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Australia Education Handhelds Media (Apple) Apple

Australian Schools Go iPad-Crazy 293

Posted by timothy
from the all-nu-perfect-forever dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Looks like it's not just Apple fanboys that are going wild for the iPad: in Australia, virtually every state education department is trialling the tablet in schools — and some schools are even trialling it without the official support of their department. One university in Adelaide has even abolished textbooks for first year science students and is allocating free iPads to first year students instead. It will be interesting to see what happens when the inevitable wave of Android tablets hits over the next six months."
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Australian Schools Go iPad-Crazy

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  • Waste of Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <tim.almond@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:31AM (#33660120) Homepage
    It's just some adults having fun and burning money in the process. If it's about text books, why not give them Kindles which cost a lot less? Oh, because they're not as sexy and cool as an iPad.
  • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <tim.almond@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:33AM (#33660136) Homepage
    But you've still got to buy the books as ebooks anyway.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:38AM (#33660168) Homepage

    So ... will the iBooks be free? Will they be available second hand?

    I'm pretty sure the book publishers will see this as a way to make a money-grab.

  • by jplopez (1067608) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:41AM (#33660184)

    "Looks like it's not just Apple fanboys that are going wild for the iPad: in Australia, virtually every state education department"

    Well, maybe those departments are indeed filled with Apple fanboys, specially when the money doesn't come from their pockets.

  • by MrHanky (141717) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:41AM (#33660188) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, I remember that from the 80s as well, back when it was called video. It didn't work particularly well then, either, but it was popular among students as they didn't need to concentrate.

  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:46AM (#33660210) Journal

    I'm sure an interactive tablet might be helpful, but when I was young and CD-ROMs were the new rage, my parents bought me a similar type of interactive science software with all sorts of interactive animations and stuff. One or two animations is fine, but you'll be surprised how much time watching an animation or interactive applet will take up while learning. You're dependent on the content creator's pace to learn when you use animations and interactive applets, whereas if you just read the thing, you're dependent on your own.

  • Re:Waste of Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:58AM (#33660264)
    It's just some adults having fun and burning money in the process. If it's about text books, why not give them Kindles which cost a lot less? Oh, because they're not as sexy and cool as an iPad.

    Because Kindles (and any e-ink based device) royally suck for non-linear texts (i.e., reference books, textbooks, etc). And this comes from someone who absolutely loves his Kindle for reading novels. I would never consider using it for something where I need to constantly flip back and forth between pages, or look things up in charts and tables.

    Use the best tool for the job, and at the moment, the iPad is a better tool for this type of usage scenario.
  • by telomerewhythere (1493937) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:00AM (#33660276)

    I was thinking more to use multitouch as a way to let student have a degree of input. If it was responsive (quick) and was robust enough for more than just a few pre-programmed 'movies' then it might help students who wanted to explore knowledge. Imagine three fingers used to describe the vertices of a triangle. And then moving one point and watching the angles and sin cos and tan change. (That is what I was thinking)

    Or dragging an H2O molecule into a Fe surface and watch the reaction.

    I can dream right? The pessimist in me says it will probably be a way for a lazy/distracted/addicted to Internet teacher to not have to work. And the laggards will play and the driven students will program games or such.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:03AM (#33660292) Homepage Journal

    Meanwhile school administrators and your wife's employer are delighted at the restrictiveness of the device.

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:22AM (#33660360)

    What to do when the battery dies?

    Well, I'm not a Doctor, but I assume you'd just plug it in. Considering the ubiquity of laptops in college these days a lot of classrooms have power outlets built into the desks themselves, and I've never heard a student complain they couldn't do their work because their laptop didn't have power. That and how often do you really use a textbook in class anyways? Usually class is lecture time and the textbook is used back at the dorm at night with reading/problems assigned.

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:30AM (#33660396)

    I've read this more than once and I still can not understand your point.

    From what I can surmise is that you are comparing "I put up the infrastructure and you people may rent it" to "I control what products and services you can use" and concluding that since one worked the other does too.

    Monopolies are always bad for the consumer - the problem is this:

    "but are forced to rent the bandwith to competitors"

    That is the breaking point of your argument. They are forced NOT to have a monopoly in the area. This is the total OPPOSITE of the Appstore - you have a monopoly and they don't need to rent it to anyone, they can choose to disallow stuff at a whim, they can add their own rules (No VMs!).

    Now I don't understand what you mean by 'market is fragmented'. I have a symbian myself. I use the Nokia OVI store. I also downloaded some applications from sourceforge, and an e-reader from another website. That's called freedom, and that helps the consumers.

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:45AM (#33660486)

    What to do when the battery dies?

    You obviously haven't used an iPad. The odds of a student using the entire charge of one without having a convenient opportunity to recharge it are somewhere between none and fat chance in hell. Seriously, the battery life on the iPad, even under heavy use, is considerable and more than adequate for a student's needs. They will be back home and able to charge the device before it runs out of power.

    What to do when you forgot your iPad?

    Probably the same thing that people do when they forget their notebooks. And, let's be serious - it's far _LESS_ likely that a student will forget an iPad, which is light and cool and fun compared to them forgetting a collection of notebooks which are heavy and boring and dull.

