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School Regrets Swapping Laptops For iPads

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the look-before-you-leap dept.

Handhelds 504

Barence writes "A school swapped all its staff laptops for iPads — and now wants to switch them back. 'Most staff are IT illiterate and jumped at the chance of exchanging their laptop for an iPad,' a teacher from the school told PC Pro. Now, however: 'the staff room is full of regret.' Difficulties editing old Word and PowerPoint documents, transferring work to and from the device without USB sticks, and problems with projecting the iPad's display to the classroom — bizarrely, using an Apple TV — have led to staff once again reaching for their Windows laptops."

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504 comments

Forget about editing just old Word and PP (5, Insightful)

thammoud (193905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305665)

I love my iPad for reading and viewing stuff. Editing? Not so much. I dread the moment where I have to hover over, click on the right place and edit. Useless.

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (5, Funny)

Naatach (574111) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305731)

Tablets make a great spoon and terrible kitchen tool. They're good for consuming, but not much else.

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (5, Funny)

Naatach (574111) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305775)

Tablets make a great spoon and terrible kitchen tool. They're good for consuming, but not much else.

They do, however, make an excellent cutting board [youtube.com].

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305969)

I think all that gorilla glass would dull your knives.

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305893)

They're good for consuming, but not much else.

What??

Tablets (and smartphones, which is basically just a small tablet) have opened up practically a golden era in user produced content. Most of the videos uploaded to youtube now come from phones or tablets, for example. There are music creation apps people are using to write songs, photo editors people are using to apply effects to their photos that are also taken with their phone or tablet. People are dictating stories, they're creating blogs from tablet or phone apps.

We're seeing a damned revolution in the ability of people to create content, and you're bitching about "only good for consuming?" Have a look around! You seem to be missing out. In fact, user created content is becoming SO popular now that traditional media outlets are starting to fear it. When newsworthy events happen, it's captured by someone with a phone, not so much any more by traditional "big media".

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306091)

Most of the videos uploaded to youtube now come from phones or tablets, for example.

[[citation needed]]. Specifically, the "or tablets" part. Yes, we know phones are a major contributor, but the piece under debate here is whether or not tablets are doing the same thing.

I know for a fact that when newsworthy events happen, they're probably going to happen at a speed where I want a quick handheld device I can whip out at a moment's notice, like a phone. Not a clumsy, oversized device like a tablet.

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306123)

Sorry, you have violated the groupthink by posting that people are creating content with tablets. You will now be modded down for telling the truth.

Re:Forget about editing just old Word and PP (3, Insightful)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306013)

Don't lump all tablets into that category. My handy Transformer does a solid job of editing documents, more so with the keyboard dock. It's far from the norm for tablets, but MS seems to want to change that with their efforts in the field with Windows 8 (as much as I don't find it appealing on desktops and I don't have any plans to buy a new tablet).

What were they expecting? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305669)

An ipad is a toy. A laptop is a tool. Idiots.

Re:What were they expecting? (5, Insightful)

AaronLS (1804210) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305709)

This speaks to the fact that every time I hear someone wanting an iPad at the workplace, it is accompanied by a big grin. They want a toy. They are not even thinking through how they would accomplish their day to day work with an iPad instead of a desktop/laptop.

Re:What were they expecting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305845)

That reminds me of a co-worker who used his iPad to assist him with his job, taking pictures and notes.

  One day he left it on his desk, face-up, and there was gay porn playing on it. Another time he took it into the restroom with him and walked out all sweaty with his eyes darting around nervously. We called him 'snake-eyes" after that because his eyes looked like a bouncing pair of dice. No doubt they bounced a lot like the butts and scrotums of the actors in the gay porn he was watching, as an Apple consumer, on his iPad.

We don't hire people with iPads anymore.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:What were they expecting? (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305857)

>> ...how they would accomplish their day to day work with an iPad...

I can browse /. on an iPad just fine, thanks very much.

Re:What were they expecting? (5, Funny)

gid (5195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305967)

Yeah, but typing more than a sentence or two will make me go bald.

Re:What were they expecting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306173)

8uy h19h gr$d3 M1n0x1d!1

It's a status symbol. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305907)

The iPad is GREAT for CONSUMING content.

It suck for GENERATING content.

So anyone with an iPad has more status than anyone who does their work on a laptop (which has more status than someone with a desktop).

And they get to watch movies and stuff on it at home.

