards and spellcheckers, are we going to exempt them from having illegible handwriting and awful orthography when we examine them? Or are we going to examine them on tablets, allowing millennia of calligraphy and writing skills to be lost?

People, we’re technologists. It’s fine for us to love gadgets. It’s harmful for us to try to use technology to solve every single problem - particularly problems that either don’t exist or have arisen precisely because of technology.

Most of the most proficient education systems are significantly lower-technology than the current US system. I think that is no coincidence.

Re:The future of education (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#45818377)

And now they have iPads.

Which is proprietary garbage that has no place in educational environments.

And the problem with our education system (its abysmal quality) is so deep that even new tools cannot help teachers.

Re:The future of education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817975)

but but but.... Apple needs a tax sponsored customer!

But yes, I completely agree with you. There's very little use in actually *going* to school if...your education is sourced from say YouTube.

Then again, I also think some schools screwed up when they moved to dry erase markers from chalk... I think chalk (and perhaps wall-to-wall-around-the-classroom blackboard is the best learning enviroment.... have an idea, go work it out on the board with symbols, pictures, etc.,).

Re:The future of education (1)

Wormsign (1498995) | about a year ago | (#45818181)

Because kids are already gadget-centric, teachers can more easily drum up a passion for learning by doing a portion of it on computers or other devices. Anything that drags US education up a few notches is a win, in my book.

Re:The future of education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818497)

Because kids are already gadget-centric, teachers can more easily drum up a passion for learning by doing a portion of it on computers or other devices.

So let's push for PS4s in schools.

Re:The future of education (1)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45818537)

Likely what drags US education down is the underlying notion that things must be ‘fun’ for children to do them. Most of the highest-achieving education systems are significantly less technology- and fun-orientated than the US system. And you can hardly argue that the young adults who emerge from these systems are psychologically scarred by the lack of ‘entertainment’.

I fear a monoculture (4, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#45817699)

whatever that monoculture is based on, especially in education. Pupils will just end up learning how to drive one device, become familiar with its applications (and implicitly whatever file formats and wire protocols underpin it) and conclude that everthing else is broken. They will then demand/expect future employers to use the same kit. We don't want the next 25 years to be dominated by Apple in the way that the last 25 years were dominated by Microsoft.

I even would not want a school system that had a monoculture based on some Linux distro, it is good for kids to have to understand what they are doing rather than just knowing which buttons to press - blindly. OK: Linux is not as bad since file formats & protocols are open and thus different products can compete.

Re:I fear a monoculture (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817791)

Agreed. As someone who works in schools with technology, the vast majority of us hate monoculture. Ironically, the Apple and Google products we are getting are actually the first steps out of a Microsoft monoculture.

Keep in mind, many, many school systems have been hard pressed for cash lately and are mainly using 6-10 year old machines running WinXP.

I'm doing my best to push Chromebooks, Apple and anything else that makes sense.

Re:I fear a monoculture (4, Interesting)

supercrisp (936036) | about a year ago | (#45817939)

As a professor, I'd welcome a monoculture. I'd love for all my students to have the same machine with the same OS and the same apps. Otherwise, every class with a computer component becomes a class in teaching half the students how to change systems settings or whatever on different machines. The average student doesn't have any great computer competence, despite the "digital natives" hype. They can get on Facebook or use Google, but inserting a header in a document or hooking up to an external monitor is beyond them. I can really understand why other educators would want a "monoculture." (However, I think the emphasis on computers in education is misplaced and overhyped. My students, at the college level, would benefit much more from learning touch typing and a few basics than from whatever malarky they're being taught now.)

Re:I fear a monoculture (3, Informative)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#45818097)

If the students are not competent with the tools that they have then should your college not provide remedial classes ? They would if a student could not speak English (or whatever) or had problems in writing or maths. It should not be down to you as a professor in something (I assume not computing) to provide that education - but down to your college.

There is an unfortunate assumption made by many employers (also colleges, etc) that people do understand how to: use a computer file system; use a word processor; write emails that others can understand; ... This is often false (or their knowledge is rudimentary) with the result that huge amounts of time are wasted. These skills need to be taught - unfortunately many school teachers that I have come across only have a hazy understanding themselves; these skills are rarely taught to adults.

Re:I fear a monoculture (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45818319)

Well, you are right that the "digital natives" thing is ovehyped. I see students all the time who can't type their way out of a paper bag. The problem we run into is that teachers at all the levels UNDER you also say "I think the emphasis on computers in education is misplaced and overhyped." I hear this all the way down to kindergarten where they say the parents should be the ones teaching kids to type, not the teachers because the emphasis on computers is misplaced. In my state, the legislature just passed a law requiring us to teach the kids cursive. If it were up to me I'd spend enough time on cursive to let them sign their name and then dive right into keyboarding. That's just me though.

