Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on November 6, 2013
From: Perry Bratcher [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 9:01 AM
Cc: Michael Providenti; Michael Wells; Millie Mclemore; Perry Bratcher; Stephen Moon
Subject: [lita-l] RE: Classroom iPads
All – Thanks to each of you for your responses to my email regarding classroom use of iPads (see email at the bottom). Listed below are is a summary of the comments I received. I cut/pasted and have reconfigured these comments for this email, so some may be taken out of context. NOTE: My systems staff have adamantly opposed using the Microsoft Surface. We have a campus “tech bar” where student/staff can check out new devices for experimentation. My staff said that the Surface doesn’t work in our particular situation for a variety of reasons and they prefer the iPad tablet option (if we go the tablet route).
Before deciding on implementation of PCs vs. laptops vs. tablet for use in a classroom setting, one needs to consider the motivation for doing so. Space? Portability? Availability of apps? Is there a demand for using personal devices for research, etc? What type of portable device to use (iPad, Microsoft Surface, etc.)
Pros for using iPad/tablets:
- Keep a few in there to provide examples of how to search on mobile devices.
- The amount of apps and types of apps out there. Great education apps exist that do not exist elsewhere online or on other platforms (Android or Windows).
- The iPad is flexible and allows you to regain that floor space you lose with computers and give the user privacy.
- If setup correctly, the devices can be erased when they are returned so any private data is wiped.
- Users can download additional apps, even purchase apps if you allow them.
- They hold a charge much longer then any laptop or ChromeBook on the market.
- Apple sold 94% of its iPads into education – the reason being that it’s a great education and research tool.
- Another advantage that I can see boot up time. The iPad is instantly on and connected to the network. Perhaps this most applicable to last-minute library instruction or ad hoc group research? However, if I had the choice, I would equip a classroom with MacBook Air SSDs
- Understand how they need to be configured and the tools needed to do so. I created a kit for this not long ago for public libraries: http://www.macprofessionals.com/new-library-ipad-checkout-solution/ Thank you Chris Ross, Macprofessionals
- UVA has been using iPads for instruction for about 2 years. They have been very pleased with the results.
- Our electronic classroom is very small, so we purchased 30 iPads over a year ago to allow teaching in our larger meeting room. There are definitely distinct advantages: flexibility, mobility, lack of technical infrastructure needed (wires, ports, etc.), and the myriad possibilities of apps.
Cons for using iPad/tablets:
- Most mobile devices have not become “workhorse” devices as of yet, so much of the students’ research will still need to be done on a computer.
- We haven’t seen any advantage to having them either – but our librarians use them sporadically for instruction.
- Charging, syncing, configuring, Apple ID’s, erasing, cases, restrictions, printing, presenting, etc. For example if you want to present with these, you will need an Apple TV or an adapter. If you want to print you will need AirPrint supported printers or software. If you want to configure and erase you will need a Mac.
- The challenge I have found is trying to use an inherently personal device in the typical one shot classroom environment. There are lots of things you need to consider. How will they access the wireless? What about taking notes? What about apps that require login? And much more.
- Someone on staff is equipped and has the time to manage them.
- We have a pool of 30 loan laptops, recently we have supplemented this with 11 loan iPads. The iPads have generally been very popular but wouldn’t work as a substitute for laptops. As many have mentioned when it comes to getting real work done they are inferior to laptops and people have commented as such.
- As a complement to laptops though they are great – they are more portable and our nursing students love being able to carry them around and quickly access medical apps, take notes, check calculations etc. I definitely see them as being a valuable resource but if it’s an either/or proposition then I would go on the side of laptops.
- My personal opinion is that it’s not a bad idea as a supplement to existing systems, but I’d be wary of replacing more flexible with more limited ones, and am particularly wary of committing to one operating system/vendor (particularly one that tends to charge half-again to twice as much as their competitors with only limited advantages).
- In a classroom setting (e.g. instruction room) I see little advantage of tablets; their sole advantage from I can figure out is their portability. Why force people into a limited device if it is only going to be in one room anyway?