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Education Apple News

Goodbye Textbooks, Hello iPad 396

Posted by samzenpus
from the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Students and teachers in grade school through higher education are using the iPad to augment their lessons or to replace textbooks. Jennifer Kohn's third grade class at Millstone Elementary School in Millstone, New Jersey, mastered the iPad with minimal training. For the most part, the students didn't need to be taught how to use their apps, Kohn says. College students are also turning to the iPad to do what they do instinctively well: saving themselves money. Marianne Petit, a New York University staff member, recently began taking credits in pursuit of another certification, and uses her iPad in place of textbooks. 'The price of the iPad pays for itself after a single semester,' Petit said. 'iPad books cost so much less it's a legal alternative for students who are using BitTorent [to pirate books].' Like the PC before it, Kohn noted that the iPad isn't a panacea for educators: It has its appropriate time and place. 'I don't use them with every lesson or even day. It's not always appropriate to lesson or objective of what I'm trying to teach,' Kohn noted."
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Goodbye Textbooks, Hello iPad

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  • Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:13AM (#38341810)

    s/iPad/ANY TABLET/g

    • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:16AM (#38341826)

      But they're not using ANY TABLET, they're using iPads.

      • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Funny)

        by masternerdguy (2468142) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:22AM (#38341864)
        Kids need to be educated about the evils of root access to machines early.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Tharsman (1364603)

          Dont want them kids saying the virus ate their homework!

      • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:25AM (#38341884) Homepage Journal

        I got internet on a 28.8kbit line in 1996.
        If somebody told me: look, in 15 years they will still study on books I would have ROTFLMAO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Which is pretty sad. They're presenting text and maybe some images, the "textbooks" should be platform agnostic.

        • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:10AM (#38342244)

          I'm willing to bet half of the administrators of these schools have never heard of any alternatives to iPads and so never considered any of the more logical choices (e.g.any e-reader)

          • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by _KiTA_ (241027) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:19AM (#38342340) Homepage

            I'm willing to bet half of the administrators of these schools have never heard of any alternatives to iPads and so never considered any of the more logical choices (e.g.any e-reader)

            It's this, combined with some odd effect I'm sure marketing has named, but I remain ignorant of the lingo.

            For example, it's like how if I take my Kindle out in public, someone asks me if "The Barnes and Noble Kindle" is any good, too. "Oh, Sony has a Kindle out, too, did you hear about that?"

            I don't listen to music on an mp3 player, I listen to music on "an iPod."

            To my parents, when I get home, I play "Nintendo." Not the Wii, not the Playstation, not the 360 -- The Nintendo Nintendo, the Sony Nintendo, or the Windows Nintendo.

            And nowadays, you don't buy a tablet PC, you buy "an iPad."

            The most successful member of a product group names the group, permanently.

            • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

              by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:27AM (#38342430)

              The term you're looking for is genericized trademark, I believe.

            • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Ltap (1572175) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:52AM (#38342714) Homepage
              This isn't new and isn't exclusive to technology. It started in earnest, it seems, in the 1950s (the great age of commercialization) when certain companies wanted their trademark to be the name for a generic product. Ever Hoover®ed something? Taken Aspirin®? Blown your nose with a Kleenex®? Put a Band-Aid® on a cut? Written a memo on a Post-It® note? In some cases, it's simply unintentional -- the generic name for a product is the brand name of the most popular version (hence the "Crapper" toilet). In other cases it's more sinister, like with Nintendo -- the company is trying to control the market by identifying its brand with the product alone.

              This kind of maneuvring can also be seen a little with Apple and its insistence on using its own terminology. Why? Consider the AirPort and AirPort Base Station. To normal humans, these are known as the wi-fi adapter and wireless access point respectively. But to someone going into a shop, only knowing they "need a new base station", they will (if they are ignorant enough), ignore wireless routers and access points that would obviously be compatible with their Mac system in favour of an Apple product simply because of terminology. It's a way of fostering dependence. The fact that Apple does this all the time should clue you into something.
              • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

                by multisync (218450) on Monday December 12, 2011 @10:38AM (#38343236) Journal

                This isn't new and isn't exclusive to technology. It started in earnest, it seems, in the 1950s (the great age of commercialization) when certain companies wanted their trademark to be the name for a generic product.