Why did you tell me that? (5, Interesting)

jockm (233372) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306039)

Because for about a year now I haven't taken my laptop out of the house, and mostly using it for programming, and photo editing. I have spent all this time writing fiction, poetry, outlines, technical documentation, etc; built websites, created diagrams (I prefer using OmniGraffle on the iPad to the desktop version); doing some light experimenting in Lua; making graphics and other things... all because no one told me it sucked at creating content.

But now that you told me, it is all ruined. I will have to lug around the laptop, aggravate the bone spurs in my neck and shoulders, have to put up with shorter battery life, and all that.

Gee thanks

Re:It's a status symbol. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306071)

The iPad is GREAT for CONSUMING content. It suck for GENERATING content.

Then how do you explain the fact that user generated content is now coming mostly from cell phones and tablets?

People are using drawing apps, creating videos for youtube, composing music with purpose-built apps, blogging while on the go... all from their phones and tablets.

Your statement flies in the face of reality. There are huge amounts of content being created by people on phones and tablets.

Re:What were they expecting? (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306009)

I know dozen of people who use an iPad for 70% of their work.

of course 70% of their work isn't creating or editing data, but taking random notes, shooting off quick emails so other people can do the work, etc.

These people are called salesmen (and women). their job is to talk to people and make other people do the real work for them. Teachers don't need ipads(at least until they get the display problems sorted out).

Teachers need laptops as they create more content than they consume. (at least professionally)

Re:What were they expecting? (0)

flargleblarg (685368) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306125)

> An ipad is a toy. A laptop is a tool. Idiots.

I disagree with you —mostly. I agree with you that they were foolish to trade their laptops for iPads, given their apparent requirements. However, an iPad is most certainly not a toy. It might not be a tool in the same sense as a laptop, but it's much better than a laptop for certain types of things. For example, reading books on an iPad (version 3 with retina display) is a far, far better experience than reading on a laptop or desktop screen. There's just no comparison. Also consider multi-touch applications like painting or arranging photos. It just feels more natural on the iPad.

Re:What were they expecting? (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306129)

An ipad is a toy. A laptop is a tool. Idiots.

And as someone at a software consulting company that expanded from offering specialized, one-off Win/Mac applications for multinational engineering firms to also offering specialized iOS apps for those same firms and for many of those same purposes, I cordially disagree with your assertion that the iPad is not a tool. In fact, I'd say that you're very wrong. That said, it is not as general purpose of a tool as a laptop, nor should it be shoehorned into places where it has no business being.

At home, I'm a big fan of Apple products, and I love using my iPad for reading, e-mail, web browsing, and some light gaming, but when people ask me what to get in regards to any piece of technology, my first question is always, "What will you use it for?" It sounds like the person with the purchasing power in this story didn't start with that vital question, instead getting caught up in the hype. The result is a lot of well-deserved backlash from the end users. In plenty of other situations, however, the iPad can indeed be the correct answer for what tool best fits the situation.

The key takeaway should be that you should always use the right tool for the job. For what the teachers were doing here, the iPad sounds like it was not the right tool at all. That's not always true, but it oftentimes is, since the iPad has a specific set of limitations and advantages that make it a poor fit for many existing (particularly text entry) workflows, but make it a great fit for others.

when real learning needs to be done (3, Insightful)

bob zee (701656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305683)

you sure don't grab a toy. you grab the tool that works.
sometimes you have to pay twice to learn this.

Re:when real learning needs to be done (1, Informative)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305837)

Why is this modded down?

Oh, yes, because Slashdot is now overrun by fanboys of various stripes.

Re:when real learning needs to be done (5, Insightful)

mikestew (1483105) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305985)

It wasn't modded down, he has crappy karma and starts at -1.

Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305685)

Should have gotten an Android tablet with a keyboard docking station.

Re:Android (2)

joeflies (529536) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305723)

The story states the issue is compatibility with Office documents. Perhaps Windows 8-powered tablets was what you meant to say.

Shoulda (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305689)

chose Android, you dumb bitches.

Creation vs Consumption (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305693)

And these are the people paid to educate our children?

Re:Creation vs Consumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306037)

You get what you pay for.

Sounds like a training issue.. (-1, Troll)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305699)

..rather than a hardware issue. This article could have been written about, *gasp*, a school trying to adopt Linux.

Re:Sounds like a training issue.. (4, Insightful)

graphius (907855) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305865)

No, I would say it is a "not looking at the tool in question" issue. Ipads are not a replacement for laptops, especially for the uses the school seems to want.
This seems like jumping on a bandwagon before really thinking about what the new gadgets will be used for.

