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Australian Schools Go iPad-Crazy

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the all-nu-perfect-forever dept.

Australia 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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Remember, folks: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660096)

The iPad is iBad for your freedoms. [fsf.org]

Re:Remember, folks: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660228)

My girlfriend was issued an iPad at work, and imminently balked at the restrictiveness of the device. She's a basic user, and wouldn't know what source code even was, but she was definitely trying to articulate that this device was stealing her freedomz.

In summary, she called the iPad "just a gadget".

Re:Remember, folks: (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33660292)

Meanwhile school administrators and your wife's employer are delighted at the restrictiveness of the device.

Re:Remember, folks: (0, Offtopic)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 years ago | (#33660490)

Is the school supposed to create men or sheep? We know the answer, I'm afraid.

Re:Remember, folks: (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33660660)

After all, Australia needs more sheep, doesn't it?

Re:Remember, folks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660720)

I don't know the answer, but I wish I could take *that* biology class...

Re:Remember, folks: (3, Interesting)

juasko (1720212) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Remember, folks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660368)

The American way is the liberal way

Realistically, that hasn't been true for a decade, maybe more, and repeating the mantra isn't going to make it so.
With that out of the way...

I have the expectation that my phone, and indeed any piece of hardware doesn't work against me. With general purpose computers, that is true, but with phones, it seems that freedom is impossible for now. (Or I could build a tux phone)
That is why I have a phone that although modern, looks like it was designed for developing markets. I have prepaid SIMs in all countries I travel, none registered to me.

The phone SHOULD be a free platform too, because I say so. But it isn't right now, so I minimise my exposure to the non-free platform.

Re:Remember, folks: (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 4 years ago | (#33660396)

I've read this more than once and I still can not understand your point.

From what I can surmise is that you are comparing "I put up the infrastructure and you people may rent it" to "I control what products and services you can use" and concluding that since one worked the other does too.

Monopolies are always bad for the consumer - the problem is this:

"but are forced to rent the bandwith to competitors"

That is the breaking point of your argument. They are forced NOT to have a monopoly in the area. This is the total OPPOSITE of the Appstore - you have a monopoly and they don't need to rent it to anyone, they can choose to disallow stuff at a whim, they can add their own rules (No VMs!).

Now I don't understand what you mean by 'market is fragmented'. I have a symbian myself. I use the Nokia OVI store. I also downloaded some applications from sourceforge, and an e-reader from another website. That's called freedom, and that helps the consumers.

Re:Remember, folks: (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33660472)

The big difference between the US and other countries is the strict enforcement of GSM as a standard. Competition is limited in the USA because carriers have developed their own versions of standards, which limit portability.

Re:Remember, folks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660500)

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.

That means that your system is more capitalistic/free.

What America has is CORPORATIST rather than capitalist.

Re:Remember, folks: (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33660478)

But it's the only choice.

All the android pads are utter and complete crap.

Honestly, give me a Android pad that has plain old android on it not your locked down shit, or your stupid ereader on it. PLAIN ANDROID, LATEST RELEASE...

These devices makers are not interested in making something that sells. all that make is crash prone underpowered crap like the Archos products.

Re:Remember, folks: (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#33660700)

Except this doesn't seem to be about "tablets" at all but rather about book readers.

As a book reader, the iPad is rediculously overpriced.

At the very least, these schools should be evaluating other book readers.

It's like the Lemming Second Wave.

and what did they pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660738)

ebay and places ow see them as cheap as 30$

No. (5, Funny)

Smekarn (1623831) | about 4 years ago | (#33660116)

"It will be interesting to see what happens when the inevitable wave of Android tablets hits over the next six months."

No.. Not really.

Re:No. (-1, Troll)

Joebert (946227) | about 4 years ago | (#33660340)

I'd hate to be going to the school that gets open source Android tablets instead of an iPad. Can you imagine how much you would get picked on. Android is like the K-Mart of tablets.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660540)

"It will be interesting to see what happens when the inevitable wave of Android tablets hits over the next six months."

