Apple's iPad aims to revolutionise education

Apple and the iPad has the potential to shake up the way teachers do their jobs.

The iPad promises to make your work life a little easier. Traveling salespeople, airline pilots and even construction workers don't have to carry around heavy binders anymore. Executives can check real-time business analytics statistics without having to run back to their desktop computers.

But education is different.

Apple and the iPad has the potential to shake up the way teachers do their jobs. Last month, Apple took dead aim at high schools, unveiling iBooks 2 for the iPad (a storefront for multimedia high school textbooks) and iBooks Author (a Mac app for creating multimedia textbooks).

The iPad, iBooks 2 and iBooks Author don't just replace a five-year-old thick history book, they offer up a wholly new way of teaching. Imagine videos, interactive pictures, real-time updates, virtual tours and dissections, teleconferencing, animation, and search-based exploration.

Most companies at other industries simply hand out iPads to mobile workers or connect iPads to their networks in order to make workflow more efficient-not to revolutionize it. CRM, BI, Office-type and other existing business apps were turned into iPad-lite apps.

In fact, the dirty little secret of the iPad is just how little we use technology at work. That is, we mainly check email, surf the Web and use only a few job-related standard apps.

Only two years ago, the iPad debuted among a chorus of critics denouncing the iPad as a toy. Today, Apple claims nearly all Fortune 500 companies are actively using the iPad. Yet jobs haven't changed much due to the iPad.

Slideshow: 15 Ways iPad Goes to Work

High school teachers hardly use any technology in the classroom. They've depended on books and a chalkboard since 1801, when the chalkboard was introduced into the U.S. education system. Linear, chapter-based textbooks are an anachronism when it comes to knowledge transfer, says Kyle Wiens of iFixit, a Web site that teaches people how to repair consumer electronics products.

"The way we think isn't linear-it's associative," wrote Wiens, in a VentureBeat column about iPads in education. "We jump from concept to concept, our brains naturally latching onto the next most interesting idea. The path to knowledge is best approached organically, not prescriptively."

If Wiens is right, high school teachers will have to change their ways. There are already 1.5 million iPads in use at education institutions, Apple claims. Right now, iBooks take the form of linear textbooks with some multimedia features thrown in. But that can change quickly given the iPad's potential.

Q&A: iPad 3: Predictions and Challenges

Will teachers embrace a new way of teaching?

It won't be easy, says TJ Houston, director of IT at Huron City Schools in Ohio. With iPads, students could "possibly be smarter" than teachers, he says. "The teacher also needs to take advantage of the iPad. I'd hate for a teacher to use the iPad as just a normal textbook."

Already, there's been pushback from some teachers. In the summer of 2010, teachers at Brother Rice High School, a private all-boys Catholic school in Bloomfield Hills, MI, gave the iPad a failing grade. Without real-time remote monitoring capabilities, they argued, students would be up to no good on their iPads.

Nevertheless, the iPad is just now heading toward school-and carrying revolutionary iBooks ideas.

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com

Read more about education in CIO's Education Drilldown.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Kaneshige

CIO (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?