I would blame the IT department (without reading TFA) who did not explain the limitations of the ipads...

Yeah, I know, so much for my karma....

Re:Sounds like a training issue.. (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305987)

Having been in this situation twice in the last couple of years, I would bet the IT department did explain the limitations of the iPads and were overruled by the teachers who wanted shiny toys they could show off to their friends.

Re:Sounds like a training issue.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305997)

I would blame the IT department (without reading TFA) who did not explain the limitations of the ipads...

If you read the article you would discover that this school either has no IT department or has a completely dysfunctional IT department. This particular school isn't going to solve their problems by tossing out the iPads and going back to laptops, they will just mask their problems a little bit better.

Re:Sounds like a training issue.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306147)

"I would blame the IT department (without reading TFA) who did not explain the limitations of the ipads..."

iPads are like movie actresses.

Can't sing, can't dance, can't fence, can't ride, can't act, just big boobies.

Re:Sounds like a training issue.. (5, Funny)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306049)

But they are Apple products. They are not supposed to be a "training issue".

rich schools? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305701)

I dont know if Apple gives schools good deals... but in my kids kindergarten class there are 5 Macbooks and 5 ipads per class... on the other hand they are begging for tissues, sanitizer, crayons, paper and whatever the daily need is...

Re:rich schools? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305795)

They do give schools a discount, but it's not huge. They market to schools, of course, but Microsoft does the same.

Re:rich schools? (4, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306029)

Pay for the unnecessary but expensive things first, then go crying that you need money for necessities. This is a common practice in many organizations. Supposedly the first thing that would go up at a new base is the officers club since if it was the last money wouldn't be allocated to it.

LOL maxiPads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305703)

Goddamn crusty old people and their resistance to change. It's a fucking post-pc world!!! Suck it up!!

Citrix? (2)

Naatach (574111) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305707)

Stand up a XenApp server and load the Citrix Receiver.

Re:Citrix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305785)

Have you ever actually tried this for any length of time? Its painful in the extreme, especially when having to edit anything of any length. Its getting better over time certainly but its still far removed from the easy experience of using a laptop. Double tapping little scroll bars to move down in an Excel spreadsheet gets old fast.

Let this be a lesson (2, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305719)

... to every organization with staff: tablets are for consumption, not production. If your staff will have the regular need to create or edit anything more complex than an email, it will be a chore on a tablet, if not impossible, regardless of whether the tablet can load files from a thumbdrive or over a network.

This story supports my position that tablets are stupid except for a very few vertical business markets, and will go away faster than netbooks once people can see past the hype.

Re:Let this be a lesson (1, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305773)

And yet Adobe and Autodesk make software for production on tablets. The users of GarageBand would also probably disagree with you as well.

Re:Let this be a lesson (5, Insightful)

vonwilkenstein (817078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305891)

The users of GarageBand would also probably disagree with you as well.

As a user of Garageband, I do not. I can not connect my firewire audio interface to an ipad.

Re:Let this be a lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305975)

And yet Adobe and Autodesk make software for production on tablets. The users of GarageBand would also probably disagree with you as well.

Yes, and not just those things you mention, either. There is actually a really huge amount of user created content coming from tablets and phones now. They are NOT just "for consumption", and I wish people would stop spouting that tired old meme. Had a look at youtube recently? Guess where all that user generated content is coming from? Hint, it's not webcams attached to desktops any more, it's phones and tablets. Music composition, dictation of stories, people creating charts and graphs, and plenty more...

But you can run people's faces in content people created with tablets all day, and they'll STILL swear tablets are "only for consumption".

Re:Let this be a lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306139)

Please enlighten us with this "created content" you are referring to. Using your logic, drawing square boobs on an Etch-A-Sketch would be considered "created content" on a technologically limited device, but that does not mean it is noteworthy accomplishment or of any value to the rest of the world.

Re:Let this be a lesson (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306077)

Garage Band is like it's name: a toy for people that play around at being a musician in their garage. It's not a real productivity tool. It's just a loss leader and something that fanboys can mindlessly drone on about as if it actually has any relevance.

Re:Let this be a lesson (3, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305849)

No - tablets just aren't good for long-form writing (which happens to be very common at schools). I use mine for content creation all the time... just not stuff where I'd want a keyboard (anything more than two paragraphs).

Re:Let this be a lesson (2)

Zadaz (950521) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306025)

This story supports my position that tablets are stupid except for a very few vertical business markets, and will go away faster than netbooks once people can see past the hype.

