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iPad first touch

Written by David on April 19th, 2010.      0 comments

Today I had my first play with an iPad.  I have been building up reservations about it in the days prior.  Comments from Fiona in the last post pointed out that the unit is a content reciever and not a content creator.  Content creation and publishing  is what we want for education.  The chatter seems to be more about what it can not do and what it is lacking, rather than what it can do. Today I tried to use tools such as http://vocaroo.com and http://fotobabble.com and the lack of an Adobe Flash facility on the iPad rendered these sites useless.  However, on the fotobabble page I was prompted to download the fotobabble app from the app store.   Online tools such as Vocaroo and Fotobabble are brilliant  for students to create and publish content quickly and would be the kind of utilities that I would want to use with a tool so mobile as the iPad.

It is the locked in nature of it that worries me, all programs to be installed on the iPad will either be created or vetted by Apple.  Today as part of the discussions about its functionality for education purposes, or lack of it, we were developing workarounds using Drop Box etc.  These solutions are clunky at best.  The iPad can not surf freely due to the Flash embargo, maybe I am missing the functionality point here and am wanting to bend the device to meet a need it was never intended to meet, but still, not supporting Flash?  I have heard that Google docs can be viewed but not edited, what is the reasoning behind this?  I had hoped that this tool would prove to be a boon for education, but in this first iteration it is too locked down, why I am not sure, other than pandering to my dark Orwellian marketing theories that I could entertain on behalf of Apple.

If the machine can enable content creation, if the installation of third party software via the Internet is enabled,  if open surfing to Flash enabled sites occurs, if it gets a camera and a USB port, the iPad still has the potential to be a real winner.  As you can see from my images it is smaller than an average NZ school exercise book and almost as thick, it is light and very intuitive to use the tools and apps we have been allowed to install were fun, but not educationally significant, early days I know.  I liked it.  I liked its feel, weight and interface.  It lacks the educational substance, and freedom that I personally desire.  But who knows by the time the 3rd black sweatered and overly orchestrated launch comes round it might be a tool that has education potential without clunky work arounds.




David has been a specialist in the field of elearning for over 12 years. He has presented on elearning at conferences in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His consultancy work includes education and business clients. READ MORE


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