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.

 

 

Has the iPad Peaked in Education?

As we, and I assume many other schools around the world prepare to buy computer resources for 2013 and beyond it is been apparent that 'The must have tool in Education"  for the last 18 months is the iPad.

This comes with good reasoning too as it has refreshed our view of learning technologies and really freed us from the shackles of desktop computing and showed many a fresh alternative to windows.

The question I find myself asking now as we look at three year lease programs is has the iPad Peaked in education?  Barring a few software tweaks and faster processors is this as good as it gets?  The more I speak to others in education and start to look at alternatives I am increasingly seeing that the iPad's future is not as bright as Apple would like to have us think.

For example Last month we had the sales and Education reps come in from Apple Australia and woo our region for a day about 'How the iPad has been  the saviour of education' and that we should not doubt the ingenuity and creativity Apple has been responsible for in changing the direction of technology for the last few years, and furthermore we should not question this continuing in the future.

The problem I found with the barrage of iOS worship from cool guys in black skivvies and T-shirts was that for the first time, nearly everybody in the room had heard it all before.  And some of the statements about the iPad we heard were so desperate to grab our attention I definitely sensed they were shooting the iPad down more than pumping up its tyres.

Statements such as "No one will be carrying wallets by the end of the decade thanks to iOS 6's passbook"  were just plain embarrassing and insulting for anyone who has used it.

The second point for consideration I began to wonder after seeing some educational workshops regarding Garageband and iMovie in the classroom I had seen twice before now is, what is Apple planning for the future in Education?

Next, we got a 10 minute lecture on how brilliant iTunesU is for teachers to create content for their kids to access on their iPads only to be instantly shot down by the fact that in fact teachers cannot currently do this unless you are a lecturer at a University. So it's great but 95 percent of teachers cannot access this.

Just last month Apple released the iPhone 5 and try as you might to upsell how great a phone it actually is at the end of the day it is esentially an iPhone 4 with another row of icons and a faster processor.  It's not the kind of innovation we have become used to from Apple, and I can't see this changing anytime soon as Apple now seem a little hamstrung by an environment they have created.

I don't feel Apple are asleep at the wheel by any stretch of the imagination, it is more of a case they have played 5 years of winning hands in the tech stakes and they are now left holding a number of minor cards, whilst their opposition begin to rollout both similar and even more innovative tech solutions for education around them.  It has happened in every form of industry for decades.

Another point of consideration is the fact the iPad has always had a mixed relationship in education in the sense that kids and teachers loved it because engaged kids and had thousands of great educational apps that could be downloaded and used instantly. But it definitely has it's shortcomings as a genuine enterprise learning tool.

Let's not hide fact the iPad is fatally flawed by its association to the mess that is iTunes and iCloud. It cannot connect to existing 96% of school networks running windows, it cannot print to an enterprise network with any great success and has nothing close to Microsoft Office when you tire of playing math swipe games and actually need something substantial for a presentation, project, want to do some web design or use any of Adobe's creative tools such as Photoshop beyond removing redeye or cropping.

I own an iPad, my wife kids and I love it, but hate what it can't do too and I get the feeling many others are finding this too.

With Windows 8 only days away and a monsoon of both cheap and expensive tablets already available for it.  And the diversity of Microsoft's own surface tablet which at this point appears to do everything an iPad can as well as offer 100 percent functionality of a windows PC too our school regions are beginning to think Windows 8 tablets have a great deal to offer teachers and students over the iPad.

I would love to hear your thoughts about what your schools are doing now and looking into the future when it comes to putting the best piece of hardware in front of our kids to offer the best learning opportunities.

15 Great Video Sites for Educators

YouTube:  The undisputed king of all video sites. Whilst all the others are great and offer you a little more safety in regards to content, pretty much all  the great content from those sites can also be found here in most cases.

TED-Ed: From a site that’s long been known for big ideas, you’ll find TED-Ed, videos specifically designed to act as highly engaging and fun lessons.

TeacherTube: This YouTube for teachers is an amazing resource for finding educationally-focused videos to share with your classroom. You can find videos uploaded by other teachers or share your own.

Edutopia: An awesome place to find learning ideas and resources, Edutopia has videos, blogs, and more, all sorted into grade levels.

YouTube EDU: A YouTube channel just for education, you can find primary and secondary education, university-level videos, and even lifelong learning.


Classroom Clips: Classroom Clips offers media for educators and students alike, including video and audio in a browseable format.


neoK12: Find science videos and more for school kids in K-12 on neoK12.


OV Guide: Find education videos on this site, featuring author readings and instructional videos.


CosmoLearning: This free educational website has videos in 36 different academic subjects.


Google Educational Videos: Cool Cat Teacher offers this excellent tutorial for finding the best of Google’s educational videos.