                You've actually got that completely backwards. Companies go to great pains to prevent their trademarked names from being diluted to the point that they become generic terms for a product category. In fact, companies like Xerox have taken out ads in publications like Writers Digest imploring authors to not abuse their trademark by using their trademarked name as a verb, as in "I xeroxed a copy" (note the lower case).

                The reason is that trademarks, unlike copyrights and patents, must be actively defended to be maintained. That's one of the big differences between trademark and copyright. If you don't actively defend your trademark, it can ruled to have been abandoned and you will lose your exclusive right to use it in the marketplace. On the other hand, by rigorously defending your trademark, it can effectively last forever, unlike copyrights which (theoretically) expire.

                Companies definately want you to think of their products first, but you will find them very hostile if you use their trademarked name generically, especially if it's to describe a similar product offered by a competitor.

              • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by catmistake (814204) on Monday December 12, 2011 @10:50AM (#38343388) Journal

                This kind of maneuvring can also be seen a little with Apple and its insistence on using its own terminology.

                Like AppStore. They could have avoided all kinds of trouble if they just would have said it is the iOS package manager, and its called "AppStore," rather than entirely glossing over the generic form of what it actually is. Had they done this, there would have been no hubbub about every mobile competitor all calling their package managers "appstores." Then again, its just as likely it was incompetant tech journalists that caused that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Mithent (2515236)
              Exactly. This frustrated me before with the iPod - friends and family wouldn't go out looking for an MP3 player, they'd go out looking for an iPod, because an iPod is what you get to play music on the move. And it's just the same now with the iPad. They didn't look at the available tablets on the market and decide that the iPad was the one that best suited their needs. They wanted a tablet, so they bought the iPad, because the iPad is the tablet.
            • Around here, all dark soda drinks are "coke".

              Then again, it doesn't have to be good, it has to be short. iPad is easier to say than a Samsung Evo Touch G1 Plus Z. Android name courtesy of http://androidphonenamegenerator.com/ [androidpho...erator.com]

        • Digital restrictions management is the opposite of platform agnostic. If a textbook publisher chooses to strike an exclusive deal with iBooks, and the instructor is already locked into that publisher, tough droppings.
    • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by IANAAC (692242) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:29AM (#38341916)
      That's what it should be, yeah.

      Remember when PCWorld used to be one giant ad for whatever PC program-of-the month was paying them? Now it seems that it panders to Apple too.

      The "article" is just one giant love fest for the iPad, arranged by the founder of "iPhome". Oh well, at least they managed to mention "Kindle" once.

      • by dr2chase (653338)

        That was my impression too. In particular, a love fest for iPhome, the padded-foamy-holder.

      • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fafaforza (248976) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:41AM (#38341986)

        But then again, speaking of Kindle, it itself became the Apple of eInk devices, where you'd figure the Kindle was the only one available as no other manufacturers ever get mentioned. Even back in the day when it was only Amazon and Sony, and maybe some smaller manufacturers, Sony didn't exist in most article authors' world, even though they had a superior reader.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Not if the company that made the software only wrote it for ipad....

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      sed you're my hero.

      I'd love to see them try this at a title 1 school.

      Little kids with ipads in the inner city? they're gonna get mugged for their 'textbooks'

    • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:12AM (#38342260)
      It used to be that noone would get fired for buying IBM. Then it was Microsoft. When it comes to tablets, Apple is still the leader by market share. They are the low-risk option. Sure, you pay more. A lot more. But if it all goes horribly wrong, you can't be accused of causing the problem by buying inferior equipment.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:14AM (#38341816) Homepage

    I thought the standard book industry line was that the cost of printing is only a few dollars, most of the cost is for authors, editors, copywriters, etc., and that's why e-books are priced very near print books.

    That should be doubly so for textbooks because you're not just making up stories and writing them down plus you have to have special content like illustrations, photographs, and quizzes.

    There aren't special discounts because the e-book is being sold for the iPad, are there?

    "iPad books cost so much less...It's a legal alternative for students who are using BitTorent [to pirate books]."

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      with actual textbooks(for 3rd graders), you'd think that doing superficial changes to layout is the biggest cost beside printing.

      the books for that cost what they cost because they can cost. think of the children etc..