No.. Not really.

What's your problem? We don't need choices, monopoly is good?

Waste of Money (5, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 4 years ago | (#33660120)

It's just some adults having fun and burning money in the process. If it's about text books, why not give them Kindles which cost a lot less? Oh, because they're not as sexy and cool as an iPad.

Re:Waste of Money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660264)

It's just some adults having fun and burning money in the process. If it's about text books, why not give them Kindles which cost a lot less? Oh, because they're not as sexy and cool as an iPad.

Because Kindles (and any e-ink based device) royally suck for non-linear texts (i.e., reference books, textbooks, etc). And this comes from someone who absolutely loves his Kindle for reading novels. I would never consider using it for something where I need to constantly flip back and forth between pages, or look things up in charts and tables.

Use the best tool for the job, and at the moment, the iPad is a better tool for this type of usage scenario.

Re:Waste of Money (1, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33660318)

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.

Re:Waste of Money (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Waste of Money (1)

ChrisStrickler (1157941) | about 4 years ago | (#33660434)

Exactly. I picked up a 32gb iPad last weekend for this reason alone.

I'd tried out the newest Kindle, Nook, Sony E-Reader, Pandigital Novel, Velocity Micro Cruz Reader over about a month. I've returned each of them (other than the VMCR, that one I borrowed for a day from someone who bought it off of NewEgg). I've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for the Notion Adam to come out (or at least make some progress that is noteworthy) but I got fed up with them - if they were (or are) serious about their business, they'd fix their website.

Kindle, Sony and Nook had refresh rates that were far below what I felt I needed to use my textbooks adequately - each page flip was like hitting a wall. The Pandigital was a piece of crap with a crappy UI that was easily the slowest implementation of Android I've ever seen. When you removed their stock UI and put a better one on it, it was massively improved but still just slow and difficult to use. The VMCR felt the same way, just... sort of slapped together with left over bits of phones that were old when they were created.

So I bought an iPad. I felt dirty; I've been entirely Apple free since I got out of elementary school in the late 80s and I despise most of their products - for example; it is my opinion that the iPhone is a toy (give me a BB any day), the hardware is ridiculously over priced (or their software is 'valued' outside of sanity's grasp). With the iPad though... I'd played with my brother in law's iPad on a flight for a few hours and thought it was neat, but not a great gadget. I still feel this way but its got one massive element above the others mentioned that is damned impressive for school.

If you scan the textbook in as nice HQ jpeg's and put them into a .CBR format - it's like working with the actual textbook, and in addition to the iPad/iTouch it works on any computer I've come across (with the free readers available). Fast refresh rates; great color on the images. No, it's not completely word-indexed in this format - you can't just search for a specific term and have the program find it for you - but what you can do is use the textbook like its meant to be used. I took 100+lbs of textbooks (medical textbooks for one semester) and scanned them after cutting off the bindings. Total file size is something like 4gb for all of them in color and decent resolution. If you buy used textbooks, it's even cheaper. I literally go to most classes with just my iPad and a 25 cent college-ruled notebook.

The $5-600 for the iPad is a much better expense (again, in my opinion) than the cost of pretty much any medical treatment for a destroyed back.

Re:Waste of Money (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 4 years ago | (#33660656)

You could have paid half the price for a NetWalker Z1 or T1, which runs Ubuntu and has a much clearer and easier to read screen.

Re:Waste of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660750)

You could have paid half the price for a NetWalker Z1 or T1, which runs Ubuntu and has a much clearer and easier to read screen.

So by "clearer and easier to read", you mean half the physical size coupled with a lower resolution than the iPad's, too, right?

Re:Waste of Money (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 4 years ago | (#33660304)

Someone has too much money in their hands. Here in Europe they're bitching the whole time about deficit and cutting expenses but, at least in Portugal, they're giving crappy netbooks to studends. Guess what. The company that makes these belongs to a good chap of our Prime Minister. For those, there is no deficit or expense cuts.