    Any other hypotheticals you'd care to throw out there?

  • Re:Waste of Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:46AM (#33660492)

    If it's about text books

    If it's about textbook, follow the Japanese model. They give students short paperback texts, 80-120 pages, that lasts 6 to 8 week in their subject instead of a heavy, intimidating tome that contains way too much information for the scope of the class. While we're at it, a state or nation can probably hire someone to write these books, someone to illustrate, and someone to edit it. Get feedback from teachers, and make necessary changes the next time around. (Instead of aesthetic, which textbook publishers do.) It will be all in public domain. States and nation will be able to copy off each other freely.

    Even if the don't do it this way, short paperbacks are much cheaper. Look at the Schaum Outlines:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=schaum+outline+series&x=0&y=0&sprefix=schaum+ou [amazon.com]

    They usually contain as much info as a textbook, lack a little handholding explanation sometimes but cost only $12-13 on average. A six to eight week text should be much less. I wish wikibook would take off, but I think they need to start giving a financial incentive for it really to take off.

    Kindles and iPads are both gadgets. Gadgets are okay but they not the solution here. Plus, with kids and bullies, they break. I would prefer the iPad, I owned a kindle and I hated it -- all it does is read novel at bad contrast. At least with an iPad, I could see someone developing a Rosetta Stone like software in the future, but for all topics, which imo, is the way to go. Plus the school could send out schedules and grades on it. But I think that's years away so it's all moot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:01AM (#33660556)

    Steve, I didn't know you were on Slashdot. I'm a Real Fan - can I have a turtleneck along with my iPad?

  • by Raenex (947668) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:27AM (#33660690)

    If the email is actually true, I'm with Jobs. The sense of entitlement in her email just pisses me off:

    "I was incredibly surprised to find Apple's Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist."

    Why should they be held hostage over her grade? It's also a ridiculous argument. The professor is going to downgrade her because Apple didn't respond to her question?

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:36AM (#33660740)

    I don't agree with you at all.

    The iPad was supposed to be the death of netbooks. And yet a netbook can do everything an Ipad can do - and far more.

    Lets face it, the only reason anyone buys it because it looks cool. I admit that the idea of touching stuff to get it to work appeals to be - but there is absolutely no other way that an iPad (or any tablet) is better than a netbook

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:42AM (#33660782) Journal

    Meanwhile school administrators and your wife's employer are delighted at the restrictiveness of the device.

    I think at least half of them are just excited at being able to be trendy. I've worked in education and a friend's school did this when the buzz was, I forget, not laptops, PSPs or something. Anyway, as an actual teacher rather than someone who got to go to local conferences and talk about being "innovative", his impression of a kid with a new gadget was... rather memorable. In University's, I've heard some right nonsense talked about "mobile learning". Mainly by managers who got to apply for grants on the back of it and go to conferences to talk crap about it to other people who then talked about new educational paradigms. (Sorry, you get lynched if you use out of date buzzwords in Academia. I think they're new pedagogical models or something now).

    It's like technology. First you it doesn't exist so you can't use it. Then it exists and the muppets start using it everywhere like a fucking kid that's just learnt a "naughty word". Then people denounce it as not the radical wonder-fixall it was "supposed" to be. Then people settle down and start using it when it's appropriate. We're not at the last phase yet, we're in the muppet stage. There's a lot of good potential in electronic devices in school. A school is unlikely to get Richard Dawkins to give a lecture to a class. But a hundred schools, watching and asking questions electronically, can. There's a lot you can do with interactive quizzes, seeing at a glance which kids are struggling or excelling in real-time, or group work with such devices that's worthwhile. But what they ain't, is a drop-in replacement for manageable class sizes, actual teaching and knowledgable teachers.

    Also, the choice of iPad's is a bad idea which goes right back to the real motivation of a lot of these schemes which is for people not doing the actual work to pat themselves on the back and be trendy. If they had any sense, they'd hold off a little and use one of the open platforms as they become available. Aside from saving money (always helpful in schools), they'd be able to have an open platform. If Apple get any kind of lock-in in Education, it will be bad, same as it's bad when any group gets a lock in. Find me one teacher in the UK that you can put a polygraph on who can say the the name "Capita" without their pulse hitting 150, and I'll show you a headmaster who hasn't done any real work in a decade.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:43AM (#33660788) Journal
    This is a shoot-from-the-hip effort. Abolishing textbooks for Kindle books would be great; abolishing textbooks to move to Kindle today would be a disaster due to lack of content. We're not prepared for the iPad to be worthless; they'll all find that electronic devices (not iPad, ALL electronic devices) are worthless by this attempt, and go back to just books. There's no consideration of content availability etc and maturity of the platform, much less consideration of what platform or what goals you have. This is mainly an "OOH SHINY" reaction.
  • Color and video (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeMo (521697) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:46AM (#33660800)
    It's because textbooks really *do* require color. Color is essential when conveying certain complex concepts, let alone the need for pictures.

    I have dreamed for years about how rich a learning experience could be if textbooks had motion and video. For example, imagine how easy it would be to explain the difference between frequency and phase if you could have a couple of sine waves on a graph that change as one drags a slider back and forth? How would you even do that on a Kindle?

