Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Melbourne College May Give iPad To Every Student

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-deal dept.

Australia 350

daria42 writes "It looks like Apple's hyped iPad tablet may find a functional use beyond the early technology adopter set. In Australia, a Melbourne University college recently completed a trial where a limited number of students were given an iPad to aid in their studies. The outcome? The college has now recommended every student be given one of the Apple devices, following in the footsteps of the University of Adelaide, which is handing out iPads to every first year science student. Sure beats lugging around the old textbooks!"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What no first post? (-1, Offtopic)

tabrnaker (741668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402420)

where's the first post?

"Giving"? (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402428)

Don't you mean "Adding to tuition costs"?

Re:"Giving"? (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402456)

Yes, exactly this. "Giving" means "force to buy", even if they don't need. FTFA, 80% of students recommended this, meaning 20% of those who were given the thing to use don't want it.

Re:"Giving"? (5, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402706)

80% attachment is extremely high for services at a college, at least where I'm from. Students here pay for a gym whether or not they use it (about 35% do), they pay for the student center (don't have numbers on this, but I'd guess that most students don't set foot in it more than once or twice a semester). They pay for organizations that they never join and sometimes never gain any benefit from whatsoever. They pay for upkeep on buildings they never enter. They pay for "free printing" that they probably never use to the fullest (and that they'd likely have gotten cheaper going to Kinko's.) They pay for phone service at outrageously marked up prices, for lab computers they never use because they all have laptops, and for parking lots when fully 25% live on campus and another 15% commute by bicycle or walking.

People pay a lot for things that they didn't want. The same can be said for taxes in any country with any social services to speak of. 80% is great, and frankly a no-brainer except that you have to wonder how many of that 80% just thought it was cool to get an iPad.

Re:"Giving"? (0)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402768)

No mod points today, alas. This is a truly rare insightful post.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402854)

I appreciate the compliment. The post is also likely controversial, as would be any discussion about a social program (which this plan mimics in many ways.)

Re:"80% attachment is extremely high" (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402770)

It's a shiny gadget*, of course they'll say yes. The fact that 20% said "no" really means that more like 90% would have said no if they were paying for it themselves (and of the 10% who say "yes", 90% of them will be getting a big allowance from rich parents).

{*} Too shiny in fact. Is it really just me who can't see anything but reflected lights on iPod screens?

Re:"80% attachment is extremely high" (1, Troll)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402832)

"Too shiny in fact. Is it really just me who can't see anything but reflected lights on iPod screens?"

It seems like only yesterday people were complaining about the "low contrast matte" screens that Macs used to sport. For some people it does not matter what Apple does, they will always have an emotional reaction against it.

Re:"80% attachment is extremely high" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402928)

You're an idiot. Complaints against both matte and glossy screens are numerous for every television, laptop, monitor, phone, and tablet in existence.

Shocker: people use their devices differently than others (like reading in the fucking sunlight for instance).

People like you are why there are so many Apple haters. If you'd just shut up they'd go away.

Re:"80% attachment is extremely high" (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402842)

It's a shiny gadget*, of course they'll say yes. The fact that 20% said "no" really means that more like 90% would have said no if they were paying for it themselves (and of the 10% who say "yes", 90% of them will be getting a big allowance from rich parents).

I think it depends upon how much of the difference would be made up by the cost of textbooks. Most textbooks are somewhat cheaper in electronic form. Over the course of four years, I bet at least half of the cost could be made up.

Moreover, I think your estimates are a bit low. Given the number of macs I see on campus every day, there are plenty of people with money to burn.

There's also convenience--which wouldn't be realized by most of the students if the program were voluntary, but which will likely benefit the majority of students. Heck, making the program mandatory means that other massive things can be done--completely eliminating paper books (eventually) which has benefits beyond the school.

{*} Too shiny in fact. Is it really just me who can't see anything but reflected lights on iPod screens?

I have an iPad, and I couldn't agree more. I bought a matte screen protector--not to protect the screen, but to cut the glare.

Re:"Giving"? (3, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402504)

Tuition is nominal in Australia, so no, it doesn't. It means most likely that they'll allocate money from something else and/or request more from the government.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402606)

So... yes, it does. msobkow didn't say anything about students paying for it. In this case it means that everyone gets to pay for it, even though a lot of the students won't use it.

Re:"Giving"? (0, Troll)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402658)

I love your mentality. It is, unfortunately, being adopted by those on the left in the US. Has been adopted, I should say.

"Money from the government is free! Yay!"

Re:"Giving"? (1, Flamebait)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402806)

I love your mentality. It is, unfortunately, being adopted by those on the left in the US. Has been adopted, I should say.

"Money from the government is free! Yay!"

It is if you get out more than you paid in. Isn't that really what your problem is, all the poor people making you slightly less rich with their greedy health concerns and ugly children? If we don't let money flow like water in a shallow pan, zomg teh economy will stop!