    • by gander666 (723553) * on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:27AM (#38341902) Homepage

      The case of textbooks is special for many reasons. First, students (and I am talking University Students here) MUST buy them. No choice in the matter. Second, there has long been a lively secondary market for used books. This infuriated the main line publishers, that they couldn't get fresh money for fresh books every semester/quarter/year. Third, to counter this, they collude with the authors, and have frequent revisions. Never changing much, but enough that lesson plans would be altered with the wrong edition text. Thus, it is rare that a text is god for more than 2 years between revisions.

      Couple that with the fact that there is a limited run on text books (never a large production run), a captive market, and thus really high prices, and you get a very warped market. The publishers are actually happy to sell a reduced price electronic version, DRM'd, to each student, and cut out the secondary resellers.

      That said, when I chased my Physics degree, for my core, I always bought new, marked them up, and keep them. Today, my two volumes of Graduate level Quantum server merely to intimidate coworkers.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Couple that with the fact that there is a limited run on text books (never a large production run), a captive market, and thus really high prices, and you get a very warped market. The publishers are actually happy to sell a reduced price electronic version, DRM'd, to each student, and cut out the secondary resellers.

        Which of course makes the argument bogus, if you lost the resale value they didn't actually become any better value. But that's what you get when you use math from the ed-uh-cation department.

        • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:36AM (#38342544) Homepage

          How so? Part of the reason they charge so much for textbooks (not all of the reason by any means, but definitely part of it) is that they know there's a thriving market in used books. Especially for books used in non-core classes, a textbook company can expect that at best one in three students who are taking a class that uses their book will actually buy the book. A textbook is current for usually four to six semesters, but you have to figure that at least some students will buy new on principle, even in non-core classes. It's probably more like one in four, but we'll go with three. Let's also assume that production of the physical book is 15% of the cost of the book (it might be less, but text books are legitimately more expensive to print because of the higher paper quality and often having lots of color pictures).

          So you have an e-book version that (thanks to DRM) you can guarantee will get sold to every single student who takes a class using it, plus you save the 15% on production costs. You can probably sell it for 1/3 of the amount you sell the dead tree version for, undercut used book prices, and still make more than you used to. On top of that, if you can get most students to use the e-book instead of the physical book, you can slow down your release cycle (since you no longer have to worry as much about students cutting into your profits by buying used) and save still more money.

      • by fafaforza (248976) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:44AM (#38342012)

        The electronic version might be cheaper, but it will be cheaper by 5%, or some trivial amount like that, just like eBooks. iPad versions of text books won't "cost so much less."

      • by dr2chase (653338)

        I don't know how long this will list. Middle child heads straight off to the Khan Academy when he wants a second opinion on one subject or another. Oldest child was so pissed at his thermo textbook, that he spent a summer trying to write his own. Textbooks for older kids are just documents, they don't need some fancy app.

      • by v1 (525388) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:47AM (#38342042) Homepage Journal

        Second, there has long been a lively secondary market for used books. This infuriated the main line publishers, that they couldn't get fresh money for fresh books every semester/quarter/year.

        Until you get to college anyway. Then the publishers "lobby" the professors just like big corps lobby the congressmen, and get them to change what textbook they "require" for their class every few years. Books bought in the spring for $250 are bought back by the book stores that fall for $24 because they won't be used there next semester.

        It would be nice if universities required the profs to list the book costs and the average resale value of books bought for their classes in the course list. Then when you had three profs teaching African History and two of them have average end costs of $100 and one has $300 because the prof keeps changing books, enrollment for that one prof plummets and his department head threatens to cut that class off the list. That's the only way to fix that problem.

        Hard to say how effective it would be though - so many college students haven't learned how to manage money and are on a "spend/charge/loan now, worry about pay later when I get a lucrative job" attitude that they really don't pay as much attention to up-front costs as they should.

        • by MisterSquid (231834) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:04AM (#38342176)

          It would be nice if universities required the profs to list the book costs and the average resale value of books bought for their classes in the course list. Then when you had three profs teaching African History and two of them have average end costs of $100 and one has $300 because the prof keeps changing books, enrollment for that one prof plummets and his department head threatens to cut that class off the list. That's the only way to fix that problem.

