Once upon a time the iPad changed the way in which we used technology in Education. This shiny new device with a single button, easy to use interface and unrivaled 'App' store could do no wrong in the eyes of teachers and students and made us seriously rethink about what a computer was.
Since the iPad launched in 2010 we have seen the iPad's phenomenal rise and now it's slow fall as tough competition from Chromebooks and budget PC's and tablets closed the technology gap. Poor decisions from Apple in regards to educational pricing and any significant improvements over six iPad generations aside from the obligatory faster processor, better camera and screen have left many schools questioning it's place in education as it is increasingly being used as a learning toy as opposed to a productivity tool.
Of all the big three tech companies (Apple, Microsoft and Google) Apple's future in education would be the most unenviable.
Google's marriage of highly effective and cheap Chromebook's with Google Apps for Education productivity suite has bought them hundreds of millions of converts, and they are now the single biggest player in education. The zero cost model of Google Apps for Education has been a roaring success for Google which will pay long term dividends when today's students are running tomorrow's economies.
Microsoft took a double hit in schools from the iPad initially and then Chromebooks. They have regained some credibility with the integration of surface tablets and Office 365 for Education. Surface tablet sales have grown year on year since release unlike the iPad which have fallen over the last two years.
Currently Apple's options for students are either an overpriced tablet or an overpriced laptop. iTunes U is a poor curriculum delivery platform in comparison to Office and Google Apps and iCloud offers very little in the way of innovation and collaboration for educators. The iPad is a train wreck when running Google apps for education and Office although both Microsoft and Google have deployed apps on the iPad to allow access to their productivity / learning platforms.
In an attempt to re-energize the iPad's future in education Apple are planning to allow schools to manage iTunes accounts for students improve the deployment process for the iPad.
They are also revisiting the manner in which iPads are managed when used by shared users in a school. Unfortunately it does not look as though Apple are prepared to allow multiple logins on a single iPad yet, but we can live in hope.
The full details of this proposal can be read at 9to5Mac and it is expected to be rolled out in September 2015.
Education is a huge space for technology companies and I am sure Apple will be working towards a product or policy change that will place them back at the top of the class.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.