I understood I had an uphill battle to win the latest ZDNet Great Debate arguing that we would see an iPad for every child, but think the only real obstacle is money and that is something that could be solved if society valued education more than things like entertainment and professional sports.
With three daughters in the public education system, I understand that funding is an issue. I also believe there are creative ways to make things happen and if Apple offered educational discounts and we put our money where our mouth is we could get iPads into the system. Maybe I am being a bit naive, but I think kids would treat them much better than textbooks and an iPad with interactive materials would help generate some excitement for education in kids that are not as self-motivated as others.
Much of Christoper's winning argument focused on the open nature of alternative tablets, but in this regard I think Apple's closed nature is beneficial for a couple of reasons. School districts don't have large IT departments and cannot devote resources to messing with various systems, content, and troubleshooting. The iPad has a very long battery life, is stable, is easy to setup and use, and can be used for most all of the basic computing needs in schools so that even laptops and desktops could be replaced.
The major textbook publishers are on board with the iBooks 2 Textbooks program and that was something I honestly thought would be a major hurdle. They see the potential in the iPad as an educational tool. Do you think we should get the iPad into student's hands and will it benefit the educational system?
UPDATE: Greg sent me a link of an interesting collection of images showing data he gathered regarding this issue. His data shows the cost comparison in great detail and makes it quite clear that cost is a major factor in rolling out iPads in education.
Related ZDNet coverage
- An iPad for every child: Inevitable or impossible?
- Apple's iBooks Textbooks initiative is a welcome and natural progression
- Apple iBooks 2 with Textbooks may reduce back pain and improve student health
- Textbook of the Future: The hardware
- How we really teach with tech in 21st century classrooms