Re:"Giving"? (3, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402856)

You are comparing free iPads with free health care?

Sounds good to me.

Re:"Giving"? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402820)

I realize that conservatives think that, but what about all that DoD spending, farm subsidies and tax breaks for the rich? You don't honestly think that the money is free do you? And perhaps if businesses would pay a living wage to workers there wouldn't be so much reliance on government to make up the difference.

But no, you're right, gubmint money is free money.

Re:"Giving"? (3, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402868)

"Tax breaks for the rich"

You mean like how the rich pay more in taxes than anyone else? (both in percentage of income and in total amount). "Taking less than before" is NOT the same as giving the rich money. Which, by the way, are the same people who create jobs.

Re:"Giving"? (4, Insightful)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402732)

The university tuition is nominal. The article is talking about Trinity College, which charges over $20,000 for residency and then has additional charges for such things as network access. (At least when I was resident in a nearby college)

Re:"Giving"? (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402876)

Yes I feel that the meaning of the article is getting 'lost in translation' by many Americans reading it. Americans use the word 'college' to refer to the ~entire university~. They say 'I went to college' to indicate that they went to university. This has resulted in many confusing conversations about tertiary education between Americans and other English speakers in my experience (which is extensive as I'm a dual US-Australian citizen and spend a lot of time in both countries).

In Australia (and the UK and other Commonwealth countries), a 'college' is a ~residential~ institution, typically situated on campus (but perhaps also elsewhere in the city). That is, where the students go to eat and sleep at the end of the day. Many also offer out of hours tuition services and other extra-curricular stuff. They may be indirectly owned by the university itself, or they may be completely private institutions. But they are not 'the university' (i.e. the entity you pay your tuition to). They are separate entities who you pay for food and lodging.

American students often live in 'the dorms', which fills the same need as colleges but in reality is quite a different experience. As mentioned, colleges are often private, completely separate institutions from the universities themselves. They have various levels of prestige in their own right (Trinity, mentioned in TFA, is a pretty high end one and doesn't come cheap). They aren't merely a place to sleep but are a big part of your university life and experience.

Re:"Giving"? (5, Informative)

bhat (87057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402746)

Trinity College is a private institution and receives no government funding. But in the case of the trial, the students were indeed given the iPads, but they returned them at the end of the program, and they paid nothing extra in their fees.

(I may work for Trinity College, but I don't speak for them.)

Re:"Giving"? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402588)

Don't you mean "Adding to tuition costs"?

No. Almost all universities in Australia are public and the cost of tuition is heavily government subsidised and is uniform between universities all over the country.

That's right Americans, we're clearly a bunch of education and sun loving socialists!

Re:"Giving"? (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402618)

And this is a perfect example of something that is horribly wrong with your system. Now all of the tax payers get to pay for these iPads, even though many of them won't get used.

Re:"Giving"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402716)

...even though many of them won't get used.

Citation needed.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402796)

No they don't. Firstly, the school would get a set amount from the government. If it wants to spend some of this on iPads, then sure ... but they will have to make savings elsewhere to compensate. They don't just get this unlimited bucket of money from the government. Taxpayers wouldn't pay any more. But this is a moot point regardless, because...

Secondly the TFA mentions that this university is for FOREIGN students, not Australian residents. I.e. the students are not Australian taxpayers and are paying full, unsubsidised fees. So in this particular case, the impact on taxpayers is zero regardless of how the government funding system might work.

Re:"Giving"? (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402810)

Slight correction. From TFA:

"recommended that iPads be rolled out in 2011 to all staff involved in Trinity’s Foundation Studies course, which prepares overseas students for undergraduate university entry.

In addition, the quartet recommended iPads be rolled out to all staff and students at the college in time for the August 2011 student entry"

So the initial rollout is just to foreign students, followed by a wider rollout. My bad. Point #1 above still applies though: the university won't be getting any more of taxpayers money, simply because they decided to give people an iPad.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402908)

Ignoring what's actually happening and focusing on the arguments being presented by people in this thread (since really we are talking about something broader than what's going on at this school):

About how money will be moved around for this: there will still be money spent on these iPads. If they are able to get rid of other things, why don't they *just* get rid of those things and save a ton of money? That is, unless, they truly honestly believe that these iPads will compensate for what those other things provided beforehand (say, textbooks that will now be on the iPad). My problem is that they will be giving iPads to *everyone,* even though many will still want and use old fashioned textbooks (if other comments in this thread are telling the truth).

Well, I'd rather... (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402902)

I'd rather waste my tax money in public education (even if you might consider some of the spending irrelevant, which should be debated) than use it to fatten military contractor's wallets.

Not trying to create a false dichotomy, my point is that complaining about taxpayers money going towards education as a bad thing might just be one of the most reckless attitudes I can imagine for a society as a whole.

