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iPads On American Campuses? Maybe Next Year 177

Velcroman1 writes "Slashdotters have read extensively about the iPad pilot programs at colleges and universities: Australian schools are iPad crazy, we read yesterday, and thanks to the iPad's success, 2011 will be the year of the tablet. But on US college campuses almost half a year after the iPad's launch, it's a whole different story — at least so far this year. reports that high-profile schools like Duke and Stanford are far more cautious about the device than has previously been reported. 'It definitely facilitates studying and recall because you don't get bogged down by all the paper,' noted first-year Stanford med student Ryan Flynn. But it's still a work in progress. 'The iPad isn't the best input device. Some people have gone back to paper and pencil.'"
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iPads On American Campuses? Maybe Next Year

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  • Budget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:31PM (#33678404) Homepage

    College students on a budget would also have a hard time justifying the cost of a laptop or high-end netbook, while having only half the functionality. Ditto for universities looking to purchase them for students.

    With the way most colleges and college students are going nowadays (as far as finances are concerned), this shouldn't be much of a surprise...

  • I don't think so (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:33PM (#33678436)

    Most people my age (I'm going back to school in the spring, at 24), are pretty tech savy. They're also pretty broke. Buying an Ipad means that they can't hook up their laptops to a TV to watch the legions of entertainment that netflix on demand/thepiratebay offers. not to mention the ubiquitous use of USB flash drives that people wouldn't be able to use.

    If there was a tablet that offered the functionality of a laptop, I'd say sure. but college kids, as much as we love the newest gadget, will more often than not chose functionality over form when it boils down to what saves money.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:37PM (#33678464)

    I suppose it's a good thing to see a locked down system like the iPad slowly displace relatively unrestricted computers in college. Convince everyone as they go through school that restrictive, vendor controlled platforms are the way things should be, and you'll make them all the more amenable to heavy DRM.

  • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 ( 1785896 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:37PM (#33678476)
    It's not only tablets. Try to efficiently draw a diagram or reproduce a table on a laptop/tablet.

    If you want to write your thesis, fine, use either one. But if you study science or any other topic where notes are not only pure text, it's bound to be very limited.
  • by scosco62 ( 864264 ) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:39PM (#33678504) Journal
    Glad to see that rational thought is shining through the morass of hype. It's a good tool - but just that, a tool.
  • by DeathFromSomewhere ( 940915 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:46PM (#33678592)
    iPad can already watch videos downloaded from TPB and has a netflix app for streaming video. Some Android tablets being released in the coming months have HDMI outputs on them as well as USB ports. All this while still being cheaper then a laptop and having better battery life. Also most have 3G connectivity so there is no need to be stuck near a hotspot while working. I know I will be buying a Notion Ink Adam when they are released.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:54PM (#33678694)
    Seems both American and Australian universities are launching a few trial programs with the iPad; however, yesterday's story seem to spin it that the iPad was taking over schools whereas today's article has a different slant.
  • Hint: It's the OS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:10PM (#33678834)

    I think a lot of folks miss the point of what makes the iPad attractive for organizations. Bottom line; there's little-to-no need for IT support. It is nearly impossible to corrupt or otherwise screw up the OS. If a user gets lost, there's a single button on the faceplate that takes them back 'home'. The functions of the iPad could be replicated by any number of competitors, but as of right now the most compelling aspect of iOS is in its simplicity. Which is a little ironic because most /. readers are going to consider the limited functionality of the OS to be the iPads biggest drawback.

  • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:18PM (#33678932)

    The point is that the rules suck and that a device that is being pushed as a educational tool by schools and universities is locked down stopping kids from learning how to program. Not enough people being distracted by 'Ooh shiny' know about this.

    Not just that, the app store rules are ambiguously and capriciously enforced. For example, Lua for game scripting has been approved though it violates the rules. There's no way of telling what will and will not be approved.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:19PM (#33678958) Homepage

    > Or, you know, give people a device that does what they need in a more convenient
    > form factor and leave the politics of free software out of it and stop whining
    > about the purchasing choices other people

    We are way beyond "free software" here.

    We have gotten past that to simple property rights.

    Not really owning or controlling your own hardware has some serious practical implications that are more than just "politics".

    The thing makes a great toy but falls down for real work or anything that requires manipulating your own data.

    The iTunes approach to interacting with the device is main reason why.

    Of course those of us with a clue are going to sound the warning bells. People like you want to swindle them.

  • by bl8n8r ( 649187 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:46PM (#33679332)
    As long as one entity is in control of the content being delivered on the platform, you will only get what said entity deems as appropriate. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea has been smoking too much of the Apple kool-aid.
  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:56PM (#33679426)

    it will be a long while before it's a complete laptop replacement for a the majority

    Naysayers keep missing a critical point about the iPad: the iPad is NOT a computer/notebook/netbook replacement. It augments.

    The iPad is designed as a peripheral to a computer. 'tis obvious it lacks the mass storage, big screen, rapid input, etc. of a full-blown computer - it's not supposed to, so stop harping on that. While it may spend most of its time unconnected, it still relies on a host computer.