          You act as if professors work in the bookstore with a database of book prices open on their computers. Having been university faculty, I know professors are "shielded" frrom the price of the books they select for pedagogical (as opposed to financial) reasons. Usually, faculty submit a list with titles and authors to administrative staff who then notify ordering faculty of new editions and other changes to the book order. Faculty get desk copies that have no price; faculty do not know how much the books they choose to best teach the subject cost.

          In your scenario, it's quite likely that the faculty requiring more expensive texts will have better, more authoritative, more current texts than the faculty with less-expensive texts. Price is not a guarantee of quality, but it sometimes provides a quick index to value.

          • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:20AM (#38342352)

            Many professors hardly ever use their textbooks, making having the things a waste. Not only do they not know the cost (which they could easily look up if they ever cared to), but they listed as required a book that was never opened. It's one thing if you require and use a textbook; it's an entirely different story if you never even use it.

            For example, when I took Calculus III, we never even opened the textbook once. All lessons were done old school with a chalkboard and overhead projector. We didn't even use the book for assignments; we were given homemade worksheets and electronically posted problems. It was the same for the previous two courses: We never cracked the book open except for a single instance in Calc I.

            • by Chirs (87576) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:48AM (#38342676)

              University is for learning. The idea is that you open the textbook on your own to gain a deeper understanding of the topic than you had time to cover in class.

              • University is for learning. The idea is that you open the textbook on your own to gain a deeper understanding of the topic than you had time to cover in class.

                This. If you have to constantly resort to the book, the professor isn't doing his or her job. For most of my college courses, books were more of a "second opinion" that I could reference when I had trouble understanding something.

        • by tastiles (466054) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:29AM (#38342450)

          But there are requirements to list books and prices! The federal Higher Education Opportunity Act requires colleges and universities to make public lists of books and other materials that will be required for each course by the time of students are expected to enroll in those courses. This was supposed to drive down the cost of textbooks because it will give students more time to find online prices. As a professor, I haven't noticed much of a change since this law took effect in July 2010, the prices in the bookstore are still outrageous.

        • by supercrisp (936036) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:35AM (#38342532)
          Many institutions now require faculty to put the cost of textbooks on the order sheets. Why? Well, believe it or not, the book reps and publishers take some pains to obscure, obfuscate, mislead, lie, etc about the cost of texts. I teach English, but I can readily understand why some faculty in math and the sciences would welcome the "churn" of frequent new editions. Changed problem sets really help cut down on cheating, which is rampant at universities these days. Online tools have made it very easy. It is time consuming to generate problem sets, and it's more time consuming to track down and "prosecute" cheaters. Note: I'm not saying anything about what's right or fair. But, given the fact that faculty are made responsible for more and more work, we tend to do what we can to keep our work load reasonable. That means that cost/effort will be pushed on to students. And since it's very difficult to get more effort, it tends to shift toward cost. It's one of those situations in which "externalities" impact the bottom end and in which the bad actors/game defectors force costs onto the community. As for the idea that delisting a professor's courses will encourage better behavior.... Oh boy, that's so wrong. Do you really think that letting a slacker slack will motivate better behavior? Any prof who gives a damn is already trying to figure out what to do about the situation. And those who don't give a damn will welcome low enrollments or delisting of courses. If anything, the convention is to threaten poor performers with more teaching. Instead, we should offer incentives for doing the right thing, like granting publication credit for stuff like generating open course texts or teaching packets. And to do that, schools would have to pay for an editorial board (with course releases) that gives the process oversight and credibility. I dunno. This whole discussion generally lacks on key idea: the professors are consumers as much as the students. But they are subsidized consumers......
      • by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:14AM (#38342286)

        The cost difference between my wife's Math textbooks and their equivalent e-book version was $400 for us last semester. In other words, an iPad pays for itself in one semester of school.