I think you vastly underestimate the market for pure consumption. The average American family spends over $1500 a year on TV and television subscription fees.

difficulties (2, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305725)

Difficulties editing old Word and PowerPoint documents...

Their problem is bigger than the iPad in the classroom.

Re:difficulties (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306113)

why because the use the most widely used office tools?

Tablets in education (5, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305727)

I've been using tablets in an educational environment since about 2006. I guess today they would be called Tablet PCs, but they were infinitely more useful in an educational setting for one reason, and it's not that they ran standard PC apps (in fact quite the opposite because most apps were no optimized for touch, etc.). It was the stylus, which most "tablets" lack today. Writing on my tablet with a stylus and being able to archive notes, search handwritten notes, reference supplemental materials and paste them into my notes, etc. were killer applications. The fact that my tablet was convertible also meant that when I needed to, I could set up my tablet PC like a regular laptop with a full monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and use it like any other laptop with fully fledged Office. Many here balked at the Tablet PC then, and continue to balk at the tablet PC now, but it was a hell of a lot more useful for me than my iPad ever was, if not only for the ability to support a proper digitized stylus and robust handwriting recognition.

Tablet PCs today still have major disadvantages, but I'm very intrigued at the new crop of hybrid tablet/laptops coming out from Samsung, Asus, and Microsoft. Transformer prime was half way there, but it still was a very poor laptop substitute in laptop mode (couldn't run full desktop-class apps, mouse support inconsistent across the OS and apps).

Same here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305739)

Funny, our IT dept had the same thing they bought our whole senior team ipads, with a view to rolling them out to the entire management structure - the few members of that team that actually created anything ended up asking for their laptops back, and hence the whole project was cancelled and now nearly the entire senior team are back on laptops..

A product is not a solution (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305741)

Difficulties editing old Word and PowerPoint documents, transferring work to and from the device without USB sticks, and problems with projecting the iPad's display to the classroom â" bizarrely, using an Apple TV â" have led to staff once again reaching for their Windows laptops.

The general idea - that you get computer-illiterate staff away from general-purpose computers and onto more appliance-like systems is a good one. More flexibility in the end-users' hands means more difficulties supporting them and more spaghetti work practices.

The problem though, is that it sounds like they thought they could just dump the product on them and their problems would be solved. These people will have had deeply-ingrained workflows that frequently include all manner of hacks and workarounds that have glommed together over the years. If you're going to move them away from that, you need to move their workflows and content too, otherwise they are stuck trying to do the old thing with products that aren't designed for it.

I'm not sure what's so bizarre about using an AppleTV in that way though - it's designed for that purpose and it works great in that kind of situation.

Re:A product is not a solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305915)

More flexibility? You ever actually use a tablet?

Re:A product is not a solution (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305939)

I'm not sure what's so bizarre about using an AppleTV in that way though - it's designed for that purpose and it works great in that kind of situation.

The article questioned spending the money for an entire TV when you can buy a cable to connect to an existing TV for much less.

Re:A product is not a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306067)

A $90 difference, and you're then tethered to a cable, which is often easy to lose.

Re:A product is not a solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306117)

Uh. The Apple TV is not a TV.

It's a box that attaches to the TV allowing (among other things) the iPad to project it's video onto whatever TV you attach it to.
However, it does require a TV with an HDMI connection.

Re:A product is not a solution (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306175)

The article questioned spending the money for an entire TV when you can buy a cable to connect to an existing TV for much less.

An AppleTV is not a TV. It is a device that connects to a TV and that allows you, among many other things, to either mirror whatever the iPad shows on the your TV (without any cables), or to use the TV as a second display for the iPad.

Re:A product is not a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305951)

I'm not sure what's so bizarre about using an AppleTV in that way though - it's designed for that purpose and it works great in that kind of situation.

I think they meant it was bizarre that they had problems doing that, even though they were using an AppleTV.
I would agree with that line of thought, since I've used AirPlay with my iPhone and AppleTV, and can't quite imagine a way in which one would have problems doing that.

Re:A product is not a solution (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306047)

I'm not sure what's so bizarre about using an AppleTV in that way though - it's designed for that purpose and it works great in that kind of situation.

The problem in this situation is usually that the AppleTV is on a different WiFi network than the iPads. Sometimes there's also ACL issues.