Re:Well, I'd rather... (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402940)

I'd rather not waste any tax money at all. I know that will never happen, but iPads? They are nowhere near as useful as netbooks, and yet they cost more. Is there really some type of program that will only run on iPads?

Re:"Giving"? (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402916)

And this is a perfect example of something that is horribly wrong with your system. Now all of the tax payers get to pay for these iPads, even though many of them won't get used.

there is problems with our schooling system but being funded by the government isn't one of them. you can't have or support a service based society/economy (like Australia or America) without investing in further education. the American government does it too just at a much reduced level, and it shows by the average income the Americans get compared to Australians.

Re:"Giving"? (2)

11011001 (710307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402608)

... except electronic text books are cheaper than hard copy text books, so the cost is offset.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

11011001 (710307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402642)

* textbooks

Re:"Giving"? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402784)

... electronic text books are cheaper than hard copy text books.

Sure...until eBook sales really take off and the book publishers notice their profits aren't as big as they used to be.

Re:"Giving"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402754)

In fairness, it's my understanding that Apple (like most outfits) gives universities real sweet deals to get students hooked on their products, so they'll buy them full-price after graduation. So while tanstaafl definitely applies, if enough students are getting them (and one doesn't mind forcing the students who don't care to pay an equal share), it can mean lower total/average cost

now Apple will get 30% textbook revenue, as well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402432)

Great... sounds like a knew jerk reaction of some stupid MBA...

How nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402434)

How nice of the school to spend its students money on trinkets suitable only for consumption of entertainment. I'd be suing, if I attended there.

Re:How nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402450)

When did Slashdot turn into a nest of Luddites? Have you seen some of the educational apps on the iPad? How much time have you spent playing with Elements, or working with the dedicated Wolfram Alpha app?

Re:How nice (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402486)

Because these students probably already own laptops, and at any rate does this school not have any computer labs? If you're just wanting text books, there are much cheaper options available. I'm not sure why one ought to own an iPad and a laptop, or more specifically why one ought to be required to get an iPad when a laptop is a more general tool. I just can't imagine typing up a ten page report on an iPad.

Moreover there are better products for just reading ebooks, albeit mostly in black and white.

Re:How nice (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402794)

Yep. Wouldn't it be a good idea to be able to copy/paste bits of text from your book to your computer?

Re:How nice (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402838)

Especially if it provided the necessary citations in a convenient manner. I was just looking at Barnes & Noble's etextbook software. Seems to do quite a bit. I'm not likely to consider it as my netbook is somewhat anemic and I doubt the prices are reasonable, but it's far more reasonable to buy a $500 laptop than a similarly priced iPad. You just get so much more, and you end up with a device that you can actually write papers on. $500 for a laptop these days gets you quite a bit.

Sometime mid-decade (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402520)

as Linux slid into obsolescence and/or irrelevance alongside the Windows-vs-Linux debate. Basically, it's one more community that time has left behind and that doesn't realize it, a network of enthusiasts-of-the-anachronistic.

Re:How nice (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402524)

It's not that we're Luddites, it's that we've been around this particular block before and it takes more than something shiny to turn our heads. When I was in college (not THAT long ago) there was the mandatory "buy our laptop" program which thankfully hit the class after me. It was a terribly stupid idea for me because I already has 24/7 use of a work provided laptop that was pretty much the best money could buy.

This isn't that different. I have a laptop. I have several desktops with various OSes. I have an iPhone. I don't want an iPad because, to me, it's nothing but a less portable iphone.

You might have also noticed a university education has become ever more expensive, at a rate much faster than inflation. Trinkets of dubious value to not impress.

Re:How nice (2)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402612)

There are quite a few luddites, but I think there's an equal measure of people who are simply more cautious. I'm far from a luddite, and I think my posting history will attest to that -- the sheer number of posts I've made will attest to that -- but I don't have a Facebook account. Not because I'm afraid of technology -- on the contrary, I know enough about technology to really, really hate what Facebook is doing to the Internet.

So, take these iPads. Sure, etexts are a hell of a lot better than forcing students to carry around a textbook. I'll be the first to admit that I would prefer them, that I would be the first to buy them, that I'd spend several times the price... ...except for the DRM.

It's not just that the iPad is a great idea as a general-purpose computing device that's been shat on by Apple's need to control everything, that the very first thing people in the know do with it is "jailbreak" it -- contrast to Android, where a free SDK is available for any OS, any student could just start developing apps, and share them with their friends without needing Apple's approval.

It's not just that I worry about the iPad "app" becoming the only option for a textbook, with other platforms shunned, even print. That's a long way off, but it is already happening -- there are apps with exclusive content for iStuff, and there are more than a few which would work fine as websites, but have been app-ified to cash in.

It's certainly not just that I worry about this being done horribly wrong, like the iPad-only publications which are, not even PDFs, but raster images of pages, because the entire process is still driven by a print-oriented workflow -- the lack of text thus completely destroying the biggest advantages of it being electronic, such as bookmarking, hyperlinks, and search.