Re:I fear a monoculture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818001)

This is EXACTLY why apple is pushing for this!!! You may think monoculture is bad, but it's amazingly great if you're the company at the center of that monoculture.

Heck, Microsoft managed to screw up just about every product in the last decade, and yet it's still amazingly profitable---all thanks to the drones who just cannot be productive without Windows and Office, simply 'cause that's what they learned to use in school.

Title is moronic. (5, Insightful)

no_go (96797) | about a year ago | (#45817707)

-20 , Title is moronic.

Why should any product (commercial or otherwise) be the future of education ?
The future of education isn't on buzzwords/marketing items/products with a limited shelf life.
It's on philosophies, methods and concepts.

Re:Title is moronic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818039)

Colossal hippie faggot detected.

Sorta makes sense (2)

motang (1266566) | about a year ago | (#45817713)

Given it's ease of use, it sorta makes sense to have it in schools lower grades.

Re:Sorta makes sense (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817803)

We are slowing bringing iPads into the classroom in my district (I do tech integration with teachers) and you are right, the ease of use is great in lower grades. The big problem with iOS, is that it's primarily a one-user devices. It gets hairy to manage a class set of 30 of them. The system for buying and installing multiple copies of apps is Byzantine and glitchy too. I think those aspects will get better though.

I lean more towards Chromebooks for upper grades. If the district has a Google Apps domain, (which is free) device management becomes very smooth. The keyboard also makes it a more useful too for doing real creative work as opposed to scripted lessons (which are the devil).

Re:Sorta makes sense (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#45818207)

I think it's a bad idea tying yourself to any operating system that does not have multiple supplier options for hardware. Eventually the sole supplier will decide they want to raise prices beyond what you're comfortable with, or make hardware decisions that are not optimal for you. Public institutions should not be able to choose these types of solutions where more open ones exist.

Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817743)

Dell already had a ludicrously large "tablet" and there doesn't seem to be any demand for it.

Though, the fact that I cannot find it on Dell's website may be the reason for low demand.

Re:Dell (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#45818015)

They said the Dell Streak 5 phone was ludicrously large too, but the success of the Samsung Note line suggests it may have just been ahead of its time.

use apps not the browser (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45817759)

you get a lot better performance from native apps on IOS and not the browser
and apple has a free ibooks textbook creation program to make textbooks for schools. they can even do it themselves and not buy from the big publishers

A device means nothing without relevant content. (1)

pillageplunder (183475) | about a year ago | (#45817795)

No one device is the future of education. In today's classroom, with the various programs the Feds have put in place (No Child left Behind, etc.) what a device like this will do is make it so very easy to define each student on how well/poorly they do in "learning" mandated curriculum by how well they do on "standardized" testing. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to being able to learn, and, as importantly, being able to apply that learned knowledge in a productive manner. Simply being able to regurgitate what you have been taught doesn't give a student the skill-set and tools needed needed to make it in the world we live in today. Take a look at the current problems with College "educated" folks who have graduated and are upset because their perfect 4.0 GPA doesn't translate to a well-paying tech job. A 4.0 GPA means you've learned how to excel in the environment known as college. That ain't what the real world is all about.

Re:A device means nothing without relevant content (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817901)

QFT

I'm a former classroom teacher whose job is to work with other teachers to integrate technology into their instruction. My primary goal in life is to prevent the horror situation you describe.

We try to show teachers models of integrating technology so deeply into instruction that it becomes another tool (kind of like how most of us use it at work). We also push teachers to introduce the tools, present problems to the kids, and then let THEM choose the tools they use to solve those problems.

If you are interested here's a link to one of the models we use.

https://sites.google.com/a/msad60.org/technology-is-learning/samr-model [google.com]

Technology is not a panacea for education's ills (4, Informative)

Akratist (1080775) | about a year ago | (#45817799)

While I admire the willingness of the tech industry to try to find solutions to some of the issues with education, the real issue that is being missed is that education's problems, at least in America, are cultural, not technical. It's been shown in numerous studies that parental attitude toward education is the single biggest predictor in educational success. Unfortunately, we're a culture where people are focused on entertainment and sports, where parents may be working two or three jobs, and where education itself is looked at by many as a burden, instead of as learning how to use a knowledge as a tool to bring success in life.

Re:Technology is not a panacea for education's ill (2)

qubex (206736) | about a year ago | (#45817861)

I absolutely agree.

Let’s remember that all those figures in history (both recent and remote) whom we admire were educated the old way: by one-on-one contact between educators and children. Tech industry’s drive to replace that quintessentially human bond with mechanistic devices strikes me as fundamentally misguided.

