When’s Steve Jobs Going to Get It?

The Mitchell, South Dakota Corn Palace.  Really!

I’m at the South Dakota Laptop Institute in Mitchell South Dakota — home of the magnificent Corn Palace, a theatre made entirely of corn cobs.  I’m not poking fun.  It’s an intriguing and very American place that I’ve visited before.  The last time, Joe Graves, there superintendent, and former social studies teacher, took me to an excavation of a plains indian village.  It was fascinating, and an amazing resource for South Dakota classes.

Last night was the opening keynote address, delivered by Tom Ferrell, of Dakota State University.   His address was very good and his style is energetic, entertaining, and engaging — just what’s needed on Sunday evening. 

I have to confess that because of some conversations that I mostly listened to between JIm Moulton, of Maine, Wade Pogany, of the SD DOE, and others at the table, I was morphing my own presentation for my own keynote this afternoon.  So I wasn’t paying the attention that I should have.  But it was clear that the real star of Ferrell’s address was the tablet PC that he kept tucked into his elbow, with a stylus in the other hand, controlling his presentation, making the content on the two screens truly and richly interactive. 

When is Steve Jobs going to show us something like this for the Mac.  It isn’t just about text recognition.  It’s about interaction with content.

Image Citation:
McNeal, Patti. “Cyclewidowpatti’s Photostream.” Mitchell, South Dakota_04. 1 Oct 2006. 11 Jun 2007 <http://flickr.com/photos/cyclewidowpatti/258043226/>.

13 thoughts on “When’s Steve Jobs Going to Get It?”

  1. If “the real star of Ferrell’s address was the tablet PC”, doesn’t that mean the technology was getting in the way of his content?

    From my experience, presentations succeed or fail primarily based on how compelling the speaker makes his/her material, not on the equipment they’re using. This is one of the key factors we try to teach students about their work. The goal is communicating your ideas, not impressing the audience with your geeks skills.

  2. Yes, Tim you would be correct, however, if you can’t dazzle them with the geek skills they won’t buy the product-nor will they use it. Tom does an excellent job communicating his ideas, but in a state that is attempting a statewide laptop initiative like SD is the educators are going to have to “buy” what the technology can do…. Mr. Warlick, I will be curious to see what you think about the SD educators after your visit. SD’s initiative is only in its second year. How is SD comparing to other states? Are they on the right track?

  3. Dave
    I have to tell you I have never seen anything motivate my staff like a couple of video clips about tablet PC’s. We are only a year into our 2.0 journey and while we have done some great things for beginners like a live video/skype call with Shanghai there were still many who were a little unsure.
    One of the teachers came to a faculty meeting shared video from Toshiba of 2 school who had adopted tablets and I am telling you the room was charged. For some reason they seem more friendly, they are versatile moving from art and graphing to research and yes it was about interaction with content.
    Having also been involved in a discussion about teaching keyboarding which we d at the 3-5 level I also like the concept of mutiple ways to interact .
    I may not be stating my case very eloquently but EVERY eacher in the room wanted them ad their first thought was not “cool, I want one” but rather my students need these.

  4. Today is WWDC, you know. Maybe Jobso will show us the tablet mac today?

    Doubtful, but you never know.


    PS…I hear Gizmodo is liveblogging the WWDC event, which starts at 10:00AM PST.

  5. Hi Dave having used a tablet PC in class for a year along with maxivista screen sharing software, which I must admit made a pretty cheap alternative to having a wireless data projector, I found that after the initial wow factor wore off the students were far happier to spin the screen and go back to the keyboard, yes the text recognition was great and it was neat for art and drawing but I still feel that bang for bucks they are not affordable enough for us in NZ. I know however that Frankston High School in Melbourne is using them in their laptop program and will be following with interest how they are going.

  6. Screensharing has been available on the Mac for ages and is a very good thing, especially if it reduces the reliance on a projector and the dominance of the front of the room. I find that over my 17 years of working in 1:1 schools I teach alongside kids, rather than in front – regardless of the technology available to me.

    I don’t have any thoughts pro or con regardling tablets. I’ll be getting my hands on one shortly. However, I really do want to know what David means when he says things like “interact with content.”

  7. If my memory serves me correctly Will Richardson was involved in a tablet PC pilot last year before he “went pro.” He posted about tablets several times, but hasn’t in over a year (going by his categories list on his blog)
    Here’s a link to his 4 posts about tablets maybe he has some follow up info about how the pilot is going? Just a thought.
    I thought Richard’s comment above was interesting about the glitz wearing off. Have others had the same experience?

  8. If you want to see tablet pcs being used in amazing ways, you need to attend the three day tablet conference at Cincinnati Country Day School in Cincinnati, OH. All students, grades 5-12 utilize their tablets in unbelievable ways…as do the teachers! The folks who organize this conference do an incredible job demonstrating the power of the tablet pc. I have had the opportunity to attend this unique conference twice and it has led to a teacher tablet program in our district and a plan for tablet carts in each building K-12.

    In terms of presenting using a tablet pc, I totally get it. Engaging your audience requires a variety of strategies to reach the myriad of learners in the room. Using the many colors of highlighters to focus ideas or the stylus to add text/drawings to powerpoint slides or engaging the snipping tool to extract important details are just a few of the ways a presenter can insure that the content reaches all participants, regardless of learning style. The tablet pc is everything a notebook is plus so much more!

  9. David I can’t agree with you any more. As a MAC user and someone who is on the road a lot doing programs. The Keynote has always been a static object in the back to look at. Here’s my mini wishlist:

    I want to be able to have real time texting and voting on the screen.
    I want to be able to pull up webpages from within Keynote.
    I want to be able to play and pause movies in keynote
    I want to be able to bounce around from slides to slide instead of one linear format.
    I want, I want, I want.

    Ok now I just sound like a kid at Christmas. Thanks for letting me rant.

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