3 reasons why the iPad mini is the iPad for Education

Back in January 2012 Apple hosted an educational event in New York that made a real push for the iPad to be the computing device of choice for the classroom.

With improved iBooks for text books, iTunes U and the fact that it deliberately kept the old reliable 16gb iPad 2 on the market for so long specifically for schools it made a strong case.

Today Apple released it's iPad mini a 7.9 inch iPad mini and it almost seems to have been designed with students and readers in mind. 

Firstly this thing is small enough to comfortably fit into a school bag or a large set of cargo pants.  And that reduction in size coupled with Apple's excellent design standards mean this device is the hardiest iPad on the market which is great for the classroom and should result in a lot less cracked screens. 

Darren Murph from Engadget went hands on with it and points out however that it is not too small for typing.    "It's still not "small," though. While a fully outstretched adult hand can generally grasp it without help from the other, you'll still want both for typing and using apps."

Secondly it has the best battery life of any iPad. Due to it's slightly older processor and lower resolution screen of it's big brothers the iPad mini you can comfortably squeeze out 10 hours of non stop use of this little fella.

Finally it is cheap.  At $70 less than the lowest 'BIG' iPad this is a huge saving for schools who like mine will be buying hundreds at a time.  That either means more of them for your students or budget savings for other needs.  Students tend to have smaller hands, and public school districts tend to have even tinier budgets; it's really not a matter of "if" digital devices will take the place of more traditional teaching methods, but "when."

So if you like me are looking at iPads for the classroom, then surely the iPad mini will be a must consider. 

It is by no means the most technically advanced member of the family, as it essentially a shrunken iPad 2 with a 2012 overhaul,

But with Apple's track record with these devices and the reduction in size and price for little hands and budgets it appears to be a winner.

Looking at it from another perspective.  Apple also released the iPad 4 today which is surely the least impressive update of any of their iOS devices with literally no wow factor over it's predecessor. And this gives me confidence in the knowledge that these devices have reached maturation and the iPad mini my school buys today will be not too unlike the iPad mini of two years down the track.



Is Microsoft Surface a better tablet than the iPad for schools?

Yesterday, with minimal fanfare Microsoft introduced the Surface Tablet which is essentially the first product Microsoft has released to directly compete with Apple's iPad.

Yes it may well be three years late, but there is no doubting that 'Surface' is looking to be not just a competitor of the iPad at home, but in an enterprise situation such as schools the surface tablet maye some clear advantages the iPad.

Some of these reasons have been listed below that might make you want to seriously reconsider your next purchase of hardware for your school.

1:  Flexibility - The Surface tablet is both a standalone tablet exactly like the ipad with a beautiful screen, camera and tens of thousands of apps; essentially all the features of it's competitor but it is also a 100 percent operational windows 8 PC without any limitations of a desktop or notebook.  This is the first ever do everything tablet.  And to further enhance the experience Microsoft has built in a full keyboard and mouse into the case of the Surface tablet.  - Every box Ticked.

2:  Printing:  Yes it prints, to any printer remember it's also a windows Based PC.  It can Print without any need for AirPrint or the like.

3:  Fully networkable:  Surface can log into any windows based network with the exact same functionality of a desktop or mobile PC. 

4:  Microsoft Office:  Not a scaled back or mobile version but the complete version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Onenote, Outlook and the works.

5:  Flash:  As great as HTML 5 is.  Flash is still one of the webs greatest technologies and is still being improved and enhanced.  All of your old flash sites will work as well as the new HTML 5 format too.

Comparison of Educational Blogging Platforms

Dodie submitted this table comparing educational blogging platforms in the forums section.  I am aware that there a number of blogging platform comparisons charts available on the web but this is done purely from an educational perspective.  Thanks to Dodie for this recommendation and I hope that if assists you in selecting the right blogging platform for you and your students.  The rest of her site has some great content also.