Wanting better technology is fine. However the best technology for dealing with people (particularly kids) is still other people.

It seems like we’re on the verge of institutionalising autism.

Re:Technology is not a panacea for education's ill (1)

Wormsign (1498995) | about a year ago | (#45818193)

Ok, so mask education as entertainment by moving it to a device kids already associate with fun. That will be far easier than changing a culture with billions of dollars in marketing fighting against you every year.

Re:Technology is not a panacea for education's ill (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about a year ago | (#45818345)

The real issue is that combined with the fact that schools focus on rote memorization and teaching to the test.

"Educational success" means little if the education you're getting is piss-poor, like it is in most countries. Grades (mere letters) are rather irrelevant at this point.

Want one. NOW. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817813)

Since Android and eReaders first came out, this is what I've wanted: Something with a large enough screen that I can comfortably read technical documents, e.g. papers published in Science and Nature, US gov't energy and environmental publications, including all tables and graphics without scrolling and zooming.

I agree that this is likely overkill for school kids, but there's definitely a market for big tablets for adults.

Bring back my beloved 17" MBP (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#45817817)

Seriously, Apple, bring back my 17" MBP or I might vote for Carl Ichan's proposal.

ergonomics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817819)

Is typing on a keyboard old-school now? I tried using an iPad for filling out service reports- dropdowns and a small amount of typing. I found it cumbersome compared to a laptop.

Am I alone in thinking that tablets are good for browsing/consuming and inferior for much else when compared to a laptop or desktop?

Maybe I need to see what schools use them for and how they are the better investment.

Re:ergonomics (1)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45818333)

Agreed. I work with tech in schools and I find the iPad great for consumption, but only fair for creation. The apps themselves are making it easier as we go along, but a keyboard is always preferable, especially in upper grades.

iPad Maxi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817837)

I can't believe nobody posted this yet...

Lifespan of iPad's too short (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817843)

Many educational people I have talked to have said the iPad is simply not supported long enough to be practical for many schools. In many instances most Mac's and PC's schools use are on average needing a 5 to sometimes 7 year replacement cycle. iPad's and even Mac's today have a poorer lifespan then the PC side. The district my wife teaches in replaced Mac's with PC's years ago for just this reason. Tablets altogether seem to have a shorter lifespan then a PC. They also face more breakage and they are much harder to repair if they can even be repaired. Many schools see Chromebook's as a alternative because they are much less costs per unit then say a iPad and even though they also face a dated lifespan. They appear to be more popular on the price alone. I still question the durability of any tablet in a school environment.

Not just a large tablet... (1)

jddeluxe (965655) | about a year ago | (#45817855)

There are making a 12"+ item, it's just not going to be strictly a tablet.

The move to a 64bit CPU was a step to merging iOS/OSX; this is the next logical step: a product to replace or supplement the MacBook Air, large tablet form factor with Apple quality detachable keyboard capable of running both iOS and OSX applications.

Don't expect it to be inexpensive...

Re:Not just a large tablet... (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#45818249)

Of course, one could buy such a thing now:

http://www.modbook.com/ [modbook.com]

For my part, I picked up a Tablet PC and am working on getting OS X 10.6.8 installed on it.

Re:Not just a large tablet... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#45818289)

... or to be able to be able to run anything you want on it, or develop on it without paying a fee.

wrong market, if a market at all. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#45817857)

If you think public schools that regularly chage parents for textbooks and band equipment are an untapped market for e and i devices, you're sorely mistaken.

some schools, namely those in private and affluent neighborhoods, can afford this kind of technology but they leverage far more heavily a well paid staff with ample resources and a constructive environment to teach students. the devices make no sense as the target audience has parents that have already purchased the newest tablet or e-reader for them. the readers may be purchased by the school and thats ok, so long as we recognize it for what it truly is: squandered potential.

urban and underfunded schools, the majority of educational facilities for america, will not be investing in this technology anytime soon. Vending machines, advertisements, channel 1 news, and ASVAB military testing provide urgently needed revenue for arts programs and science equipment in a learning environment that hasnt seen so much as a new coat of paint since the carter administration. e-readers and tablets are neat but they dont contribute to the emergency fund to repair the boiler in the winter, or repair 30 year old desks.

Tablets will make a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45817871)

the paper kind, though. This push for electronic tablets in school is ridiculous. Kids don't need tablets, nor computers. There is too much reliance on these devices and less on actually teaching children. Take a look at the top countries for education and see how much technology they are using. I'm betting it isn't a media consumption device for every child. They have their places as a supplement, but not a full time tool.

