Dear iPad Owners,
I hope you had a great first day with your new purchase. Did you stay up late last night reading a novel? Was it sitting there on your night stand, tuned to your favorite newspaper when you woke up this morning? Any chance there is a “Make Coffee” app?
Okay, I must admit that I am a little jealous of you. Given all the negative press, it was a bold move to stand in line at the Apple Store or at your front door waiting for the UPS guy. I was tempted to join you but kept telling myself I must resist… No camera… Price needs to be lower… Is the Apple Store still open?… No 3G yet (forget 3G, I’m waiting for 4G)… Too many proprietary peripherals… Are there any left?… Just a big iPhone… No multitasking… Where are my car keys?
Well, I made it through my first full day without buying an iPad. Good for my bank account but not so good for my mind as it is racing with lots of questions for you. As an instructional technologist, my first questions revolve around how the iPad can benefit education. Specifically, I am interested in the iPad’s ability to replace textbooks. What are your first impressions about the iPad’s ability to address major issues other eReaders have encountered when attempting to replace traditional texts?
(I am expanding on three issues Weili Dai raised in a recent eSchoolNews article.)
- Currency – Will it be easy to update an eText, allowing content to maintain currency? How will readers know if an an update has been made?
- Cost – Will eTexts be reasonably priced? Are open texts and existing PDF-formatted articles easy to access?
- Weight – Do you quickly get tired holding the iPad in common reading positions?
- Reliability – Does the eReader app respond in a consistent manner during common electronic reading activities? (e.g. turning pages, jumping to the table of contents, searching for key words, looking up definitions)
- Notes-worthy – How easy is it to take notes? Are there options to embed notes within texts or export notes to a word processing document?
- Accessibility – Can a text be read to you? Are there learning disabilities affordances such as highlighting words or groups of words as they are being read? How easy is it to change font sizes? Are there options for users with limited use of their fingers?
Well that’s all for now. Hopefully you can respond to this message using WordPress’s new iPad app. I appreciate any help you can provide as I wait for the perfect tablet computing device… Do you think BestBuy has any left?
This article discusses a metaanalysis of 50 studies on learning technology published in the journal Science.
This article discusses how the Wii gaming system might be useful in education.
I would love to see more more games incorporate math skills as a natural part of the game. For example, the Madden NFL game could have an option where users are occasionally asked to make player substitutions based on individual statistics. Users would quickly have to estimate a stat such as average yards per carry to determine which player to put in the game. The game would reward a correct choice by giving the chosen player a little more power. Also, the announcers could praise the coach (user) for making a great decision or question the decision if the wrong player is selected.
I would love to see a modified version of Wii Fit made available to physical education teachers at an affordable price. The current version of Wii Fit works well for individual adults but is not able to give feedback to more than one individual in any activity. For example, a friend can run with you but only your results are recorded. It would be great if five kids, all with Wiimotes could exercise together, and all have their scores recorded. I’d also like to see an option for allowing students to download workout data and then import the data into a spreadsheet for further analysis. Older students could learn how the Wii calculates BMI and Wii Fit Age and discuss the validity of those measures.
This free-to-use website can help children study topics such as vocabulary and multiplication tables by answering multiple choice questions. While there are many sites like this, Free Rice provides students with extra motivation to get correct answers. For each correct answer, a small amount of rice is donated to help feed people in developing countries. The project partners with the United Nations World Food Programs.
Here’s an article describing one teacher’s experience with having students create podcasts. The teacher found that when students podcast they increase their knowledge of the subject they are covering. He also said creating podcasts improved students’ ability to communicate ideas about a topic.