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Australia Education Handhelds Media (Apple) Apple

Australian Schools Go iPad-Crazy 293

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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  • by telomerewhythere ( 1493937 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:34AM (#33660144)

    Whether it be ipad or an Android tablet, I would love to see a interactive tablet for students that shows g or f=ma or the basis of trig in animated form. i.e. an animated triangle that shows what sin cos and tan really are... Oh, and chemical reactions. Those could be awesome for someone interested.

    Also a way to read to young children where they see the word as they hear it. Although parent(s) reading to their kids would be better in my mind...

    Hopefully this doesn't turn into a distracting of students or virtual experiments that don't react like in real life.

  • by Antony-Kyre ( 807195 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:43AM (#33660194)

    The biggest advantage to digital textbooks is yes, interaction. For example, when a math book shortcuts things to save space, yet, could be animated in digital form to show how operations are done on tables and such.

    Although, a physical book is very nice to hold, to flip through, which you can't easily do with digital ones.

    The iPads are what, under 10 inches diagonal? Not nearly the size of certain books, which can make it a bit more tricky to read. Sometimes a big page conveys things differently, especially if you're reading text near something graphical pertaining to said text.

  • Students and Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:44AM (#33660204)

    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]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:49AM (#33660222)

    When the price of [used] textbooks at Uni bookstore for two semesters/quarters equal the price of a tablet computer [which does considerably more than the textbooks], can you really blame them?

    I wonder if the e-books will cost $150 too. In total, my entire engineering degree I spent over $7000 on books as I purchased them all new. Where I was from, it would take a good 6 weeks to source any used book, and we didn't know what "version" of the book we would use until the start of classes. Assignments and such were taken from the book or referenced the book in odd ways if the problem didn't match what the professor wanted, such as "take problem 17 on page 36, but flip the ramp horizontally and increase the force of friction by a factor of 2. Solve for the remaining variables" - this is how we could tell the professors were just lazy and/or getting kickbacks for selecting a particular book.

  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:07AM (#33660314) Homepage

    whilst "interactive" may be an "awesome" teacher, interactING is an even better one.

    the reasons why OLPC are good apply just as well in the first world as they do to the third, but teachers and governments got snotty about the shit colour and features of the XO-1.

    you wouldn't think it, given the price of the ippad, but the cost of hardware is dropping like a stone and is far less than the cost of text books which can be out-of-date immediately.

    showing someone f=ma on a graph is all very well, but who's going to write the graph program?

    i demonstrated kepler's laws and the laws of physics and gravitation to myself by writing an orbital space game on a BBC micro in 1985.

    putting a shit ippad or an anduroyyd tablet in front of kids is about as good as slapping a TV in front of them and saying "there! isn't technology great!"

    you can hear the sigh of relief a million miles away from the teacher as they think "thank christ for that - now i don't actually have to think how to keep this little fuckers occupied".

    so... mmmm, yeah. i'm really impressed with putting proprietary hardware/software in front of kids (that's remote-controlled by apple who might decide to "censor" certain types of "teaching" material) especially the kind of hardware/software that requires reverse-engineering to get the crap off it and regain control of it.

  • Re:Remember, folks: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by juasko ( 1720212 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:09AM (#33660324)

    I'm much freer on Apple DRM iphone4 than I ever was on the open Nokia I had.

    I have come to the conclution freedom has to be governed, otherwice freedom will close it self up. Perfect exaple of this is the mobile market in USA. The American way is the liberal way, however, my mobile is much freer in Finland an many other countries due to the fact that there are governing laws on how competition is allowed to act.

    In my homecountry Finland, GMS and NMT mobiles where never allowed to be sold with a carrier plan. Result was that carriers didn't have huge stocks of phones in their shops. Yes they had some phones, but most people piced up their phone at a regular store or electronics store. Then they opted for their carrier.

    The law was reviwed to boost 3G development, now the carriers are allowed to sell phones with contract and even lock the phone to it. However, no carrier is allowed to build their own antennas in an area where there allready exists an antenna. Eeach carrier can compete on bringing the anntenna first to an area, but are forced to rent the bandwith to competitors. And that is freedom for everyone. The consumer and the carrier.

    A reslut of that is that new carriers have turned up, who have no network them selves but rent from the bigger carriers. And yes they are competitive. No maintenance costs, and can bargine high network trafic prices with the network owners. It's again a win win situation.