No, the biggest thing stopping me from buying electronic textbooks, and being very skeptical of any school district which forces students to not only buy electronic, but to buy specifically from Apple, is the thought that right now, I can lend my book to a friend. I can either sell it for a decent price -- buying used and selling at the end of the semester is almost, but not quite, as cheap as renting -- or, if it ends up being useful, I can keep it. I can use it where I can't get power, let alone an Internet connection, and while I think these concerns are minor and becoming less relevant all the time, the few ebooks I buy, I have as DRM-free PDFs that work wherever I am, on any device I get my hands on, because I can make them work.

I'd be the first to suggest this sort of thing, if there were any hope of it being done right. Give students an open device, and if you can't get Creative-Commons texts, at least make them DRM-free -- it's not like there's an incentive to pirate if the school just blanket-licenses the books they need. Force the teachers to adapt to students who simultaneously have access to every distraction imaginable, and to the sum of all human knowledge, all at their fingertips and during class -- better make that lecture more interesting than who's dating who on Facebook, better make sure you teach something more than an aggregation of facts, better learn to hold their attention. Don't just give students thirty seconds on a multiple-choice quiz, give them an interesting problem to solve that can't be done with just a Google search, but can gain some advantage from the strengths of such a device.

Problem is, as soon as I hear the word iPad, that's my first clue it's not even going to be close to right.

Re:How nice (2, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402454)

You've got it all wrong. They're going with style (easy, sexy, and makes for good admissions brochures) over substance (tedious, frustrating, difficult to market).

Re:How nice (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402594)

You've got it all wrong. They're going with style (easy, sexy, and makes for good admissions brochures) over substance (tedious, frustrating, difficult to market).

Yeap. Being a college that prepares overseas students for undergraduate university entry (TFA) and given that the number of international students studying in Australia is dropping [theaustralian.com.au] , the competition is heating up: anything to lure them students is welcomed, they are paying higher tuition fees anyway.

Re:How nice (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402478)

I'd be suing, if I attended there.

What for? Let me guess: overexerting and possible spine damages. TFA

Trinity found through its trial that iPads were not a replacement for desktop or laptop computers — or even other educational technologies — but were an “enhancement”.

So, not a replacement for textbooks, desktop/laptop. Dam'!!! Will they at least let the students use it during an exam?

Define "giving" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402466)

With the University "giving" one to every student, can we assume that the students are the ones grabbing their own ankles?

Re:Define "giving" (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402510)

I'm not sure about Australia, but up here in the US, a lot of that gets written off to scholarships, assuming you're lucky enough to get one. So, the prices of education keep going up and the politicians keep assuming that it's only the rich that can't get scholarships.

But if you can't get a scholarship what you end up with is a massive amount of loans and probably a hard time actually paying them back since a bachelor's degree is mostly about making a bit over minimum wage.

Re:Define "giving" (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402676)

Not really. University tuition fees (for Australian residents) are heavily subsidised by the government (to the tune of 75%+ of the real fee) and regulated/standardised across the country. So what the students pay is predictable and set in stone by legislation for several years into the future. They can't be arbitrarily adjusted.

Having said this, TFA mentions that this particular university is mostly for foreign students, not Australian residents. These students are unsubsidised. They are referred to as 'full fee-paying students', due to the fact that they get into the university simply by paying the (huge) fees to do so, rather than based on academic merit and high school performance (like subsidised Australian residents would be). Statistically speaking, most will be from fairly well-off families in places like China, Singapore, India, and other Asian countries. They are already paying (or more likely, their parents are already paying) huge amounts of money to study abroad in Australia. A few hundred extra for an iPad wouldn't be noticed (if it's even actually coming out of their tutition fees in the first place, which I doubt). Indeed, it may even be perceived as a desirable reason for these students to pick this university over others: competition for these students among the universities is high, as they are full fee-paying and hence pure profit as far as the universities are concerned.

As another student who was given one to trial... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402490)

(No, I don't go to an Australian University...)

The main problem with the iPad educationally is the fact that the content is not there. Out of the 10 or so texts I purchased this semester, NONE were available for the iPad. Now a few were available through...alternate means, but a good number of them (e.g. the heavy ones) were not available digitally (and I know where to look).

I've had a lot of problems on my University's Wi-Fi that aren't present on Windows/Linux PCs, Macs, or any other devices. Complete inability to multitask is a problem. Lack of Flash/Java support (the latter is used in a number of educational software systems).is a problem. The iPad is nigh useless for taking notes because of the lack of a keyboard; if you get a dock, you might as well be carrying a 14" or smaller laptop around because it's comparable in size and heft.

Positive notes would be the battery life (it really does last 8+ hours) and the simple nature (can't fuck it up). Instant boot is nicet. It's "neat to have", but I'd be pissed if it were added to the tuition - it occupies a strange middle ground between my iPod Touch (which is instant on and pretty much always connected to Wi-Fi for quick lookups) and my Latitude E6400 (which is fairly lightweight, decently powerful, and gets 4 hours of battery life without turning absolutely everything off/to minimums).