    Some 20% of what you do with a computer (YMMV) is hardcore computing requiring full keyboard, nuanced/specialized input device, big/multiple screens, mass storage unto terabytes, etc. - stuff which either requires an all-out desktop computer or severe compromises for a notebook. The remaining 80% is lightweight stuff which can be done, and you want to do, anywhere anytime in a superlight package - THAT is what the iPad is for. By breaking out the 80% from the 20%, you no longer have to compromise the 100% into a tiny under-capacity notebook.

    Put your textbooks, email, browsing, and suitable lightweight apps on the iPad so you can take info & access everywhere easily. Use the iPad's microphone (! hey naysayers, ya didn't know it had one, eh?) to record the lectures while you focus thereon and Dragon Dictate (or some such) them into editable/searchable text later. Work on assignments whenever/wherever you find a few minutes to. ...and when you need to do "real work", go home, sync up, and do the work on a real computer. [insert notebook-vs-desktop type parody of naysayer rhetoric here]

    Stop bashing the iPad for not being what it isn't.
    If a product doesn't do everything you want, then - brainstorm! - maybe it's not for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:04PM (#33679524)

    Also there is the potential for the cost of a tablet to be offset by saving from going to digital textbooks.

    haha. That's funny. Last textbook I purchased online for $30 dollars used. I could probably get about $20-25 resell so I'm out about $5-10. New, the book was $130ish and Kindle I noticed it was about $80ish. Unless ebook prices seriously drop, or they let you resell them (not happening), electronic college textbooks will never be priced competitively with traditional textbooks.

  • by mac84 ( 971323 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:04PM (#33679530)
    "The thing makes a great toy but falls down for real work or anything that requires manipulating your own data..." HUH? Do you have a clue about what you are writing? Ever heard of google Apps? how about iWork? Cloud storage? These things are vastly easier to administer than a a laptop, and high school students by and large, don't need to know how to program a computer. Keep the piece of hardware in the user's hands simple and non configurable so they can't screw it up. An appliance instead of a tempermental, albeit flexible computer. Then put all the storage and processing programmability back in the cloud. Kind of a dumb terminal for the 21st century. But with the added capability of being a standalone ebook reader, media consumption device and web browser. And by the way, if your a registered developer (like a school district's net admin) you can do ad hoc software distribution to your own devices of any software you write outside of the Apple lockdown. So lighten up.
  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @04:56PM (#33680234)

    a device that is being pushed as a educational tool by schools and universities is locked down stopping kids from learning how to program.

    It pisses me off to hell that schools are pushing the iPad when it lacks the one thing that made tablets a killer tool for education: a stylus. I did my undergraduate degree in physics and I used tablets throughout for note-taking. I started with a HP TC1100 and moved on to a Latitude XT, but I would not trade a tablet PC for a pen and paper ever.

    Tablet PCs with a digitizer for stylus input have very good precision and ink reproduction for comfortable writing. Applications like Microsoft OneNote have amazing features like on the fly handwriting recognition, note indexing, searching, tagging, aggregating, and sharing. I used to keep wiki style class notes my friends and I would edit on our tablets. In Windows "Ink" is a datatype recognized across applications, so you can copy/paste and edit your notes in different apps.

    The iPad eliminated all of this functionality. I've tried capacitive pens and they suck hard by comparison. The palm rejection algorithms suck, there's no handwriting recognition to speak of, and the applications are as robust as "put ink on canvas." If that's all I wanted to do, I would use paper.

    The sad thing is that tablet PCs never really took off in education, and now that the latest generation of tablets (sans PC) lacks EVERYTHING that made them worth while, they're suddenly being adopted. This tells me one thing: It's not about how well iPads work as teaching tools; it's a marketing ploy. I can see the University Administration sitting around a table saying "The kids love these whiz bang things, lets give them away and maybe they'll come to our school!" They did it with iPods, they're doing it again with iPads.

  • Re:Budget (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @05:29PM (#33680628)
    " why do you pollute your argument with stuff that is no longer an issue?"

    Because it IS STILL AN ISSUE. Apple will fix problems IN THE FUTURE. Which HASN'T HAPPENED YET.
  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:58PM (#33681746)

    The thing makes a great toy but falls down for real work or anything that requires manipulating your own data.

    Jesus man, lighten the fuck up. Not everything with a computer chip in it has to be a full-fledged Linux server.

    You've decided it's a toy, that's great, let's agree it's a toy. Now explain for us why you care what anybody else does with their toys?

    Do you get this pissed off when you see a child using a LeapPad? After all, it's a toy. With a computer chip in it.

    Did the Speak 'n Spell fill you with incoherent rage when you were a child? Another toy, with a computer chip in it!

    I wish you'd make up your mind: either it's a serious threat to "your" freedoms because it's likely to become the dominant model for everybody's computing devices in the future, or it's a toy and it doesn't really fucking matter, because it will always be a toy that less-computer-literate people use for browsing the web and sending a few emails and watching a video or two, while you continue working on your netbooks, laptops, and big servers, secure in the knowledge that you are a hip, happening, with-it guy who knows all about computers.

    And while you're dicking around with autoconf, we'll be watching something from Netflix, or maybe getting a blowjob because we weren't sitting at a fucking desk all evening ignoring our family because we had to get "real work" done, and "manipulate our own data."

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.