      • by supercrisp (936036) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:22AM (#38342372)
        The production runs on textbooks are not that small. In fact, I'd describe them as large. But what those words mean can vary from person to person. Yeah, a textbook probably doesn't have a print run like a best seller, but few books do. The problem I have with iPads is twofold: one, it is an expensive device, and not all professors will adopt ebooks; and, two, many students will use the device to play Angry Birds or check Facebook instead of paying attention in class. If we are to adopt ebooks, I'd much prefer something that can also work on a laptop or PC, so that students are not forced to purchase two devices. I'm very troubled by what is happening in the textbook market, the increased lock-in. I'm working with some other faculty members at my institution for (English) classes without textbooks, or with reduced textbooks, by using more online or library content. But a major problem is that the salespeople for textbook companies are pretty effective, making promises about saving money and online features. Then a lot of faculty are technophobic or barely tech-competent, so the traditional textbook gets the nod because it's familiar.
        • "many students will use the device to play Angry Birds or check Facebook instead of paying attention in class"

          So? If they didn't have that they would be sleeping or doodling or writing something else or planning out their week or checking out the other students. Professors should be able to hold the attention of most of the students; if not, maybe they should try something other than teaching. I've taught a number of university courses and always tried to make them sufficiently interesting and engaging so
    • by Scr4tchFury (1211936) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:27AM (#38341906)
      There are no discounts. The students are downloading illegal copies of books.
    • by microcars (708223) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:16AM (#38342302) Homepage
      The kids are using APPS, not eBooks.
      The quote is from someone going to college that says the iPad eBooks are cheaper.
      Being an iPad-using college student myself, I can tell you that when there is an actual eBook available (ePub or PDF), it is about 1/2 the list price of the hardcover "textbook".
      However, the secondary market is eliminated as it is not easy to sell a DRM'ed eBook, so the cost savings are upfront only.
      You end up paying the same price over the life of the course compared to students who buy the books at list price and then sell them later for 1/2 price.
    • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:55AM (#38342752)
      The most logical thing to do would be for the US government to commission the creation of free textbooks. Since they buy the books for poor students, they would recover their costs very quickly.

      The fact that you have to pay much for any grade school or high school book is silly. A fourth grade math textbook can be written once and once then it just needs to have a few cultural references updated every twenty years. A history or science book will need more updates. But those could mostly be produced for free for students working on their Education doctorates, teachers earning continuing education credits, or other volunteers submitting small changes wiki style.
  • by Mastadex (576985) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:16AM (#38341828)

    ..It doesn't matter. When you drop an iPad, it's costly to replace. But I'm just preaching to the choir now...

    • by UncleRage (515550) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:34AM (#38341952)

      Funny thing...

      I've deployed around two thousand iPads in our district (and another 500 or so iPod Touches). 1700 (iPads and iTouches) or so to students, another 800 or so to admin/faculty.

      Theft of device:
      Students: 2.
      Faculty/Staff: > 15.

      Physical breakage (screen, headphone jack, etc...).
      Students: 3.
      Faculty Staff: > 20

      Students have had devices for nearly three years. Adults, for about eighteen months.

      Kids take care of the devices better than the adults (at least in our environment); weird, but there you go...

      • by hitmark (640295) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:51AM (#38342076) Journal

        I wonder if the kids had more of their "life" on the pad then the adults.

      • by antdude (79039)

        I wonder why? Do adults not care?

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:31AM (#38342476) Homepage

          No, as a AV engineer and consultant I have observed the following. Teachers are incredibly dumb compared to the kids in regards to technology. Almost to the point that they are "special needs".

          I have several educators that complain that when they press a button on a touchscreen that if something did not happen, they don't press it again, they crawl under the desk and start crying and proclaiming that the system is completely broken and needs to be replaced. These people may understand education, but they are incompetent when it comes to using any form of technology.

      • by vlm (69642) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:10AM (#38342240)

        I have multiple teachers in my family and I watch the news. The background is little johnny comes to school with a black eye on occasion and no one cares when you report it, doesn't really matter why. Little johnny breaks the $100 whatever (window, computer keyboard, mouse, textbook, lab equipment, whatever). Well its gonna be hard to look him in his black eye tomorrow, so the written report will be the teacher somehow broke it, even if she tells the kid its going on his permanent record, the actual written report which the kid never sees is going to be a bit different. This lead to comical written reports, "explain why did you put elmers glue in the keyboard again, ms art teacher?". Theres a lot of cover up going on. Then too there's a bit of fairness. Little johnny who you know gets beaten at home gets a cover up... why punish little sally for dropping the ipad just because you think she isn't being beaten? Are you sure? If she shows up dead tomorrow how will you live with yourself? Should "good" parents have to pay replacement money as a punishment for being "good"? If you determine it was an honest accident and "teachable moment" or whatever about responsibility, you just put it on your account instead of the kids account and move on.

