Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Right Tool?

I bought an iPad just before Christmas. Our school has been toying with the idea of using tablets /iPads in our yr 7 program – like most schools we already have a 1:1 program. I decided to take mine on my family holiday in an effort to give it a good test drive and duly loaded it with a variety of apps, ebooks, music and pod/vodcasts.

Today a friend asked me the hot question: Which is better, then, the iPad or a laptop?

I had to pause to consider my answer.

I like both and I believe both have their place.

I like the ease with which my iPad travels: it’s light, the same size as a book and I can hold it easily in one hand.  I was quite impressed with the quality of photos and videos I took on my holiday … playback is great on the device itself although some quality was lost when it was edited in to footage taken with a video camera.  I love the touch screen technology and how easy this makes using most of my favourite apps (more about those later).

However, I am a little annoyed withthe typing pad (as a touch typist I find it too small to use properly, although I get that the thumb-typing-text-generation probably don’t feel the same way). I do still find publishing easier using the office suite … yes, I know, etc can be an alternative, but therein lies another problem.  The assumption that everyone has easy access to the internet!  So, my laptop lets me publish things with familiar programs,  my laptop has a DVD drive which I still find very handy and I don’t tend to put my laptop down and forget where I put it!

I actually think that we ‘need’ both tools in our education toolkit … half a dozen netbooks and half a dozen tablets would be enough for flexibility in my classroom (26 students). In my discussion with my friend I suggested maybe one of each device per family would be a good compromise … at the moment many families end up with multiple laptops as their children enter various 1:1 programs. The practicalities of having the right tool for the job at the time you are doing it are not easily solved … but realistically the families I work with cannot afford to buy an iPad and a laptop for each child.

Before I forget … some of those apps?

Evernote … so many uses … notes at PD sessions, pictures of students’ work, notes about students and I have it on my laptop so I can sync between the two devices.

Wordflick  Whirly WordWord SolitaireUnblock MeFlight Control (not free but cheap) … I love to use games in the classroom whenever I can and these are some of my favourites.

Songify … just for fun! My sister got me onto this and a number of the other fun ‘talking’ apps. Songify particularly I use as fun thinking music with lyrics that remind us what to think about (what ever you speak and record become the song).

I am becoming a little concerned at the I-ification of education, specifically, and the world in general … but that is food for another blog post ;p