Re:Tablets will make a difference (2)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about a year ago | (#45817921)

From a principal’s publication in 1815: “Students today depend on paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”
From Rural American Teacher, 1928: “Students today depend upon store bought ink. They don’t know how to make their own. When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern education.”
From Federal Teachers, 1950: “Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American values of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Businesses and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.”
From a science fair judge in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1988: “Computers give students an unfair advantage. Therefore, students who used computers to analyze data or create displays will be eliminated from the science fair.”

Re:Tablets will make a difference (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45818331)

how much tech do you need to tech the test?

Jup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818033)

Here you go: http://static1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110327012855/victorious/images/7/72/RobbiePearPad.jpg

12.9 is not "super sized" (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#45818045)

Call me when it's 27" or 32+ inches. THAT is super sized. I personally think the smallest should be 40" and the desk surface.

but at that point it really needs to not be iOS anymore or the nasty windows 8 single task idea. Back to real multitasking where I can slide apps around and slide data to and from, etc.. I should be able to bring up my photos, and pick a photo by dragging it to the app I want to use it in, say Email or whatever.

The biggest problem is that all the OS and software makers need to stop being shiny little babies and use A SINGLE STANDARD for file transfers so I can easily flick photos from my phone to my desk when I set it on it. Stop with this retardation that is closed special ways of doing things to force lock in.

Re:12.9 is not "super sized" (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#45818283)

Having just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get a photo on an iPad to my Android phone (both devices having wi-fi, bluetooth, internet connectivity) I cannot agree with this enough.

I mean sure, yeah, it's possible but the solution I landed on was "download BitTorrent Sync app and use that" - which did just work in the end. Of course the iPad was the real problem in this chain - hand over your credit card details to iTunes to download anything, and then are you going to get to use Samba or FTP? Haha, of course not!

A Larger Surface Pro 2 + Type 2 Cover + Pen... (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#45818063)

...would be great, aside from the price tag. :-(

Couples maybe, but not schools (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818189)

I can see a place for a 12.9" iPad. It'd be great for a couple snuggling up on a couch to watch a movie or, paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, great for working on the go as a laptop substitute.

But for kids in schools--no way. My iPad 3 is plenty big for interactive apps even with my adult-sized body and hands. Something larger would be too much for kids. It'd overwhelm them as well as being too heavy to hold in small hands.

An iPad for school kids needs to be a lot more rugged and it needs to come with a built-in handle much like my Neo 2, which is for school kids but does well for adult on-the-go writing.

I hope not (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#45818201)

As a parent of school age children, I sure hope this doesn't find it's way into schools. For years, kids were taught on Apple products. Which was fine for getting through class. When the kids got a job and needed to use a computer, they didn't know how unless they took it upon themselves to learn outside of the institution.

You can't teach kids to use "computers" on toys. They might as well be giving the kids something from vtech or Nintendo.

Computers will NOT solve education anytime soon (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#45818219)

This stupidity has now been going on for something like 20 years. All it has to show is a lot of wasted money. Conventional education needs good teachers. Anything computer-based needs excellent teachers that are highly computer-savvy and excellent software in addition. The needed kind of teacher is no nearly available in adequate numbers and that will not change. The computer side is not available at all.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818321)

For one thing, this isn't a technology issue; it's an issue to do with the quality of education. Stupid garbage like iPads can't solve that.

Second of all, proprietary garbage has no business in an educational environment. It does not promote education, and it acts as a prison for the users; exactly the opposite of what should happen in a school. Schools should be free software only.

Nothing education centric about these (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45818401)

I worked at a University for a few years where we had thousands of staff tablets. I can assure you that the tablets never got used for anything other than consuming content, status symbols and brief emails or notes. Even when they were actually used to produce content it's always easy to tell when an email was written on a tablet due to the short and abbreviated way it was composed.

If your in school you should be there to produce content (homework, research etc) and for that a tablet is the worst choice possible, and it's no different for industry or government. It's the one thing Microsoft got right about the Surface, give it an integrated keyboard to make it feasible to actually produce content. Without the keyboard your left with a consumption device or a status symbol.

That being said, if Apple makes a 12.9" tablet, there are a lot of people that would buy it for a content consumption device just like they do with any other apple tablet. Apple should make it just for all the people that would appreciate a larger tablet for lounging around the house with and it would do quite well there, especially if it gets the upgraded screen that was talked about. But don't fool yourself into thinking that a larger tablet would have a damn thing to do with either education or producing content.

Not just kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45818457)

I have wanted a bigger iPad for a couple years. Give me something about the size of a legal pad that I carry to meetings now. The key is getting one thin and light enough that carrying a laptop does not make sense.

Picture is wrong. (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | about a year ago | (#45818541)

Why would they orient the screen so the student has to look down at it? That would cause some serious neck pain. It's not a 2 kilo text book, it's a wall. Orient it with some ergonomics in mind. If anything, the enemy's gate is down.
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