7 Reasons iPads Rule?

English: iPads offer a variety of software
English: iPads offer a variety of software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some impressive facts from ign.com on the impact of iPads:
  • Over 100 million sold 
  • iPad sales topped all other PC Manufacturers in the second quarter of 2012
  • 94 percent of Fortune 500 companies use iPads “in an official capacity.”
Despite these mind-blowing numbers, I am always interested in the discussion of what device is best in an educational setting.  Audrey Watters wrote a post this week asking, “Why Tablets?” that got me thinking about this a bit more, especially given the fact that we currently have over 1,200 iPads in Burlington, a number that will soon be over 2,000 as we deploy iPads at the middle school level.
Audrey wrote the following about iPads:

 I was struck once again by the abundance of hype over tablets. I confess, I just can’t do the work I need to do on an iPad, but I don’t want to suggest that that means they’re useless for others. It does make me wonder about what I’m missing by being a skeptic, as well as what students are missing when we give them tablets and not (my preference) laptops.

While I love the iPad myself, I too find myself utilizing my laptop first in many cases.  I feel quite guilty sometimes by the fact that I can pull out my MacBook Air to accomplish many tasks while students only have an iPad to access.   While I have tried at certain points to put away my laptop and get through my day with the same device that our students have, I have not been successful in doing this for more than a day.

Thinking back to our 1:1 planning meetings, I remember our main issues were cost, battery-life, and ease of use.   We looked at laptops and minis for a while and then the iPad hit the market it quickly moved to the top of the list (since we could not afford MacBooks for everyone).  Of I wondered if we were just buying the shiny new toy that the novelty would wear off quickly.

While we certainly did buy the shiny new toy and yes the novelty has warn off a bit, our satisfaction with our choice has lessened little.  The main reason is that for even the most techno-phobic user the iPad could not be easier to utilize.  There is no complicated operating system to deal with or software to learn. The ease-of-use allows us to focus our time and energy on the numerous resources that we now have at our fingertips. Instead of training on the device, we are spending our time referencing our learning goals and pulling in from the plethora of resources that allow us to reach them in new and engaging ways.

In regard to the list of reasons that iPads rules, I really don’t have a list of reasons.  Honestly, it’s up to learners to find out which tools/resources work best for them.  Make your own list! It’s a lot more fun than using someone else’s! 

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