My point is, educationally the iPad - or an iPad like device - could be great. My experience suggests that it's little more than a bragging point in real life though - the limitations on practical use would make it a hard sell to me. The limited functionality relegates it to a toy-like device - bigger and more difficult to lug around than a smartphone, but not substantially lighter than a laptop. If the books were there, I could see more of an allure. But they aren't.

Re:As another student who was given one to trial.. (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402874)

"but not substantially lighter than a laptop."

Perhaps you have a different definition of "substantially" than I do. The iPad2 will weigh in at 1.3 pounds. That seems quite a bit lighter than most laptops.

Reasons? (3, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402496)

“iPads are effective, durable, reliable and achieve their educational aims of going further, faster and with more fun,” the college wrote.

Now there's a line straight from marketing that manages to mean jack shit. Might be this is an Apple subsidized push akin to Microsoft's educational license deals; Get em hooked before they enter the workforce.

Re:Reasons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402582)

âoeiPads are effective, durable, reliable and achieve their educational aims of going further, faster and with more fun,â the college wrote.

Now there's a line straight from marketing that manages to mean jack shit.

Yeah, they'll be watching fun, educational videos about going in further. Faster, faster, yes! faster!

Re:Reasons? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402816)

I would have thought a kindle would be much better/cheaper/more useful, but what do I know. I obviously don't like shiny screens and brushed metal as much as I ought to.

Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402506)

"It looks like Apple's hyped iPad tablet may find a functional use beyond the early technology adopter set."

Is it possible to mention Apple or Apple devices on Slashdot without gratuitous and misguided denigration, even if implied?

The iPad is a perfectly workable tablet device. In fact, it is the cheapest tablet device in its class (quality level, feature set) and also the first to market, and also the one with the largest number of applications and the largest installed user base.

It clearly has uses beyond the early technology adopter set given the anecdotal array of adoptions in vertically integrative environments/scenarios.

In my own case, I use it for teaching. The iPad offers a minimal, lightweight platform on which to track attendance, grades, lesson plans, and so on and to connect them to projection devices for showing media of various kinds, from outlines and presentation slides to YouTube videos that supplement the lecture.

Come on. This is supposed to be a technology blog. Instead, it's a bunch of why teenagers with strong, if ill-informed, political-affective poses.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (1, Offtopic)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402574)

And of course, more modding down for any post that even offers the whiff of a suggestion that an Apple device might be useful for the slightest waif of a task.

Wow.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402722)

No, modding down posts that troll with phrases like "teenagers with strong, if ill-informed, political-affective poses." And I bet you wonder why mac users are disliked...

Apple isn't being singled out here, precious little macboi. This is just as wrong as universities using closed, Microsoft-owned "standards," something I am sure you have complained about at times. Funneling government/student money into Apple's pocket should be criticized, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with suggesting that Apple devices are useful or not: it has everything to do with corruption and control. A lot of people here are smart enough to realize that Apple is just Microsoft with a new paint job, and rightly complain when they start posturing themselves in the same way. The last thing the world needs is for can-do-no-evil Apple to have as much market power as Microsoft.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402862)

Sure, I can buy into your post...except you're ignoring the phrase that the person you're responding to, is themselves responding to: "It looks like Apple's hyped iPad tablet may find a functional use beyond the early technology adopter set."

It's known that the iPad is being used in various sectors beyond the "early technology adopter set." I see more people every day at my workplace (I work in IT at a university teaching hospital), in a variety of roles, using the iPad in a variety of ways. That's just MY example. The iPad is used in teaching, used by people with physical limitations, used in shipping, distribution, point of sale...I don't even know why I'm listing these. They are known facts that the poster is bringing up, and you're saying their point is invalid because they are calling out Slashdot as a bunch of bitchy teenagers. Nope.

Thank you. I realize that I've become a bit (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402922)

shrill, but it's not like I just got here. And despite the decline in quality, I've continued to try to like Slashdot.

But now this dynamic has emerged by which the editors post a slanted Apple story and the crowd responds by rabidly tearing Apple and Apple products to bits... once again... often in factually incorrect ways.

It all reeks of the propaganda and mob response, turned toward profit. Apple-bait from eds, Apple-decry en masse from posters and mods. Two stories later, Apple-bait from eds, immediate Apple-decry en masse from posters and mods. And of course the content of their discourse is (ironically) the sheeple-ness of Apple users.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402892)

"Apple isn't being singled out here, precious little macboi"

Wow. You complain about the GPs tone of voice and then you post that? Fail.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402598)

You think it's the teenagers bashing Apple products?

Ha ha ha ha.

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402670)

Wait... largest number of applications? Nonsense. Asus' Eee tablet is x86 compatible and therefore runs the ~4 million Windows applications and however many Linux applications out there.