    Then there's the whole app thing, where you can build applications that target specific learning needs.

    Kindle is really great as a replacement for printed novels, but it just doesn't cut it for the education market.

  • Re:Waste of Money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:52AM (#33660858) Homepage

    In short: they need to liberate content rather than throw an expensive viewer into the mix.

    Of course the fanboys don't care about cost or effectiveness.

    The rest of us look at these things and contemplate the need to pay for everything we've been getting from the public library.

    Even some kids are smart enough to figure this part out if you show them an e-book reader.

  • Money grab indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zerofoo (262795) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:09AM (#33661050)

    Book publisher money grabs are not new. I remember having to buy the same calculus book 3 times in college - Why?

    The publisher moved around the chapters and slightly altered some of the problems. Never mind that calculus hasn't changed in hundreds of years.

    These "new editions" instantly made the old books worth zero. If you took a chance on an old used textbook, you ran the risk of not being able to do the assigned work.

    Book publishers are money grabbing scum, and they don't give a damn if poor students go broke trying to get an education.

    The iPad is just another tool in their toolbox.

    -ted

  • Re:Waste of Money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vtcodger (957785) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:28AM (#33661258)

    It's an intriguing idea. It WILL happen someday. And maybe now is the time.

    As a retired school IT guy (in the last of my many IT lives), I have two questions.

    First, how close is it to being completely indestructible? Because, let me tell you, K-12 education is every bit as harsh an operating environment as military service.

    Second, can it realistically be secured by the school IT people? How hard is it to configure a few hundred of them? Can a bricked/jailbroken unit be ressurected/restored in less than a day? Thankfully, there is no camera and no USB port. Can they prevent the thing from accessing porn/malware at home then uploading it to the school network?

    And make no mistake, there will be malware for these things. And they will be jailbroken. Are there tools for IT to make these essentially personal devices behave like controllable, educational tools?

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:39AM (#33661408)

    What to do when the battery dies?

    You obviously haven't used an iPad. The odds of a student using the entire charge of one without having a convenient opportunity to recharge it are somewhere between none and fat chance in hell. Seriously, the battery life on the iPad, even under heavy use, is considerable and more than adequate for a student's needs. They will be back home and able to charge the device before it runs out of power.

    What to do when you forgot your iPad?

    Probably the same thing that people do when they forget their notebooks. And, let's be serious - it's far _LESS_ likely that a student will forget an iPad, which is light and cool and fun compared to them forgetting a collection of notebooks which are heavy and boring and dull.

    Any other hypotheticals you'd care to throw out there?

    You obviously have never met humans. It's a lot easier to remember a giant heavy thing that a light fun thing. Oops, I left my iPad next to my bed last night instead of putting it in my backpack. Too bad the backpack felt exactly the same with and without it. Oops, I forgot to charge my iPad last night. Seriously, have you met any kids in the last 10 years? At any given time, a quarter of the cell phone toting kids in high school have either forgotten their phone somewhere or forgotten to charge it. The iPad's going to be worse, because it's used for learning, not exciting socializing.

    The iPad's battery life is terribly short. If a kid needs to use it in most classes throughout the day and then for homework at night (which will already be pushing its single charge limits on a busy 16 hour school + study day), they only get one chance to remember to charge it.

    Also, while the iPad is good for quickly flipping through pages, it's nowhere near as good as a textbook. Most everyone in advanced science or math classes (and I'm probably foolishly discriminating against history, psychology, etc. here) spends a lot of time with several (>2) pages bookmarked and accessed several times a minute while sorting out new concepts in challenging problem sets. This is mostly a software problem, but as of now the available reader software is going to make this more painful than it is with a textbook. Furthermore, the low resolution of the iPad screen just can't compete with the 300 dpi printing on an 11" tall textbook, so the information that took 3 textbook pages flips will now take several more pages of on the iPad.

    For that matter, students drop things all the time. Textbooks get bent a bit. iPads shatter.

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer (1573841) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:41AM (#33661440)

    I'd hate to be going to the school that gets open source Android tablets instead of an iPad. Can you imagine how much you would get picked on. Android is like the K-Mart of tablets.

    If by that you mean that it is capable of doing all of the same things at half the price but without the iBrand, then I would be happy to shop at K-Mart. That's actually where I do shop for office supplies and low end household electrics. The products work just fine at a fraction of the price.

    I would be happy to send my kid to school with an Android tablet. At least then he might get a chance to learn something about how to make his software running on his device do what he wants it to do. That's better than having Apple tell kids what apps are suited for their iEducation.

  • by Arkham (10779) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:41AM (#33661446)

    I hope the students never need any help from Apple.
    http://gawker.com/5641211/steve-jobs-in-email-pissing-match-with-college-journalism-student [gawker.com]

    Right, because needing tech support from Apple and harassing the CEO for a quote are the same thing.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @11:32AM (#33663160)

    I hate to point this out on a site like Slashdot, but the openness of a platform is not always the most important thing when buying a product like an iPad. And trendiness isn't why the ipad is so popular, either.

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