So, the version 2 of the device that has spurred the tablet computing market into the mainstream over the last 12 months (15 million sold) has been announced. Despite being a consumer device, it has seen massive adoption by professionals in business, medicine, and education. In Australia, there are iPad trials occurring in nearly every state, with over 500 deployed officially in Victoria, and an official trial is underway in Queensland. So it only follows that there will be great interest in the next version (to be released in Australia March 25). Here are the top 3 things that iPad 2 has going for it as far as education is concerned:
1. Screen Mirroring - Almost from day one of the release of the original iPod touch, the number one question that educators have asked is "can I display the screen on a projector or tv?", and the answer has been "no", then "no, but yes if you use a document camera", then "yes some apps can, but its still limited". Now FINALLY, the iPad 2 (and presumably all iOS devices going forward) will support full screen mirroring of everything via the VGA cable or the new HDMI cable. For showing apps and using the iPad as a shared whiteboard etc, this is a huge leap forward.
2. Lighter - apparently the new iPad is 15% lighter - just enough of an improvement to make it more usable by students. I know my first generation iPad does get heavy even for my adult arms after 15mins or so - for primary school students especially, the weight drop might be just enough to allow for extended mobile use of iPads without as much hand/arm strain.
3. Price drop of the old model - for now at least, the iPad 1 has had its price dropped by large amounts - up to AU$200 on some models - so its a great time for schools with limited budgets (ie all that I know) to do a learning and management plan, then purchase iPads at the cheaper price point.
So what does the iPad not have yet for education? As mentioned above, the iPad is a consumer device - its not been designed with the needs of education in mind specifically. So we still need a good system for managing and syncing more than a few iPads. We also need clarity around education use off apps and iTunes content. The hope is that the app volume licensing program available in the US will be extended overseas and enhanced with provision for iBooks and music/movies as well as apps. For Mac users, the next version of the Mac OS (due in around 6 months) will reportedly include iOS device management built in. Until then, proceed with caution; join an online iPad in education community, and create a good learning/management plan as always!
> www.slidetolearn.info - beginners guide for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone in Education (updated regularly)
> 21 Steps to iPad success - Victorian Education department version of 21 Steps guide specifically for iPads http://asp-uk.secure-zone.net/v2/index.jsp?id=639/684/1625&lng=en
iPad in Education networks:
> iPad4Edu iPad for Education Question and Answer site.