Wrong. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402708)

The eee tablet line includes multiple products.

The capacitive touch product that is in the same class as the iPad runs Android. Fewer apps.

The Windows product that has more apps has a Wacom digitizer, not capacitive touch. Different product class. Not comparable.

You are, in short, wrong.

Re:Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402924)

Of course, it becomes comparable if you stop moving the goalposts to suit your own argument.

Try moving the goalposts away from this one: http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/laptops/NNB-852.html [novatech.co.uk]

Re:Wow... Yet more Apple bashing. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402834)

Please explain how an iPad makes a better text book than, say, a Kindle...

The iPad costs three or four times as much and has a worse screen and battery life. I assume there must be a really big reason why it's better.

iPad and Kindle DX, which are both (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402878)

textbook form factors, are actually not so differently priced (Kindle DX ~$300, iPad WiFi ~$500) when you consider the differences in capabilities.

And are you seriously suggesting that the /. crowd of today would behave any differently if the story were about Kindle purchases for students?

I would be just as critical of the Slashdot response to Kindle, which—if you go back and look—has been very similar to the Slashdot response to iPad, despite both devices' obvious utility and popularity. In fact, the Slashdot crowd takes popularity amongst actual users to be a bad thing, taking the role of the Basil Fawlties of IT: "The world of technology would be perfect if it wasn't for all of these damned users!"

Disclaimer: I own both devices. But I also have plastic disk file full of about 130 Slackware Linux floppies and a set of SunOS media on DC600 tapes. That gives me a little bit of cred. Yes, the much (not all) of the Slashdot crowd has taken on ludditic and technoemo characteristics in recent years. And the story quality has gone down as well. The general public is now more geeky and technological than the Slashdot crowd.

hrmmm. (2, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402512)

I hope there is an opt out and get a tuition discount option.

Does apple give kickbacks or bulk rate on things like this? Perhaps an apple holy warrior happens to be in charge.

Re:hrmmm. (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402808)

I was in college when everyone complained about a computer fee. After all, most students had little experience with a computer, and had no understanding what it could do. Few students had computers in high school and not all that many took courses that required a computer. Needless to say I heard a lot of bitching about the fee, and a lot of bitching when jobs could not be found because of lack of computer skills. I was not in that situation since I had access to PDP-11/34 in high school, so I knew how to leverage the resources.

So it seems to that students always complain when they have to learn or pay for new things. It is the nature of the beast. But times are changing, and the time of the printed textbook and offline free time are coming to an end, just like a family mealtime without telephone interruptions. Those who learn to deal with it early on, like the business desktop computer, will profit, those who don't will not.

There are already a number of textbooks freely available for download. Many books that would be an expensive anthology are free or very cheap. Papers can be written with the added benefit that simple editors focus on content over formatting. Google Docs works well. Moodle works very well, Blackboard I hear works pretty well. Online video games no so much.

I wonder... (0)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402516)

If Melbourne College were giving the Motorola Xoom instead of an Apple product, would there be as many butthurt comments here?

These last few years must have really sucked for Apple haters. Guess what fellas, it's gonna keep getting worse if Apple continues to out-execute everyone else. I'd recommend unbunching those panties before it's too late.

Seriously. (0)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402546)

Great hardware, stable software, and features that actually work as advertised are what these people are hating on.

If only all of those Windows CE devices had functioned according to advertised specs, or the Palm devices, or the Symbian devices, the landscape would be radically different right now. But instead all of them bullet-pointed a whole bunch of features without asterisks that carried Empire-State-Building-sized asterisks in practice, while Apple continues to deliver on their promises (good and bad) more or less exactly.

Lesson: Apple knows how to build things that work. Others know how to advertise things that work that don't actually work. Slashdotters don't care whether something works, as long as it appears as unrefined and kludgy enough to emphasize their "geek" credentials as they stand next to it.

Re:Seriously. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402726)

"Apple knows how to build things that work"

And yet their products still can't view Youtube. Cognitive dissonant... it comes with every Apple product.

Can't view YouTube? (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402750)

Uhm, methinks you're talking out your ass, and it shows.

Re:Seriously. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402934)

What on earth are you talking about?

Notwithstanding the fact that every iOS device ever sold ships with the YouTube app, and has from day one, the YouTube ~site~ itself has allowed you to view stuff using HTML5 rather than Flash for quite a while now, which works just fine on standard iOS browsers.

Yes there are plenty of Flash-based sites out there that you CAN'T use with an Apple product, and yes that sucks. But you picked a terrible example to make your point, considering YouTube is one of the few sites that DOES actually work perfectly. :)

Re:Seriously. (1)

melchoir55 (218842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402776)

If you think the people who criticize apple are using Windows CE, Palm or Symbian devices then you're not paying attention. At all.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402548)

I'd be fucked off no matter what company my taxes were going towards.

If a student wants an iPad - he/she can buy one.

