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Will the iPad Revolutionise Education?

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Many of us have been waiting for the Apple iPad for some time. Some thought the announcement would come a year ago but were left disappointed. Fast forward a year to January 2010 and Steve Jobs announces the iPad to the world.

In the run up to the event, speculation was rife that the main target group for the iPad was the educational sector and that it was a ‘game changer’ that would revolutionise the classroom.

Although it certainly is a nice product measuring 0.5inch thick with a 9.7inch display and weighing in at 1.5lb - complete with a 10 hour battery life (dependant on use of course). It did however, seem more like a leisure device for say lounging on the sofa with rather than a business or educational computer.

Web browsing is apparently a dream on the iPad - but still no Flash… that missing ‘plug-in’ icon is still there on Flash enabled websites. This means no animated demos or online educational games (such as Content Generator on your VLE).

What with school budgets being increasingly constrained, it is likely that the iPad will probably be too expensive for a school to justify purchasing. With no confirmed UK pricing until end of March, however, MacWorld magazine website takes an “educated guess” at UK pricing for the iPad, which it predicts will range from £388 to £591 for the Wi-Fi model, and £490 to £693 for the Wi-FI and 3G models.

So the educational question remains – With a budget of say £12000 would you buy?  - 30 iPads or spend it a different way?

Of course it does run the 140,000 apps on the App Store so it is a truly multifunctional device, but will the multitude of brain training apps and mini-games justify this spend? For a small additional charge you could of course run the iWork® suite of software on your iPad but could the class type an essay on Pages™ and have the patience to work with graphs on Numbers©.

Of course - iPad could change the ebook in the classroom and make reading cool again!!!

Written by Stuart Ridout – Assistant Head teacher & Head of ICT Stantonbury Campus, Milton Keynes - Stuart maintains a blog at www.stuartridout.com - He of course uses a MacBook Pro.

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