    But the market is not free as in free beer ala American market. And I've seen the same with the iOS products, yes they close me to Appstore, but infact that has been a positive thing for me as an consumer. And I argue that it generally has been a positive thing for developers, though there are exeptions.

    But Nokia OVI sucks because the market is fragmented, and that is true for Androids also I experienced last week.

  • by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:24AM (#33660366) Journal
    Whenever stories like this crop up (notebooks in, paper out; turn everything into a game), the future of the next generation looks to be dumber, fatter, lazier, more demanding, less-attentive, and more commodity-like; loath-able yet not by their own fault. Basically: less fit to survive.
  • Re:Waste of Money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:34AM (#33660424)
    Android tablets will be here before you know it (if they aren't already). Android seems a much better choice than Apple - functionality is about the same but you get competing hardware vs. Apple lock-in.

    Expect Android tablets to be much cheaper than Apple by the next school year.

    Android tablets already are here (and have been here for several months). By all accounts, the ones that are available are abysmal. That's not to say that they won't get better. But for the time being, they're not even a serious option.

    On top of that, I'm not aware of a single Android app that's been developed to specifically take advantage of the larger screen/form factor of a tablet. This is one area where Apple has done it right. They've established two general baselines for iOS development -- the smaller iPhone and iPod touch platforms, and the larger iPad platform. This makes it much easier for developers and (more importantly) consumers to know what they're dealing with.

    Again, it's entirely possible that Android tablets will fill in the gap and make consumer app choice easier to deal with, but they've got quite a long ways to go. And getting back to my original AC post up there, one key thing I wrote was "at the moment". So responding with some vague notions about what may or may not happen in the future is inconsequential, because we are talking about now.
  • It's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:36AM (#33660430)

    Nice to know that the Australian government is wealthy enough to afford overpriced hardware and makes its purchasing decisions based on marketing and not, say, system specifications.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:54AM (#33660872)

    Although I'm an AC and this post will likely be buried, here I go anyway:

    The author Theodore Roszak wrote a very interesting book on the subject of "Shiny Object Syndrome" in his book, "The cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking" (yes, that's the full title). It is a very, very interesting read.

    One of the subjects Roszak covers is the trend in the 80's to say that "computers = education." The push to get every kid in front of a computer in the hopes that it will magically make education "better" did not work. By and large, the phenomenon was driven by corporations with something to sell, and not backed up by any research. When research was done, it showed the opposite...that having "technology" handy didn't increase test scores or make education "better."

    So this nonsensical rush to put Apple's latest shiny object into every child's hands is likely doomed to failure. At least in the 80's they were trying to push educational software with it...what educational software is being promoted on the iPad? The damned app store? If they wanted to go the ebook route there are far cheaper alternatives that are not filled with iDistractions like the iPad is.

    Recently, the idiotic premiere of Ontario made the headlines by saying he thinks every kid should have a cell phone in class, again using the "it helps learning" line of BS. Naturally this ignores a) the HUGE cost of wireless in Canada b) the fact that lower income families will be shut out and c) there is ZERO evidence that having a shiny e-toy in every kid's hands will help anything other than the government's bottom line from the taxes they'll pull in.

    I think Roszak needs to update his book for the modern Apple-crazed generation.

  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:40AM (#33661432)

    I'm taking a couple of online class this fall towards a Masters degree. I just bought a Kindle and decided that it would be a cool experiment to buy the Kindle version of the text books. That way I could have them with me all the time without having to lug 150lbs of textbooks. Plus it would let me do some reading during down-times at work (the classes are work sponsored).

    However, after only a week I found that the inability to see a whole page at a time and the inability to flip through the pages to find something quickly within the chapters that are part of the reading assignment for the week makes it much harder to learn. I've taught myself how to scan and read pages and paragraphs. I've also taught myself how to scan through pages to find relevent material. You just can't do that with an e-reader. As a result, I have ordered the physical text books. I'll still use the digital editions when I go on vacation later this fall, but my primary reading material will be in book form.

    That being said, it's quite possible that someone starting out with an e-reader in school and continuing on through College would almost do as well as I do with text books. I still think that e-readers (Kindle or iPad) have a long way to go. To finally be usefull, you need to be able to copy and paste, search within a chapter range, etc.


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