If he doesn't - he shouldn't have to!

Re:I wonder... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402578)

Quite likely so, given that the Xoom is even more expensive, and has no clearer relevance to the educational mission of the school(along with the general geek distaste for being ordered to buy a specific gadget, rather than the one they want...).

There is a long history of these "school decides to standardize all pupils on $TECH_TOY because it is The Future of Education(tm)" stories. They generally starkly underperform expectations.

Re:I wonder... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402870)

We've got a similar problem here in Seattle. The school system is broken, but rather than look to fix the parts that are broken, the board and superintendent will almost certainly choose to go to the other extreme. If we were doing a lot of integrative fuzzy stuff, soon we'll be doing rote memorization, and back and forth. This sounds a bit like that, trying to use technology to fill a whole which might better be filled spending the same amount of money on tutors or resources to help the students learn the materials. Curriculum development and training for staff also might not be a bad idea.

I don't know how much the iPads would cost, but you can get a lot out of well chosen training programs for staff.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402584)

If the university was giving the Motorola Xoom instead, I'd be very impressed, considering they are essentially vapourware in this country (and virtually everywhere else outside the US). I've heard all kinds of hype about them ... but has anyone actually ever seen one? At least the iPad is a real, shipping product in Australia :)

Re:I wonder... (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402694)

i have one complant w/ apple and the rest is fine they make good hardware and software but...
even the best kept walled garden cant touch the beauty of a forest
and apple didnt let a forest grow, and remains nearly barren

Re:I wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402766)

You're so entrenched in the Apple camp you can't even perceive reality objectively.

Motorola Xoom? This is what Slashdot would look like:

  • "OMG MOTOROLA SUX"
  • "Fucking locked bootloader, closed-off piece of shit!"
  • "Cool, now Google can spy on all our students."
  • "Now our textbooks can run malware."
  • "OMG JAVA SUX"
  • "It isn't Real Linux (tm)."
  • "Yay... Motoblur... not."
  • "Motorola is the Sony of handheld devices."
  • "Android? Fragmented crap!"
  • "Stupid. This device will stop receiving updates 6-8 months from now."
  • "Android? Education? Lol."

Disclaimer: 3 out of 4 of my previous phones ran Android. So far I'm happy with it. On my phone that is.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402800)

Forgot to add what would be the most common complaint (even on this story): "Why is this necessary?"

Ah yes... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402522)

It sure does beat lugging around those old textbooks. Unless you fancy being able to mark them up, re-sell them, or refer to them in 2020...

The professors will probably adore the levels of class participation and attention enabled by everyone having a school-approved internet browsing/PMP device...

My criticism of this scheme isn't iPad specific(though the education sector often does leap on Apple-related tech crazes); but more general:

We still don't have something that can replace a notepad and a mechanical pencil when it comes to ease and unobtrusiveness of taking notes(keyboards are faster for straight text, and produce better final copy; but are a bit clicky for class and, unless you are a LaTeX god, slower for equations, diagrams, and similar). Somewhat similarly, your basic dead tree actually works pretty well for textbook-style distribution. Durable, can be marked according to personal preference, can be held onto or resold at will, printing them doesn't actually cost all that much.

Ebooks have some compelling convenience advantages, particularly for light reading(casually pick up a novel over whispernet, etc.) or for technical reference(grep obscure_command_foo...); but they aren't going to do much about the central complaints with textbooks: Absurd prices and constant version churn(in fact, with DRM, they likely make those worse). Unless this "Hooray! Tablets!!!!" scheme is integrated into some way of actually re-making how the course is taught, I predict no savings, major distraction, and people accustomed to scribbling in marginal notes learning exactly why UI elements in capacitive touchscreen systems are as large as they are...

On the plus side, Melbourne College's Angry Birds team will be a Division 1 powerhouse....

Re:Ah yes... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402882)

At the college level there's a lot they can do. Mandate that any textbooks have an ebook equivalent and that the ebook be available without DRM. The larger the number of books being sold, the more pull a school has.

Re:Ah yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402942)

I use of of these to take notes: http://www.olympus.co.uk/consumer/2581_digital-recorder_vn-8600pc_23182.htm [olympus.co.uk] It's very easy basically click a button -> out of standby after 1s -> record -> stop, it goes into standby after a few minutes not sure about battery times but I've had it on for about a week taken maybe 50 notes and batteries are still full.

Plug into PC and you've got them as MP3s. I'm currently trying to do speech-to-text so I can grep the output but some work left... if anyone know any good OSS command line that's not to hard to use?

Functional use (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402536)

It looks like Apple's hyped iPad tablet may find a functional use beyond the early technology adopter set.

Wake up, it's 2011 and the iPad has already found dozens of "functional uses" in addition to the early adopter gadget freaks. I've seen iPads, in person, being handed out to conduct surveys by research companies. Educators and physical therapists have been using them with disabled kids who can't type or use a mouse. Pilots are talking about using them instead of paper flight manuals.

