Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My thoughts on the iPad 2 and the use of it in schools.

Today Apple announced the iPad 2.
It is now slimmer, lighter, faster and has a cam on the front and the rear. So far nothing unexpected or super innovative.
There even seems to be no Retina Display as on the iPhone 4.
BUT Apple again does/did a super good job creating the feeling you need something, though you might/do not.

Watch this:

I really like the way the made the cover and the way it is shown in the video there seems to be no hassle applying it on the display.
Also GarageBand, especially the Guitar scene looks like awesome engineering.


But the scene of a young teacher standing in front of class and connecting the iPad to a tv-screen got most of my attention.
Some time ago I talked to some friends about using (touch) displays in school and said, that there should be more use of apps, like the Elements app for iPhone and iPad. Those apps do not only provide you with the needed information, they create attention, which is clearly needed in lessons of chemistry and physics, where apps can be used easily. But I am sure there is a way to use technology in every class.
I would recommend schools considering buying an iPad and a television before spending way more money on "Smartboards", which consist of a beamer and a touchsurface, but it seems to me this technology is not perfected at all yet.
If there aren't the needed apps by now, they will come one day or can be developed in school by teachers and students. Who knows, might be that one day developing an app for your own purpose is a basic skill for (nearly) everybody as it is using the internet right now.

Apple should consider giving schools a hand by giving lessons for teachers in developing apps and equiping schools with Macs, as this could pay off in way that more apps are developed, which means more reasons for buying an iPad. Just imagine if there are not only iPads for teachers but for students.

There are for sure greater problems in education, whether in America/Europe or Africa. But development has to start somewhere. And the perfect picture of a teacher standing at the blackboard in front of a quiet class has long worn out.

There is a page from Apple about this issue:

Chemistry is a wonderful example where you can create attention with graphics. But the Elements app is not enough. There definitely is a need for apps, that can illustrate reactions, imaging the electrons changing, atoms forming new molecules.
Chemistry is subject where you need to get the background and understand how things are depending on each other. Imagine, you see the atoms and molecules and then fade out to see it in whole, from another perspective. But not in a movie but in an app, that is interactive.