More on iPad

Flickr image from Steve Rhodes

I was reading an interesting piece on the plane by Stephen Levy, author of many things, not the least of which was a 1980 book, about the history of interactive computing. I read the short article on the new WIRED app on my iPad, and THIS is what is pushing my thinking more than anything else about this amazing, appealing, and still befuddling device.

While anticipating the launch of the Apple tablet, I imagined what it might do for the publishing industry, especially the magazine and newspaper sectors. What I envisioned was a slew of reader applications, similar to the Kindle book reader and to what Zinio has promised for years. But this concept of the APP was totally out of the blue for me, and I’ve been in this long enough that I am pretty hard to surprise.

The advantages are numerous. But perhaps the most important is innovation, as different publishers seek to compete not merely with content but with what they can make the content do, and how easily and interestingly they can make it accessible to us — interface.

I’ve purchased only a few, expecting with them each to astonish me. Hasn’t happened yet. The Wall Street journal was one that left me ho humm’ing the day long. I finally figured out it’s organizational theme and then gave up. WIRED was a little better, especially with it’s ability to browse what is essentially a thumbnail version of the publication. But then when I tried to highlight and copy portions of the Levy article and found that I couldn’t, I was deeply disappointed.

The most interesting example I’ve seen is Cool Hunting, a web-based publication. They are already networked and digital, but so too is WIRED. The interface flows under your fingers, as it should on a touch device, and the interface is consistent, fairly predictable, but also relatable.

Anyway, Levy goes on to suggest that the iPad, and it’s ilk will need to accomplish three things before it is truly more than an elitist’s machine. It must be,

  • Cheap enough to lose, suggesting a price that starts with a 1

  • As light as paper

  • Always connected to the web

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

12 thoughts on “More on iPad”

  1. This post reminded me of hearing Nicholas Negreponte give the Keynote at NECC in San Diego. One of his phrases has stuck with me. I remember him using the phrase “The obesity of software”. I just realized Apple’s Apps have really addressed this.

  2. On Good Morning America (GMA)there was a statement (06/03/10) regarding the iPad. These devices are over-heating when exposed to sunlight and will quit working until they cool off.

  3. I have yet to buy an iPad, camera is the deal breaker for me, but still see the usefulness as am educational tool. If textbook publishers port their texts to it, not just as pdf or some other text only, but really interactive with audio, video and links to up to date information or websites then we will see the true potential of the device.

    I disagree with the cheap enough to lose, why must we always have it that cheap? I remember textbooks that cost me $300.00 back in the 80s. Nobody said textbooks had to be cheap enough to lose then, why now?

    Though I agree with the always connected and only can dream of light as paper.

  4. I think the iPad as a reader with textbooks as suggested above would be a great step forward. Some books still cost too much. The books I had to buy for this summer for school could have bought me an iPad.
    I think the cost will drop over time as with all technology. Always connected should be viable but probably more difficult as bandwidth gets limited and companies like ATT move to charging for megabytes used instead of the unlimited plans they currently offer.
    The iPad could be a great tool for students, all their books, schedules, homework, and the internet in one place, the iPad. But probably another 5 years away. Would publishers even be wiling to put their books in the digital interactive format listed above? I don’t know.

  5. I am initially responding to this post as a class assignment, but will likely continue to follow your blog as a learning tool. If you’re interested, the class is Micro-computing Systems in Education. (I will also include a link to my personal class blog).
    Introduction aside, I’m only aware of Steven Levy due to his “I found Einstein’s Brain” article, which I found on some days ago. Regardless, I see the reason any of his posts would propel one toward these questions. Since I do not own any apple devices (less because of lack of want, more because limited funds cause me to wait for something “better” to come out—i.e. the ipad), I may be biased. Nevertheless, I do agree with Levy that they will need to become cheaper to not be dubbed “elitist machines”. I’m not holding my breath for it to be as light as paper.
    If you’re interested, I will be summarizing all of my responses to your posts on my blog by June 30th.

  6. I am looking at the option of iPads in the classroom. We are currently planning on ordering netbooks and iPod touches, but wondered about replacing them both with the iPad instead.

    However, after hearing about the problems and limitations with the iPads, I am not sure that would be a good decision.

    1. Lisa,

      I sympathize with your quandary. I would hate to be facing this decision right now. I’m starting to suspect that the iPad might actually be a good deal as a learning tool, but some folks are going to have to try it in their classrooms first, and share their experiences.

      I would add that the addition of a bluetooth keyboard would be a definite must…

      — dave —

  7. If there is any way to keep students engaged in learning it would have to be by incorporating new and exciting technology into classrooms. I just worry sometimes that the students are more knowlegeable in the classrooms in regards to technology than the instructors are. But, as public education is economically challenged at times, I don’t see having ipads in the classroom a viable option anywhere in the near future. But, what a great tool it could be.

    1. I agree with you that one of our greatest challenges in effectively and relevantly preparing our children for their future is to engage them in that process. It’s an frequently used term, engage, and one that we don’t seek to truly define enough. And I’m not going to here, except to say that I disagree that technology is the answer.

      I believe that it is a mistake that about 99% of educators are making, thinking that it’s the technology that draws and engages our children’s attention. I think that our challenge is figuring out what it is about their tech-rich experience that makes it so compelling, and then retooling our learning activities to include the qualities of that experience. Here are a few that I’ve been talking about and writing about:

      Our Students “Native” information experiences:

      • Are Fueled by Questions
      • Provoke Conversations
      • Are Responsive to their Decisions & Actions
      • Demand Personal Investment
      • Are Guided by Safely-Made Mistakes

      I think that if we can find ways to introduce these qualities into the learning activities happening in our students’ formal education, then we might engage them. Much of this can be done with contemporary information and communication technologies. But some can be done without it. Here is a PDF file that I’m constantly editing and adding to for my workshops.

      As for our affording the technology in our schools

      Children in America are not learning without 21st century information technologies because we can’t afford it.
      They’re learning in a 15th century information landscape because we’re too stingy.

      It’s because of the decisions we’re making.

  8. I purposefully spent five days on the road several weeks ago with just an iPad and a Droid phone. I was curious to see what life would be like living “on the cloud” without my laptop. I had Apple’s Keynote and Pages apps (presentation and word processing) loaded and was hoping to demonstrate that it is possible to survive in the wild with the iPad.

    And while I was able to blunder my way through, it was difficult. Finding internet access, the inability to edit most Google Docs files and especially the fact that you can only have one app open at a time really limited the effectiveness of the iPad. I especially had trouble creating content when trying to cut and paste from one place to another – having to close an app, open another and then reopen the first one.

    In a classroom, especially K-6, with constant internet access and procedures in place to share files, the iPad could be a useful tool. And as Apple adds camera and uses OS that allows multiple open apps, it begins to make more sense for schools. But right now, it seems like more of a content consumer rather than a content creator.


  9. I see that technology is great but nothing is fautless. I see a great motivation to students that have that technology in their hands and inorder to keep up we as educators need to stay focused on new technology. I see the I-Pad and can see many advantages to the use of it.

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