        All you're really proven is that about 90% of the time, damage is just an honest mistake / accident. Teachers can and do nail the kid to the wall if its blatant like smashing the device over another kids head, or intentional destruction, or hitting the teacher with it, or some kind of 3-strikes and you're out personal policy, but that kind of stuff is kinda rare.

        • by UncleRage (515550)

          ...actually, the adults I'm referring to are mostly administrators (the kind that haven't seen a classroom in twenty years and twisted funding to acquire an iPad to go along with their desktop, laptop and smartphone...).

          I've found both classroom instructors and students to be careful with equipment (I'm the Apple sys-admin, I really don't deal with the Windows side of the house -- so my exposure to the Dells (netbooks, laptops and desktops) is non-existant in my day to day operations).

          Primarily, when I hear

      • That's interesting. How old are the kids? I'm guessing that most kids just live with the headphone jack problems rather than report it.

        Also, if they know the break was their fault they may just get their parents to buy them a new one.

        Do they have to return the ipads at the end of the year? It'll be interesting if the ratio of broken/lost devices continues at the end of the year.

        • by UncleRage (515550)

          They run the full spectrum. K-12.

          We have a large scale K-2 program where the iPads are used in center-based learning. We have carts used for shared classes and we also have 1:1 deployments. Students don't take the devices home (which buffers the percentages quite a bit, I realize).

          I wasn't really tossing the original comment in as any kind of "fact"; just anecdotal observation. Most of our kids come from economically challenged families -- and most of our instructors are exceptionally dedicated to their

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:55AM (#38342112)

      I have a son with severe autism, who uses an ipad to communicate. He's non verbal, and has a low IQ. Not only has he instinctively figured the iPad out, and used it in ways we never dreamed possible, but he's pretty rough on the thing. He's tried to eat it, he's dropped it, slept on it (he is 9, so not a tiny tot), sat on it, gotten it wet many times, (Both from the above mentioned trying to eat it, and from having it near liquids) and it is still fine. We got a great case (gumdrop) and although I don't recommend doing what he does, it's still fine once you take the beat up case off. We also paid for one of those "if you smash it under your car we'll replace it" plans, which I normally avoid. If I knew the case was going to be this good...

  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:22AM (#38341862) Homepage
    Textbooks yanked from students iPads during a semester because of DRM glitch. Thousands of kids are unable to do their book work as teachers scramble to come up with alternatives while the issue gets resolved between the publisher, Apple, and anyone else.

    *Whump* It may be old, it may be so yesteryear but a book works fine. Not to mention as a learning tool it also makes a great:

    * Blunt object to smack the bully who's harassing you with if he tries to take it from you.

    * Something to stand on to reach that higher shelf

    * Foot rest when doing something other then Calculus or Physics. God those books weighed a ton!

    * Something your kid could poke around in when your older and not have to deal with DRM restrictions that lock the title to you alone. Seriously I found my parents old math books in the attic one day and I was amazed going through them when I was younger.

    * It works great when the batteries are dead and you have a candle to read by.

    Now that I've ranted I'll get off the lawn before the guy with the stone tablets comes out and yells at me. Don't ask him how he parted the waters in his birdbath. You'll get your ear talked off.
  • by kervin (64171) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:23AM (#38341870) Homepage

    ...and they could have just have easily been using Netbooks or Laptops for this. And the advantage of a laptop is that these starving students would save themselves even that $600 the tablet costs as they need a laptop for real work anyway.

    • ...and they could have just have easily been using Netbooks or Laptops for this. And the advantage of a laptop is that these starving students would save themselves even that $600 the tablet costs as they need a laptop for real work anyway.

      An iPad doesn't cost $600. And a netbook wouldn't save anything because they need a laptop for real work anyway.

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:49AM (#38342066)

      ...and they could have just have easily been using Netbooks or Laptops for this.

      Perversely, the walled garden means management cant intentionally add spyware to them as easily as a PC. Laptops take 5+ minutes to boot and load all the inventory monitor, virus scanner and its updates, OS updates, keyloggers both management approved and downloaded accidentally off the internet, and the battery is dead by the end of the first class... then what?