No, there's nothing Magic(R) about people doing this. It's just a lightweight $500 touchscreen web browser with good battery life. A lot of people have found uses for this. Meanwhile, Slashdot continues to brush the neckbeard hairs out of their $350 Linux netbooks.

Precisely. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402560)

Meanwhile, Slashdot continues to brush the neckbeard hairs out of their $350 Linux netbooks.

Spot on.

Re:Precisely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402634)

I'm going to complain about being modded down while throwing around flaimebaits and complaining that /. is nerdy. NEERDS! NEEEERDS!

Re:Functional use (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402652)

But even according to the article, this is supplementary. Meaning that it doesn't replace the laptop that the student probably already owns and likely won't do much for the cost of text books. Additionally, if you're looking for savings, the only savings that I see is the savings on chiropractic visits when your back gets bent out of shape from carrying books around.

At this stage, I don't personally see any reason why a school should go out and buy the iPads for the students. Seems to me to be a waste of student fees and/or taxpayer dollars. Now, in the future when they cost less, can do more and there's a legitimate need, then perhaps it will be time to consider the matter. Right now though it's a waste of money that could be spent on more important things.

DIE Textbooks DIE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402562)

My kids are 5 - I hope textbooks have gone the way of the DoDo by the time they hit high school.

$200 textbook are better then $160 locked down e-b (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402616)

$200 textbook are better then $160 locked down e-books that some times have a Expiration date.

Re:$200 textbook are better then $160 locked down (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402736)

Especially when you can get the last edition or a used copy for 10-40% of the price of a new textbook. I spend less on textbooks than people who buy only electronic copies.

Re:$200 textbook are better then $160 locked down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402860)

Except you don't spend less than the people who have 5,000 ebooks which they spent $0 on.

Which is probably the biggest advantage for college students.

books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402586)

The problem in the US is the textbooks themselves. Can you even buy most of them as ebooks yet? Most of them are way overpriced, averaging $150 each in grad classes (from personal experience). We really need some sort of open source textbooks for common classes.

On the bright side (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402638)

On the bright side this isn't like what Idaho is facing where some unqualified idiot was mistakenly elected and then turns around and drops a plan that his republican cronies support but the rest of the population doesn't that involves firing teachers and replacing them with laptops and online classes.

Yeah, they want to give the laptops to 9th graders and expect them to survive 4 years.

And the businesses who would directly benefit by supplying the online classes gave donations to help him get elected.

Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402644)

What would be better is if the colleges offered their texts normally bound at local printers through open standards that could be used with any tablet. This is like only allowing Trapper Keepers, lame.

TIme to update a classic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402678)

Q: How can you tell if a blonde been using you iPad?

A: There are highlighter marks all over the screen.

Actually replacing textbooks (2)

i-like-burritos (1532531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402696)

IF buying an iPad were actually a replacement for buying texbooks, then this really would be a good idea. I would gladly pay out of pocket for an iPad if it allowed me to exclusively use ebook versions of my textbooks. In fact, I would even refrain from pirating those ebooks if they were sold for a reasonable price

In reality though, I doubt it would work that way. Because ebooks are easily pirated, textbook publishers would have a hard time sustaining their racket if universities started switching over. For some reason, universities seem to actually care about what happens to publishers, so I can't imagine that many universities would be willing to require professors to choose only textbooks that have an ebook version available.

Even if it did happen, professors would just say "exams are open-book, but no computers are allowed." This would force students to spend $200+ on a physical copy even though they already paid for iPads with PDFs of the textbooks.

Basically, nothing that makes education cheeper or more convenient for students will ever work. Universities don't care about students.

They might as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402704)

it's cheap enough now!

*rimshot*

Needs wide integration (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402718)

I own an iPad and think it's great, but in order to use one effectively in an environment like a large institution, it needs to be integrated. Textbooks on an iPad? Great... do they have them yet? Does the College have apps written that take the place of, say, campus info guides etc. Until things like that can be addressed, it's not really going to add anything.

IT'S FUCKING APPLE AGAIN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35402724)

Way to fucking go!

Oh well (2)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35402936)

When I was in Uni (not too long ago) I was swept up by the promise posted on many a form (Linux ones mostly) that in the not-too-distant-future, we'd be living in a technological paradise where open source, open platforms reigned supreme, where proprietary standards and closed systems were the minority. This was going to occur because people wanted and were eventually going to DEMAND openness in their technology, and hence anyone who didn't capitulate would find themselves without market share.

Goddamnit. We're going backwards. Either that or we were all damn naive then. But I was in Uni I suppose, and didn't understand exactly how the human mind works.

As an aside - iPads really are quite nice, and I can definitely see the benefit in a well designed tablet. I just wish someone made a well designed Linux-based tablet at a reasonable price which could kick Apple's arse for a change. The Xoom's cost and current limitation to the US means it's not.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?