I am penning these thoughts, as an educator, in response to a tweet (see image). Not sure if it is blatant advertising. But it is certainly annoying.
The Honeycomb is to be found somewhere in the branches or stumps of one of the trees, the iPad second generation has been rumored to be loose in the same forest, a unicorn galloping through the woods with renewed energy. I love the speculation and the hopefulness of both sides. Sides, because, this battle seems to be heating up, and as a consequence the mist rises, in the forest and over the glazed eyes of the devotees. Yet, if you peer through the mist in the trees only the iPad generation 1 is actually here, and it seems to be staying.
First of all disclosure. I am an ICT Facilitator in a private school, running Apple products. I own an iPhone. We use, I use, these products for their ease of use, just-works, lower cost of ownership (debatable I know) and well I found them in the school I got the job in. I come from another line of products like these Acorn RiscPC's which for many would be totally unknown. We are just launching a one to one laptop programme and I was hoping that iPads or something better would form the basis of this, but had to reluctantly stay with laptops as they still meet our requirements better. We want to edit video, create in 3D, use Scratch, use Flash etc, so while Apple IPads are being used in some schools I feel they are still more suited at this stage for the consumption side. (See iPad posts )
So this takes us back to the above tweet. A tweet about the "Spring" Toshiba tablet.. "looks awesome" (agree) but "powerful classroom tool"..... how do we know this?... we haven't even seen it yet! How many products have been announced and not made it to production, or made it and been a disappointment when compared to the experience an iPad gives. Don't get me wrong.. I don't own an iPad yet.... I am waiting for them to get better still. I held out on the iPhone for 3 generations due to cost and then went shopping, looked at all others (pre Android) and on cost for all round features decided the iPhone was the best value. (It still seems that way in N.Z. even with Android phones out). But we need as educators to be evaluating products with passion for learning, not passion for gadgets or passion for gadgets that replace religion! (Please don't check this statement with my wife)
My take. The pre launch look into Honeycomb looks great. Competition for the iPad is needed and Honeycomb looks to have the buzz. However, it is wait and see for we need products that deliver the learning tools needed, with the ease of use and simple maintenance that the iPad currently has. To me the debate is not about closed ecosystem verses open. There are already calls to make the fragmented Android world more "restricted" due to the difficulties in updating the OS and in searching through fragmented and un-curated Android App Stores (not that there isn't garbage in Apples App store). And we do need price drops on the gear (Apple!), but we have yet to see what pricing is going to be for any other tablet competitors.
My hope. Genuine competitors to the iPad emerge forcing Apple to respond and we all live happily ever after.
My call. As educators we need to take a step back and be less fanatical in our technology evangelism and more focused on as we espouse "using them as tools". Some seem to be wanting to trim trees with invisible secateurs rather than a chainsaw.
Meanwhile in a jungle nearby.....
(See also Motorola Xoom)
A quick look at the state of play of Keynote indicates some varying opinions. In this post (VGA Presenting), Steven indicates some good success with Keynote. Alternatively, in this post (iPad Misses the Mark), Chris points out the frustrations of moving Keynote files between his desktop and iPad and some missing features he laments. In a 1:1 implementation Keynote will be very important to synthesise and present information. It is one of the key apps our pupils use at school for their learning. I wonder if the problems faced are version based? Here is a list of our most commonly used apps with a note as to whether there is a good alternative.
We are looking at one to one computing devices for our school programme for 2011. In this post http://www.in2edu.com/blog/index.php?id=255508204184561761 we have outlined some of the decision making to be carried out in a mindmap. Over the next few months we will be trialling the iPad as one of the possible devices our pupils could use. Of course in N.Z. the iPad has not yet been released. Up until the keynote of iPhone Os4 and the release of new features on it (especially multitasking) I was thinking that it would be a no show. We also have a few flash enabled websites such as Mathletics that we use as well so the jury is still out. The main factor it boils down to is providing the best tool that matches the learning to take place. Could an iPad in combination with a few pods of laptops for higher end use (video editing, music recording etc.) do the job? Other devices include netbooks and laptops.
Being an Apple based school we enjoy the great software and hardware we use, but still need to be open to alternatives.
So, follow this blog as we make our decisions and explore the options.
Another Post From My iPhone
Location:Plunket St,Christchurch,New Zealand