Re:Waste of Money (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33660400)

The company that actually makes them is Intel, because the Magalhães are just a rebranding of the second edition of the Classmate PC [wikipedia.org] .
The Portuguese company just puts it in a rebranded box and receives major profits.

Re:Waste of Money (4, Informative)

kaiidth (104315) | about 4 years ago | (#33660378)

This may be related to Australia's recent funding opportunities.

The Australian government's reaction to the current world economic situation has been to throw a series of large bucketloads of money in the direction of research, development and infrastructural work. [lifescientist.com.au] Australia decided it could spend and 'innovate' its way through the next few years. There are some restrictions on the use of this plentiful funding, notably that it all has to go to Australian institutions. As is usually the case with this sort of funding it is also strictly short-term.

I would imagine that a lot of people have found themselves with a few k left in a budget and a need to zero the budget in the very near future, have asked themselves, "now what can we do that sounds sexy and means we get to play with cute shiny hardware?" and they've all come up with the same (incredibly unimaginative, sorry guys) solution.

The e-book research area is currently choked with iiiiiiPPPPaaaaaaddd zombies. It would be depressing if it weren't - no, wait, what am I saying? It's depressing.

Re:Waste of Money (2, Informative)

anarche (1525323) | about 4 years ago | (#33660630)

Sort of.

Capt. Kevin's "Economic Stimulus Package" - which was very successful at insuring us against the GFC - was more aimed at getting money spending than where it was spent.

My old primary school (that my parent still live down the road from) now have two lovely, big, identical assembly areas - coz the Gubberment didn't bother to ask if they needed a second one, but just built it.

And while the funding "had to go to Australian institutions" - where else could it go? But as soon as it gets to Hardly Normal, that new iPad sends the money straight to the US...

Re:Waste of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660666)

It did very little to steer us through the GFC, for the most part Australia was only slightly affected by the GFC and Austrlaia's big saviour was the mining industry not the abundant amount of money wasted by the government so people could buy imports further hurting us.

Re:Waste of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660380)

In Australia, with a population of 25 Million, there are 40 iPad developers - yes 4 -zero.
Getting any local content developed - or taught will be impossible - headhunters report they are chasing the same people.

Next existing laptops do ebooks and wifi, so do the 10 inch net-books - at 1/2 the price, so why shift to a slower incompatible processor - ARM., given all the money they poured into X86.

Nope, it is a waste of money, justified by sexed up reports, wanting more full fee paying enrollments based on a tangible gimmick.

Re:Waste of Money (1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33660484)

Have you ever used a kindle? they utterly suck for technical or non linear books. the Sony ereaders as well are crap for such uses.

Re:Waste of Money (1, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 4 years ago | (#33660492)

If it's about text books

If it's about textbook, follow the Japanese model. They give students short paperback texts, 80-120 pages, that lasts 6 to 8 week in their subject instead of a heavy, intimidating tome that contains way too much information for the scope of the class. While we're at it, a state or nation can probably hire someone to write these books, someone to illustrate, and someone to edit it. Get feedback from teachers, and make necessary changes the next time around. (Instead of aesthetic, which textbook publishers do.) It will be all in public domain. States and nation will be able to copy off each other freely.

Even if the don't do it this way, short paperbacks are much cheaper. Look at the Schaum Outlines:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=schaum+outline+series&x=0&y=0&sprefix=schaum+ou [amazon.com]

They usually contain as much info as a textbook, lack a little handholding explanation sometimes but cost only $12-13 on average. A six to eight week text should be much less. I wish wikibook would take off, but I think they need to start giving a financial incentive for it really to take off.

