Given the excitement of Apple’s recent announcement about $14.99 textbooks, some might be surprised to realize that the iPad and textbooks aren’t for everyone. . .but. . .for those who embrace the iPad as a device for everything, it may be the ONLY device. The Apple iPad is a seductive device. Having worked on multiple Android tablets, I remain unconvinced that any are the match of the iPad. If you agree, then this makes the iPad THE BEST tablet on the market.
iTextbooks on iPads

As society continues to move forward in terms of innovation, technology, and global connectivity, schools are being stymied by relentless cuts to education.  This has resulted in the reduction of staff, larger class sizes, lack of follow through to repair aging buildings, and the inability to keep up with purchasing and replacing educational technology.  It is essential that we rectify all of the above mentioned impacts of budget cuts, but when it comes to technology the perception is that it is the least important area in which to invest precious funds.  This is why the time is now for districts and schools to seriously consider developing a 
Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative. (Read More)

Of course, funding such an expensive future–every child, educator with an iPad and content to fill it–will be nigh impossible. What do you give up so you can afford the nice things in school?

Many will argue that cash-strapped schools shouldn’t necessarily be buying the best. It’s a tough argument to make. After all, the argument that goes unsaid is, “We should buy the best for our children.” This is a hard point to counter. Why spend money on a less expensive notebook that gets the bare minimum done in schools rather than spend and buy the best taxpayer funds can? A poor, socio-economically challenged parents may look at their child carrying an iPad and say, “I couldn’t have bought that for her, but the public school did” with a grateful prayer.


Some of the objections to the Apple approach to textbooks on iPads include:
  • it won’t fly. Closed platform. I expect Amazon to follow closely with textbook sales for Kindle, app can be loaded on any device. (slaleman)
  • Apple has created a closed system. (nashworld)
  • Apple’s system fails to take social networking into account. (nashworld)
  • “It cuts out anyone who doesn’t have an iPad right off the bat” (nfrenchgillies)
  • Steve Job’s said it best in 1996, “What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology.” (lkolb)
  • I’m a little worried that textbooks on an iPad will fit in too well with traditional lecture-based teaching. I hope I’m wrong (lkolb)
If you were hoping for an awesome ending to this story in a blog entry, think again. The truth is, school leaders, parents, students are now consumers for one of the most successful companies…and, it’s apparent that while we would all like to think Apple will do the right thing, the sad part is that “the right thing” will always be in Apple’s favor FIRST, schools second.

If you can live with that–and have the finances–then the iPad and textbooks are set to rock your world. Colleague Mike Gras, whom I’ve featured before, makes this assertion about iPads, etc.:

The vision roughly translated – “It is in hands that will not be controlled by you!”  So you see, the future is clear. The device of last resort and the one most useful will be student owned and student chosen.

I suspect many a college-age child will be carrying an iPad this Fall, 2012. How quickly will high schools adjust?

As for my opinion, I only wish I had the opportunity, the support of district administration, the community, school board, superintendent, the funding, the bandwidth and network infrastructure and a million other logistical details at my disposal.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure