What the iPad Is and What it Isn’t

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As teachers are seeing more and more iPads in education and either using their own devices or being given a teacher iPad or a class set, it is important to realize what the iPad is and what it isn’t.
The first realization needs to be that the iPad is not (yet) intended to be a replacement for a laptop. It falls short in several areas when comparing it with a laptop, such as:

  • memory storage
  • ability to allow for easy use of multiple users
  • heavy typing tasks
  • traditional software programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, etc.

With the increased usage of cloud storage, 1:1 programs (where devices are not shared among users), as well as the shift away from specific software programs to web based tools, cloud synched and apps, the iPad’s future seems to be looking brighter as a one-and-only device.

The second understanding educators are embracing is the realization that there is more to iPads than finding and loading many apps to the device. It is not about finding apps as substitutions to worksheets, nor automated “kill and drill” activities to practice multiplication facts or spelling words. Educators are looking to using iPads as a tool for:

  • reading
  • presenting
  • curating
  • creating.

This takes us to the third understanding about the iPad. Originally seen as a device for consumption only, the iPad has grown up and continues to change constantly.  The iPad has become a tool for creation. A tool to personalize learning and for personal learning. It grew from a device to consume information to a thinking tool.

What is and isn’t the iPad for you? Share your thoughts.