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iPads in classrooms

According to Hechinger Report, a scheme to roll out iPads for students in California has been an unmitigated disaster (via @joeclark).

iPads seem such a good idea in the classroom – and on many a middle manager’s presentation they’re modern! hitech! exciting! – but in real life they’re a nightmare.

Apart from the hassle of getting them from room A to B, keeping them charged, stopping students from spending the lesson on Facebook, saving work so it can be used next lesson and synching with Dropbox when there’s no continuous connection, iPads aren’t actually very good for writing, taking photos or video. Pens, cameras and camcorders are far better.

Some iPads in a docking station
Some iPads, docked nicely and recharging, yesterday. Your task is to move all of these to your classroom using 4 responsible children.

The one thing an iPad is good for is research: it’s quicker to whip out a tablet and google the battle of Mametz Wood than schlep off to the computer room.

Of course, you don’t need an iPad to do research. A Hudl – 119 quid compared with 269 for an iPad mini – is more than adequate. But in education as elsewhere, Apple is king. And an iPad looks better in all those publicity shots.