Kindles and iPads are both gadgets. Gadgets are okay but they not the solution here. Plus, with kids and bullies, they break. I would prefer the iPad, I owned a kindle and I hated it -- all it does is read novel at bad contrast. At least with an iPad, I could see someone developing a Rosetta Stone like software in the future, but for all topics, which imo, is the way to go. Plus the school could send out schedules and grades on it. But I think that's years away so it's all moot.

Re:Waste of Money (1)

juasko (1720212) | about 4 years ago | (#33660546)

The kindle is better book "reader" yes, but the iPad is a better whatever "reader".

Why I would opt for the ipad, over kindle.

Buy 2 devices cause kindle = 1 trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660732)

Can you write your whole years curriculum into an app that emails the homework to a student account at the end of every period cause you pushed a button? Sure a one trick pony might be better JUST for textbooks, but want to do another thing ? (anything?) can't- go buy another device. Oops wasted money on one trick kindles.

You microsft-android shills (all the same) are SOOOOOOdesperate to make apple look bad- you don't realze you're the ugly girl everyone passed on all night- now the bar is closing, and you're still alone. Even the ugly guys won't talk to you.

Price of textbooks... (2, Informative)

Allnighte (1794642) | about 4 years ago | (#33660128)

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?

Re:Price of textbooks... (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 4 years ago | (#33660136)

But you've still got to buy the books as ebooks anyway.

Re:Price of textbooks... (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 4 years ago | (#33660176)

Or you copy them... "It not the school official policy, but only idiots buy the book anyway." will be heard alot around class.

Re:Price of textbooks... (1)

allo (1728082) | about 4 years ago | (#33660722)

in europe (especially in germany) teachers are allowed to copy (parts of) schoolbooks for their pupils

Re:Price of textbooks... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33660498)

Actually you only have to buy one copy of each.... crack the DRM.... now all the students have the books.

Or stop being idiot school administrators and use some of the great open education texts already available in ebook format.

http://www.ck12.org/flexr/ [ck12.org]

Re:Price of textbooks... (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33660168)

So ... will the iBooks be free? Will they be available second hand?

I'm pretty sure the book publishers will see this as a way to make a money-grab.

Re:Price of textbooks... (4, Informative)

lachlan76 (770870) | about 4 years ago | (#33660364)

In the case of Adelaide the release stated that they were to produce a set of open-source textbooks.

Re:Price of textbooks... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33660382)

That'll take five years and a lot of money to do. What happens in the meantime?

Re:Price of textbooks... (1)

Jarnin (925269) | about 4 years ago | (#33660468)

How long until Apple has a deal with all the major text book publishers to sell their e-books on iTunes?

Re:Price of textbooks... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#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.

iPad Lost Generation (1)

martijnd (148684) | about 4 years ago | (#33660130)

Graduates from 2010-11 will be the year for employers to avoid.

All click, and no content. Spend the year playing games in the back of the class.

Re:iPad Lost Generation (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | about 4 years ago | (#33660182)

When I was going to school, some people with laptops were playing games in class, too. Does this mean employers should avoid graduates from the classes of 2002-2008 as well?

Re:iPad Lost Generation (4, Funny)

Allnighte (1794642) | about 4 years ago | (#33660200)

When I was going to school, some people with laptops were playing games in class, too. Does this mean employers should avoid graduates from the classes of 2002-2008 as well?

You've summed up the reason for our high unemployement rate with two sentences. Congratulations!

Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (2, Interesting)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (2, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | about 4 years ago | (#33660188)

Yeah, I remember that from the 80s as well, back when it was called video. It didn't work particularly well then, either, but it was popular among students as they didn't need to concentrate.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (-1, Flamebait)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | about 4 years ago | (#33660284)

You had interactive video in your school? How did that work. What sort of inputs were you able to make? That is awesome!!!