      If you go laptop, you need a AC power outlet at each desk, which is going to be expensive to wire, and the kids are going to stick wires in there to intentionally electrocute each other.

      If you go tablet, the kid needs to carry... the tablet. Charge it at night, it'll run all day. If you forget, the old fashioned dunce chair in the corner becomes "the charger chair" to sit next to the teacher's charger and wall outlet. If you go laptop, the kid needs to carry the laptop, the power adapter which will get lost or forgotten, the power cable from outlet to adapter which will get lost, the inevitable ipod/phone USB charger cable (lets face it, its gonna happen) and probably an old fashioned ethernet cable for locations/times when wifi is not available, and probably a flash drive or two to trade music files with friends, and add a random USB cable or two to hook up to printers/scanners/etc that are not on the LAN (Printer on the lan at work is convenient, on the lan at school means the local 2600 readers are going to anonymously print goatse out on the principals office printer, therefore no printers allowed on the lan at school). The laptop PLUS accessories is going to be bulkier and heavier than all but the stoutest Calc or Physics books, negating most of the purpose.

      Yes, I've read textbooks on a regular old fashioned desktop. I suppose I could on a laptop or netbook. It just makes more sense to use a tablet.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:24AM (#38341878)

    "Jennifer Kohn's third grade class at Millstone Elementary School in Millstone, New Jersey, mastered the iPad with minimal training."

    Mastered meaning they learned objective-c and xcode and now have multiple million unit selling apps?

  • ...how this lady chirps for one particular piece of equipment. Who paid her ?
    • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:31AM (#38341930)

      ...how this lady chirps for one particular piece of equipment. Who paid her ?

      I'm not suspicious at all. Occam's razor leads me to believe that she just likes it more than lugging around expensive single subject text books. Most of the time, things are really just that simple.

      • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Monday December 12, 2011 @08:36AM (#38341958)

        When an e-ink device is a fraction of the cost of an iPad & has the classroom advantage of being better suited for text and poorly suited for games, I come to the conclusion that she is either paid for or stupid.

        • But why would you limit yourself to a worse UI than the actual textbooks*? I think the point is to improve on them. In fact, the article shows interactiveness and animation.

          I never had an iPad (or laptop, for that matter) on my classes, but certain animations on e.g. Wikipedia or videos projected by teachers were certainly helpful to better visualize some concepts.

          I know someone will reply that they learned just fine by decoding morse in their head while they walked barefoot uphill both ways, but I think it

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Colour textbooks don't work so well on e-ink displays.

          Seriously, the slashdot mantra that anyone who disagrees with the supposed "right" choice (as dictated by whatever company is the current demon du jour on slashdot) is clearly a paid shill is just fucking tiresome.

          Might it just be possible, in some infinitesimally small chance, that she's positive about the whole thing because it's actually been something positive?

      • But why would she say iPad and not tablet? There are huge numbers of tablets that compete with the iPad.
        • by IANAAC (692242)

          But why would she say iPad and not tablet? There are huge numbers of tablets that compete with the iPad.

          Because the creator of iPhome, a case designed for the iPad, arranged it.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Teachers love to teach the device not the concept.

          I grew up in an era where you had to own THE TI-81 in school, and we were taught at the detail level of individual button press solely to use that calculator. not any other brand. not even any other model. Simply not allowed. In fact we were tested on exactly which keys on a TI-81 were required to graph a certain segment of a sine wave, for example.

          I know it sounds insane, because it was, but since it was a stupid idea, I'm sure its being vigorously enfo

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Because... they're using iPads... and she's... relating her experiences?

          She's under no obligation to say "of course other tablets are available". She's not writing a slashdot comment that is slightly positive of Apple and thus must include a ton of disclaimers about how she's aware Apple didn't invent the tablet, or the GUI, or the mp3 player, or the ebook reader, or the concept of textbooks on an electronic device.

          And there may be "huge numbers" of tablets, but not many that compete with the iPad. Off the

  • Seriously? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    During my day job, I use a computer for about 8 hours. I then use a computer for my classes for approximately 2 or 3 more hours--and that's on a good day. If I have time before bed, I then use a computer to watch something online as I avoid overpriced cable or satellite charges this way. After all this effort in using a computer, I still have yet to feel like my computer is helping my life out in any way.