Brightstorm: On Brightstorm, students can find homework help in math and science, even test prep, too.


Explore.org: Explore.org shares live animal cams, films, educational channels, and more for your classroom to explore.


UWTV: Offered by the University of Washington, UWTV has videos in the arts, K-12, social sciences, health, and more.


Videolectures.net: With Videolectures.net, you’ll get access to browseable lectures designed for the exchange of ideas and knowledge, offering videos in architecture, business, technology, and many more categories.


Zane Education: Zane Education offers resources for visual learning, including the very popular on demand subtitled videos.


Backpack TV: In this educational video library, you’ll find a special interest in math, science, and other academic subjects.


MentorMob: Featuring learning playlists, MentorMob is a great place to find lessons you want to teach.

Disney Educational Productions: This resource from Disney is a great place to find videos for students at the K-12 level.

Cookie.com - Educational Games, Stories And Worksheets

When it comes to playing games online, Cookie.com offers more than your traditional games website. This resource features educational games chosen by child experts and educators. It also contains worksheets, educational videos and stories to help children in preschool through 2nd grade develop basic skills and have fun while they learn. Games and activities help develop math, language, reading, science and general problem-solving skills.

Explore the Wonders of the World with Google

Thanks to Engadget for this Article:

Google has already been taking us to exotic locations through Street View, but now it's hoping to enshrine the most famous places on Earth through the World Wonders Project, one car (or trike) at a time. A total of 132 sites, ranging from natural landmarks like Yosemite to much more synthetic constructions like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, have both an on-the-ground view as well as 3D renderings, videos and loads of history from UNESCO and the World Monuments Fund, among others. The educational bent is so conspicuous that Google is offering up some of the content in downloadable bundles for schools along with the usual web-based look. All of it promises a much more fascinating, hands-on approach than a dry textbook, and it's a unique way of bringing encyclopedic knowledge to an era of Chromebooks and the cloud.

High-tech vs. no-tech: D.C. area schools take opposite approaches to education

Wolfram Education Portal

 

Wolfram has long been a trusted name in education—as the makers of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

They have created some of the most dynamic teaching and learning tools available. Now they have organised the best of all of their technologies to you here in the Wolfram Education Portal, organized by course.

In the portal you'll find a dynamic textbook, lesson plans, widgets, interactive Demonstrations, and more built by Wolfram education experts. You can take a look at the types of materials they offer below, but to get full access to all materials, you need to sign up for a free account.

How can you use this in the classroom?

I think teachers will get the most out of the lesson plan section as it covers a great deal of maths, science areas in great detail and has loads of of activities that will engage kids.

The other area which is of great benefit to teachers is the demonstration tools.  These interactive tools help students understand concepts by working hands on and then give you the confidence to use Wolfram's more advanced features with confidence.

Features

Expose your students to a whole new way of learning and understanding algebra through our dynamic teaching tools and materials. Built by our math education experts, you can trust that the materials cover the topics you need to teach.

 

See sample»    See sample»    See sample»

Textbook

The text is dynamic with Wolfram|Alpha widgets, Wolfram|Alpha links, and interactive Demonstrations created in Mathematica. View sample»

  

Lesson Plan

The lesson plans are made for teachers to guide a class through the lesson or for the students to read and follow on their own! The interactive elements keep students involved. View sample»

  

Demonstration

These interactive tools help students understand concepts by working hands on. All Demonstrations were created with Mathematica! View sample»

See sample»    Coming Soon      

Widget

Widgets allow students and teachers alike to cleanly enter queries into Wolfram|Alpha and get back customized results! View sample»

  

Practice—Coming Soon

Perfect math skills with our problem generator that automatically serves up new questions at varying levels of difficulty based on your previous answers.

  

How the iPad is changing Education

I came accross this article from readwriteweb.com today and it is worth reading.

The iPad may only be two years old, but it's already begun to change many things. Reading is one of them. Work is another. It is selling like crazy, but it will be some time before most of the people you know own a tablet.

The market for this type of device may only be in its infancy, but it's already becoming clear how it will revolutionize certain aspects our lives. Education is a huge one, as recent developments have demonstrated.

In January, Apple made good on its late CEO's vision to enter the digital textbook market with the launch of iBooks 2 and the iBooks Author production tool for e-books. That early effort was met with mixed reactions. While some were excited to see Apple move into a space that's ripe for disruption, others pointed out the inherent limitations in Apple's model, which for starters, will be cost-prohibitive for many school districts.

The iPad: An Obvious Use Case for Education

In a way, Apple didn't enter the education market. Rather, it followed its customers there. By the time iBooks 2 landed in the App Store, many people had already seen the potential the iPad has to change education. A growing number of college students have, on their own accord,

Click here to view the entire article.