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 4 years ago | (#33660420)

With a keyboard, duh.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about 4 years ago | (#33660428)

The "interactivity" of those things you mentioned were only a bunch of user-triggered animations, possibly with added calculator functionality. Basically a more colourful way of not thinking.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (2, Funny)

zwarte piet (1023413) | about 4 years ago | (#33660208)

F=M*A can be used by terrorists to create ballistic weapons. Chemistry can be used by terrorist to create bombs. Terrorist info is banned from i-pads.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (3, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | about 4 years ago | (#33660210)

I'm sure an interactive tablet might be helpful, but when I was young and CD-ROMs were the new rage, my parents bought me a similar type of interactive science software with all sorts of interactive animations and stuff. One or two animations is fine, but you'll be surprised how much time watching an animation or interactive applet will take up while learning. You're dependent on the content creator's pace to learn when you use animations and interactive applets, whereas if you just read the thing, you're dependent on your own.

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (3, Insightful)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | about 4 years ago | (#33660276)

I was thinking more to use multitouch as a way to let student have a degree of input. If it was responsive (quick) and was robust enough for more than just a few pre-programmed 'movies' then it might help students who wanted to explore knowledge. Imagine three fingers used to describe the vertices of a triangle. And then moving one point and watching the angles and sin cos and tan change. (That is what I was thinking)

Or dragging an H2O molecule into a Fe surface and watch the reaction.

I can dream right? The pessimist in me says it will probably be a way for a lazy/distracted/addicted to Internet teacher to not have to work. And the laggards will play and the driven students will program games or such.

interacting is a much better teacher (4, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about 4 years ago | (#33660314)

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:interacting is a much better teacher (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | about 4 years ago | (#33660356)

See above [slashdot.org]

And yes, proprietary is limiting.

Really, students will make what they want to of school, right?

I longed to learn more about teh science and maths and didn't like that my teachers (by 10th grade) didn't know what they were teaching. (Not really their fault, one was a biology major just beginning to teach physics)

Re:Interactive Can Be an Awesome Teacher. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33660506)

You just want a speak and trig...

Robotic voice:" What is the cosine of the hypotenuse?..... that is incorrect!"

Apple ate my homework (0)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 4 years ago | (#33660166)

What to do when the battery dies?
What to do when you forgot your iPad? You can't borrow the one from a friend because (s)he needs it to read an other book. (Also, you might be violating the license when you do that).

Re:Apple ate my homework (4, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | about 4 years ago | (#33660360)

What to do when the battery dies?

Well, I'm not a Doctor, but I assume you'd just plug it in. Considering the ubiquity of laptops in college these days a lot of classrooms have power outlets built into the desks themselves, and I've never heard a student complain they couldn't do their work because their laptop didn't have power. That and how often do you really use a textbook in class anyways? Usually class is lecture time and the textbook is used back at the dorm at night with reading/problems assigned.

Re:Apple ate my homework (0)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 4 years ago | (#33660402)

"Dies" as in "dead", not as in "without charge". Laptops usual work when connected to an power outlet even though the battery no longer works. But does an iPad? An laptop battery can usually be replaced easily without the need to send it away for a couple of weeks.

Re:Apple ate my homework (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 4 years ago | (#33660486)

What to do when the battery dies?

You obviously haven't used an iPad. The odds of a student using the entire charge of one without having a convenient opportunity to recharge it are somewhere between none and fat chance in hell. Seriously, the battery life on the iPad, even under heavy use, is considerable and more than adequate for a student's needs. They will be back home and able to charge the device before it runs out of power.

What to do when you forgot your iPad?

Probably the same thing that people do when they forget their notebooks. And, let's be serious - it's far _LESS_ likely that a student will forget an iPad, which is light and cool and fun compared to them forgetting a collection of notebooks which are heavy and boring and dull.

Any other hypotheticals you'd care to throw out there?

Re:Apple ate my homework (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660556)

Steve, I didn't know you were on Slashdot. I'm a Real Fan - can I have a turtleneck along with my iPad?

Re:Apple ate my homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660628)

And if you drop it on your toe, huh? What do you do THEN?!