    Instead?

    I'm charged with a pupil's responsibility of sorting through the bullshit "companion documentati

  • by Liambp (1565081) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:08AM (#38342202)

    As a parent who's eldest has just started secondary (high) school I say the sooner they move to e-books the better. Its not just about money. I am concerned about the weight of textbooks my 12 year old daughter has to lug around. They have lockers but regularly brings home 10kg or more of books for homework or study. The problem has gotten much worse than when I was a school kid because
    a. Schoolbooks are bigger, glossier and consequently heavier and
    b. Every subject now has a separate workbook which doubles up the number of books.

    So I would welcome the transition to ebooks with open arms but I wonder if the technology is ready yet. On the hardware side battery life is critical. Between school time and homework the kids could be using the tablet for 8 hours a day. With even the best of current tablets that means forgetting to plug in overnight could lose you a whole schoolday. On the software side I am also concerned that the whole e-book industry is still a mess with conflicting standards and restrictive drm: "I am sorry but we won't be covering Lord of the Flies this year because you cannot get it in XYZ format".

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:18AM (#38342320)
    Just wait for the first student to get caught by their parents looking at porn on their school-suplied iPad. Those things will be locked down so tight after that, Apple could only dream of that kind of control. Probably have web browsing disabled entirely, along with all apps except the book reader, and that set to only open approved school-distributed texts.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:29AM (#38342460)

    Creating a reliance on a locked-up platform doesn't make much sense for a school.

    • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AdamJS (2466928) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:50AM (#38342686)

      That seems like exactly what they've been doing for over 30 years.

      That's kind of why textbooks have more or less been re-using the same core knowledge yet costing more and more each year. They haven't been improving the way they teach the material as much as the "buy a new book every year" mantra would lead most to believe.

  • online textbooks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Insightfill (554828) on Monday December 12, 2011 @09:51AM (#38342696) Homepage
    My daughter's 6th grade school got a small number of textbooks early, and they're ramping up supply.

    As a solution, and also a 'value-add', they've got a per-student login system to the book publisher for online versions of the books.

    It's been a disaster.

    Leaving aside that not all kids have unfettered internet access at home - those kids get real books early - it was easily one month into the school year before they got the kids accounts and passwords to read the books. Each kid needs their own login.

    Then: you're relying on each 6th grade kid to write down a case-sensitive login and password in class, then try it at home. Since they might not have homework that day for that class, it may be a week before they get around to checking the login. When it doesn't work, you then need to communicate back to the teacher - through your kid - for a better password. The "lost password" link just says "talk to your teacher."

    We finally were able to successfully log in to two text books mid-November.

    For another class, the teacher provided a 40 character long, case-sensitive URL for the kids to log on and check for homework. WTF?

  • Worked for Apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by koan (80826) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:19AM (#38343720)

    Apple has an entire team dedicated to education, they have the entire Maine school district, Los Angeles, Texas, Hawaii and several other states using their hardware so it is only natural that these same customers will move to iPads.
    The issue here is textbooks on the iPad are cheap now because of marketing and getting people on the platform, once there the prices rise, one other thing would be 3rd graders using iPads, guess how many are going to get broken and need replacement, plus only a smattering of schools purchased accidental damage coverage from Apple, the rest just got "Apple Care" which only covers manufacturing defects not accidental.
    Apple is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the education market, they've been farming it for quite some time and they do it well.

    Get over root access, the majority of users shouldn't have anything greater than limited application access to computers much less root access.

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday December 12, 2011 @01:09PM (#38345240)
    controls the world.

    /Bad Idea.
  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday December 12, 2011 @01:25PM (#38345398)
    The folks who were education majors when I was in college fell into two categories. The much smaller minority were men who were in Ed for one sole reason: they wanted to be coaches (they were all major sportos). The larger group (young women) only wanted to teach kindergarten or early grades for one sole reason: maternal feelings for the cute kiddies; most of them dreaded the thought of teaching in junior or high school.

    These attitudes, combined with immorally low pay for the classroom folk (as opposed to fatcat admins), it is little surprise US primary education is screwed with no chance for improvement. It also doesn't help that the right wing is actively trying to destroy it so as to have ever more easily manipulated ignorant people.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

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