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Analyzing iPad's Impact On Educational Institutions
Source: Open Talk Magazine 27/02/2011 02:21:00
Today’s generation of tablet PC’s marks a revolution in its current standards. The iPad in particular, is becoming an icon of great interest for many educational institutions in the United States alone, due to its features that has the potential to replace all known information media in the future. But far from the idealistic future that some schools see on the iPad, are real issues that must be dealt with and addressed properly in order for the iPad to truly fulfill its mission in education. We need to analyze all of iPad's good and bad points, in order to give a proper assessment about the status of the iPad as the future replacement for books and notebooks.
iPad’s Positive Points in Education
The first and foremost advantage of today’s generation of tablet PC’s is its ability to carry considerable amounts of information under a convenient, portable device that almost has the same functions as today’s desktop computers. Although still lacking in raw “power”, the iPad can be a temporary replacement for different kinds of information media including books.
Carrying heavy books can be a burden for a child, even more so when a child needs multiple books for each subject in school. With an iPad, all books can be stored digitally while still being able to access information from the data intuitively as if it was a real book. Writing notes is also intuitive; although the iPad today is better used with a virtual keyboard.
The iPad rivals many other electronic devices used in education such as netbooks and laptops, in terms of convenience. You can type documents in an iPad as you would in an ordinary laptop. Of course, laptops still hold the upper side in terms of specifications and components, but more so because the iPad is newer technology and is yet to be fully developed. Because of this, will netbooks become obsolete as today’s tablet PC’s get better and better?
iPad’s Negative Points in Education
Despite the hype in adopting the iPad for schools, the fact remains that it’s still the first of the next generation tablet PC models. Getting the devices as a compulsory tool for education now, may cause unforeseen setbacks when schools realize development is still underway. Many people hold the view that schools should wait until tablet PC’s have gained solid ground in development before they attempt to integrate the device into their educational system.
There’s also the obvious issue of costs. With the iPad being on the market for only a few months, it’s doubtful that most school budgets will allow buying one iPad for each student. Even more so, schools will have a very hard time persuading parents to purchase iPads exclusively for school use, regardless if they decree iPads to be mandatory.
Many professionals in the field of education also disagree with some schools’ views about the iPad as the “heavenly technology of education”. They don’t believe that another piece of technology could really help advance the course of education for many schools. They also emphasize that improving the system should still be the top priority, and that technology should only be used as a supplement and not as a replacement.
It’s concluded that iPads could be used in educational institutions, but only at a test stage. Set a specific room or activity for example, that would use the iPad extensively. Students don’t need to use an iPad on each and every subject just yet (there is still the freedom of preference of course). iPads should not be a mandatory tool for education—at least not just yet.