Public money is public! (2, Insightful)

jplopez (1067608) | about 4 years ago | (#33660184)

"Looks like it's not just Apple fanboys that are going wild for the iPad: in Australia, virtually every state education department"

Well, maybe those departments are indeed filled with Apple fanboys, specially when the money doesn't come from their pockets.

Re:Public money is public! (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 4 years ago | (#33660220)

I'll bet quite a lot of these "pilots" are 2 iPads, which after the pilot is a failure disappear into someone's home...

Re:Public money is public! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33660226)

"Looks like it's not just Apple fanboys that are going wild for the iPad: in Australia, virtually every state education department"

Well, maybe those departments are indeed filled with Apple fanboys, specially when the money doesn't come from their pockets.

Apple were quite popular with the secondary school system here in Victoria, Australia when I was a student. We had Apple ][s and a bunch of Apple ][ clones. They were great, hackable machines. Not sure I can say the same of the iPad though.

Define "abolishing" (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 4 years ago | (#33660192)

The summary says "One university in Adelaide has even abolished textbooks for first year science students and is allocating free iPads to first year students instead." yet the article says "The University of Adelaide jumped into the handheld computer revolution headfirst last week when it was announced last week that students who enroll in science degrees will receive a free iPads." Getting free iPads is completely different than abolishing textbooks. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Students and Apple (3, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 4 years ago | (#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]

Re:Students and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660488)

Leave gawker's tabloid stories on gawker, plz.

Re:Students and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660624)

Did you bother reading what she and Jobs said ?
Despite not being a fan of Apple in any way, I tend to dislike them, I find that I agree with how Jobs responded.

The journalism student seems like another fine example of tiresome bitchiness.

Re:Students and Apple (3, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | about 4 years ago | (#33660690)

If the email is actually true, I'm with Jobs. The sense of entitlement in her email just pisses me off:

"I was incredibly surprised to find Apple's Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist."

Why should they be held hostage over her grade? It's also a ridiculous argument. The professor is going to downgrade her because Apple didn't respond to her question?

Re:Students and Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660760)

That article should read Gawker in pissing match with Apple.

How does this compare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660212)

...to the numbers of other types of computers already purchased by schools and universities in Australia?

The article already points out that Western Australia's "institutions receive technology funding to maintain the ratio base of 1:5 for secondary schools and 1:10 for primary schools." So is this an iPad article, or just a "computer" article with a gratuitous "iPad" header slapped on?

(A more interesting question is what have been the tech funding ratios across the years. I remember the high school I'd just left got a lab full of PETs, which I guess was progressive, but I thought it was typically daft of them because I already had a VIC-20.)

eBook readers good, iPad bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660230)

Agree with one of the previous posts...
The main scenario an iPad would be useful for is as an eBook reader.
They really aren't much chop to use interactively for anything beyond recreational activities.
40 to 60 words per minute on an iPad taking notes during a lecture? No way in hell.
One of the main things I've noticed is that "apps" developed for apple products are so basic and lacking in any real features they're more of a novelty than a serious education / work / anything tool.
As an eBook reader, the iPad is simply too expensive.
As other posters have stated, one of the many other tablets that are a fraction of the price using Android OS seem like a much better choice.
Ideally students would carry an iPad and a lightweight laptop as their e-learning tools.
iPad / iPhone / iWhatever Battery bs is ridiculous also...
I try not to vendor bash, but Apple isn't helping the industry move forward at all...
They're just making massive profits off people who don't do their homework.

Re:eBook readers good, iPad bad. (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | about 4 years ago | (#33660446)

One of the main things I've noticed is that "apps" developed for apple products are so basic and lacking in any real features they're more of a novelty than a serious education / work / anything tool.

On average, yes, but that's because there are so many basic applications in Apple's store. I'd like to know how exhaustive your study of the respective app stores was.

As other posters have stated, one of the many other tablets that are a fraction of the price using Android OS seem like a much better choice.

