iPads Revisited

I will confess to being less than an iPad advocate.  I’ve spent 20 plus years working on the development and optimization of 1:1 laptop programs (starting with the deployment of sixty Apple eMates to fourth graders), and we’ve worked very hard to resolve Mac and Windows imaging issues, file compatibility problems, cases, repairs, classroom management, faculty training and buy in, and more.  The thought of tossing all that for large iPod devices seems strange

At the bottom of it, I guess the “typing question” drove me nuts.  Personally, I couldn’t do more than a two sentence email or blog post on an iPad or iPhone, and I couldn’t imagine a primary academic tech tool that would forget about writing and composition.  I go even farther back on that topic– it’s a foundation stone of computers in schools, period.

All that said, I am now writing this blog post at nearly normal speed on an iPad2.  I was impressed by the 1:1 iPad discussions on ISEN-L and the ISEN Ning, and I heard of a new case with keyboard for iPads that actually may have a 60 wpm keyboard.  I ordered two of these Zagg Portfolio Cases for iPad2 and 3.

Zagg Portfolio for iPads

Zagg Portfolio for iPads

After a few days, I’m mostly impressed.  The keyboard is supposed to last 2 weeks on a charge, and I will know that in two weeks.  The keyboard isn’t bad, but some behaviors are still unpredictable.  For example, writing this in WordPress is causing a double letter each time the text editor wraps the end of a line, but that could be a browser issue.

In the end, I guess we are all after tech that is easier to use, or gives us more creative options.  If you look at the iPad only for the things it can’t do, then it’s a loser out of the gate.  (No flash, poor Google Docs, many pages don’t work right, etc.).  However, if you look at it in terms of easier management, more flexibility, less weight, fast boot time, the two strong cameras in the iPad 3, the developing digital textbooks, the developing touch and stylus software, and more, then the idea of a type of program starts to take shape.

More on this later– there are many problems to consider first, but this keyboard that works is a great start.  (Hey, I think I just figured out how to avoid some of the challenges of typing in this editor as well– the learning continues…)



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