We were having a discussion about the upcoming iPad and what it might mean for education. I admit to being very excited by it (to the point that I might actually BUY one).
Reviewing the specs, I can see that it might be very good for travel. As much as I love my laptop, it can be a hassle to lug around. I wouldn’t mind a lighter option just for note taking – as long as I can synch it somewhere. And the larger screen size is much handier for reading Web pages and watching videos. I really can see this being very valuable both for a demo to faculty and for watching the latest video download from iTunes. The larger screen might make it easier to groups to collaborate via drag and drop.
I’m also curious about what kinds of Apps will be available. There are actually some very cool apps for the iPhone now including dictionaries, periodic tables. and other refs (including a 3D molecular reference). There also calculators & instant unit converters, levels (the kind for putting up a shelf), light sticks, GPS utilities and word games. I haven’t even mentioned the apps that work with your cloud computing services.
I think this will be a lifesaver for some people, but I am really not sure how it will play out. Will some iPhone apps work better or worse in the iPad? What gaps will we find? IWill we be able to connect to the projector? Will phonetic characters and math symbols be supported? Is that really a keyboard port I’m seeing or are they toying with us?
The truth is that we won’t know what impact there will be for a while. I am not sure we’ve really been able to leverage smart phone tech yet either. But I am looking forward to seeing what people come up with. The first wave may seem a little lightweight, but I bet we will see something interesting very soon.
P.S. I am excited that Apple is considering accessibility, at least for the visually impaired, since it comes with voicing capabillities. I think the low vision and mobility impaired users will be happy with a larger screen. A separate keyboard would be sweet too!