As far as I was aware, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first serious Android-based contender to the iPad, and it's not due out until next month. And it won't come with an OS designed for a tablet form factor. I'd categorise it as a very risky investment right now. In contrast, the iPad market has had a little more time to mature.

bribing the students (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660254)

its just enticements for enrollments

WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

definate (876684) | about 4 years ago | (#33660302)

Seriously, I go to Adelaide Uni, and I have friends at UniSA and Flinders, and I haven't heard of anyone trailing it or banning physical textbooks. This would be fucking awesome, and I've been championing this for years. If I could get all of my textbooks on some eReader (iPad or elsewise), especially if it was an open standard, I could actually carry my books with me everywhere, and it would be a lot easier to study with. As it stands, textbooks are heavy, cumbersome, bad to navigate/search, and extremely expensive. I'd be willing to spend a lot of money on a fixed cost (eReader) to reduce my variable costs (textbooks). As it stands I spend 1,200 AUD a year on textbooks, and some of my textbooks are fucking written by the lecturers... who I'm already paying about 1,000 AUD (though admittedly on a government loan).

Anyhow, this would be great tech, and especially with my more abstract math, some visualizations and interactivity could help. The graphs are a good start, but sometimes you need to visualize the graphs changing, and that can be tricky.

I'm sure slow old Adelaide will take 20-30 years to implement anything like this, which means I'll totally miss out on any of this sort of stuff. Fie for shame.

It would also give me a rationalization to buy an eReader.

Re:WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

definate (876684) | about 4 years ago | (#33660322)

Well now I feel silly. Apparently it's Adelaide Uni, but only the science department. That really fucks me off, since I could really do with this.

Re:WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33660332)

But what if the e-books still cost you 1200 AUD per year, and they are locked to your device, while your device is locked to you and you can't sell it? Sounds great for the publishers.

Re:WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

definate (876684) | about 4 years ago | (#33660346)

I'm pretty sure I'd find a way to pirate still. Also, it says a free iPad. So the net difference would be that I gain portability, searchability, and similar.

Re:WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#33660394)

Free?

No, it's very much paid for, either by your tuition, or by your taxes (not sure how things work there)

Re:WHAT UNIVERSITY?!?!?!?! (1)

definate (876684) | about 4 years ago | (#33660412)

That's fine. It's not direct, and would be on my government loan then. I wish the textbooks were on my government loan too. But there are problems with that, but I'd prefer not to have to struggle with the costs now, when I've little to no income.

kombucha reduces 'craziness' worldwide (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660326)

That would be home made Kombucha. A strange brew that's also good for you.

(sent from my i(bmlaptop)phone)

What do you do when you need books side by side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660338)

This is all nice and everything but what do you do when you need to have two books opened side by side? You buy a second iPad? And a third?

competing with the roaches (2, Interesting)

distantbody (852269) | about 4 years ago | (#33660366)

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.

Shiny Object Syndrome (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660406)

I work at multiple schools in Australia as the IT Guy and there are two major differences.

One of my schools has purchased one and is genuinely looking to use it for a worthy purpose but then our statewide firewall has a proxy so anything besides Safari isn't compatible with it.

My other school suffers from shiny object syndrome/Apple fanboy syndrome and we seem to be buying them with every cent we have available. It also doesn't help that the Principal is saying that flash is coming to the iPad, and that we will be using all our online flash educational websites using the iPad in the future and that we will no longer have to buy regular computers. I do try to educate them but its like telling them there is no santa and they are in denial. I also frequently walk in on classes full of students playing racing and shooting games when they are meant to be learning on them.

The only time I've seen iPads do something decent is at Special Schools where the special apps and the touch pad work very well. Besides that I think people are generally wasting their money.

I think there is a proper space in schools for something more open like an Android tablet, the iPad is just annoying and is just a constant "Can we do X task that we do on our PC's on the iPad because its cool and hip"

Re:Shiny Object Syndrome (1)

Wingsy (761354) | about 4 years ago | (#33660578)

Haven't you guys worn out the "iPad is cool and hip but doesn't do anything useful" argument by now? It would seem that since so many businesses and schools are seriously considering incorporating the iPad, that ALL of them can't be suffering from the shiny object syndrome. There must be a significant percentage of those people who have looked at it and the alternatives in a logical and sound manner and have concluded that the iPad just might be the way to go. Just because it doesn't jive with the way you would go doesn't mean it isn't the right choice... unless everyone is wrong and you're the only one who sees things in their true light.

Re:Shiny Object Syndrome (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 4 years ago | (#33660740)

I don't agree with you at all.

The iPad was supposed to be the death of netbooks. And yet a netbook can do everything an Ipad can do - and far more.

Lets face it, the only reason anyone buys it because it looks cool. I admit that the idea of touching stuff to get it to work appeals to be - but there is absolutely no other way that an iPad (or any tablet) is better than a netbook

Re:Shiny Object Syndrome (1)

laptop006 (37721) | about 4 years ago | (#33660622)

I work for one of the companies that does the *large* proxies for education.

Until iOS 4 even the Apple apps don't use proxies correctly, with iOS 4 apps *can*, but pretty much *don't* use them.

The big problem with this is people buying tech and just expecting it to work. Sure this *should* be the case, but it's not, and people seem to have grasped that about PC OS', why not other devices that try to use the Internet.

Heres a better idea (1)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | about 4 years ago | (#33660418)

Just give the students Netbooks. They cost less, are more open, and you can type faster on them.

Re:Heres a better idea (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 4 years ago | (#33660494)

But they won't automatically make you cool as soon as you pick them up.

Anyone who wears a turtleneck defentally knows what cool is.

Re:Heres a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660616)

Yeah seriously. Though I've never used one, from what I understand the iPad is totally unsuited to any serious productive work, of which there ought to be plenty in a university environment. I sure hope the engineering and CS departments there (if they have them) aren't doing this. I can program all day long in any language I please on my netbook but not possible on an iPad.

It's (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

It's the software (1)

BoxedFlame (231097) | about 4 years ago | (#33660580)

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.

I had a friend who derided my decision to buy an iPhone because it was, according to him, way overpriced for the specs. He bought some phone that had better specs than the iPhone but then was forced to run windows mobile on it which he hated. Oh he could install android on it, but then the phone was unable to _make phonecalls_.

Hardware specs are worth absolutely nothing without good software.

Re:It's the software (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 4 years ago | (#33660646)

We're talking about the iPad here. The equivalent of the iPad is a netbook.

Are you suggesting that the iPad has better software support than a netbook?

Issues with support (1)

synack77 (1906574) | about 4 years ago | (#33660560)

As someone who supports devices like these in AU Schools, they're a PIA. Unless content is coming out as apps with discrete logins, the lack of the ability to log a user onto the unit (and accordingly logoff) makes them a pain when they're being used as a shared device (eg a trolley full of ipad's wheeled into a classroom for a lesson). It really seems to be the possibility of what this might achieve as opposed to anything it's actually doing today that's driving these purchases. Give it a year or so when the content is available and the device is properly integrated into the curriculum then I might have a different opinion, until then, they're still toys. Great for home, not good for school.

Re:Issues with support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660640)

Is this the PIA you're speaking of?

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=PITA [urbandictionary.com]

This is definitely happening in the U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660716)

As someone who works in education technology, I guarantee that this is happening widespread across the U.S. as well. Nearly everyone I talk to is all excited about using their work budget to buy an iPad or 5, for whatever ridiculous "pilot" projects they can dream up.

We were just getting past the "iPods are neato" phase, too. It's a shame that we had to buy 100 of them for each school before someone realized that audio recordings aren't as much a good way to absorb information as they are a gimmick that fails as soon as the novelty wears off.

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