It sounds to me like IT didn't fully vet the conversion prior to dumping the new system on their users. Every user getting an iPad should have also got a bluetooth keyboard and a stylus at minimum; there should also be a few community PCs for teacher use to clean up/convert old documents. Finally, the USB Stick issue seems to again come back to IT: network infrastructure wasn't set up for easy transfer of files (USB sticks shouldn't be needed and are a security hazard anyway).

While a tablet doesn't completely replace a laptop in a school setting, it sounds to me like in this case the tablet never stood a chance, as its strengths were hobbled by IT (who likely weren't trained properly) from the get-go.

tablets in general were inappropriate (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305743)

A laptop (of any sort really) would have been a better choice, at least for the higher grades. I could see an ipad or other tablet being useful in K-2 for example, but beyond that where keyboarding, app flexibility, and document exchange become important, a tablet (any tablet) isn't the best tool for the job, unless you intend to have a very specific restricted usage, such as portable textbooks / reference.

Re:tablets in general were inappropriate (3, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305905)

My mum's a teacher in a British school (like the article). They've just this month opened a new building, with all-new classrooms and IT equipment. She says the best improvement over what they had before is new (Windows) laptops and correctly set up docking stations on the teacher's desk in every room -- connecting to the projector, a real keyboard/mouse, the interactive whiteboard, and the network, is done instantly. (Most classrooms have had an interactive whiteboard [wikipedia.org] for years now, teachers love them. The main complaint seems to be the usual IT bureaucracy: tiny quota for email, laptop expected to be used while at home not working properly on the home network, etc.)

She teaches at a secondary school (age 11/12 to 15/16).

I disagree (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306095)

Add a keyboard and a copy of Pages and Keynote and they probably would have been fine with their antique document formats and typing.

Worst case, if their stuff isn't larger than 100MB, they could just use the free version of Zamzar to convert all their documents: http://www.zamzar.com/conversionTypes.php [zamzar.com]

Hopefully they've put all their lesson plans and course materials online, if only on a school/district internal web server, but of course that would risk someone else being able to take the information and teach from it, so maybe they'd want it locked down for job security reasons, as opposed to, you know, educating the kids. Or God forbid, the kids accessing the information and learning at their own pace, reading ahead, and all sorts of other nasty things that would mean the teachers would have to concentrate on helping the kids having problems learning because they come from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Android (1, Funny)

giveen1 (2727899) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305747)

Should have gotten them Android tablets with keyboard docks.

Re:Android (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305911)

While I am an Android fan, and am aware of a really good tablet with keyboard doc, the problem remains: the software. (Or as they say the "Apps")

What is needed is a full office suite. Compatibility with Microsoft Office, like it or not (and I don't) is a must.

I expect we will see LibreOffice on Android. But then Apple will come out with an iPod with keyboard doc, that is patented.

Re:Android (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306073)

Technically, this already exists. iPad apparently supports Bluetooth keyboards, so you'll find many iPad cases with an integrated BT keyboard.

Here's an example at ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com].

This is one place where Apple's iron-fisted dominance of design comes in handy. The iPad is a nice consistent formfactor (only a couple of sizes to consider), so it's easy for a brisk aftermarket of compatible accessories, as long as those accessories can either license necessary compatibility technology (charge/audio/data port) or the compatibility is itself fairly open (Bluetooth); I haven't seen a one-size-fits-all equivalent for Android tablets simply because there's so much variability in size and shape.

There are too many other problems (1)

FrontDoors (2701269) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305753)

There are too many other problems in classrooms, I'am sure! There are many countries, which doesn't use Ipads. =)

Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305787)

Idiots. These are the people looking after the education of our future. No wonder teachers are pays a low, it seems to be fitting.

USB sticks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305811)

What secret iPad models are they using that interface with USB sticks?

Re:USB sticks? (3, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305931)

Interfacing with USB sticks would be a step toward compatibility with ubiquitous standards. Don't expect that from Apple.

I can bluetooth transfer a file to any phone made ten years ago, or to any modern phone or computer. But not to an iPhone -- because that would again, require compatibility with common standards. My friend (an Apple fanboy) says, but there is the neato file transfer app for the iPhone . . . ., and I say, but you miss my point.

Re:USB sticks? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306021)

What secret iPad models are they using that interface with USB sticks?

They probably mean the existing workflow "demands" USB sticks because last time the curriculum was reviewed, 10 years ago, they were all the rage. And there's no really good way to use a flash stick with a gen 1 ipad like mine. Dropbox works great, however.

I use dropbox and google drive and haven't used a USB other than as a bootable device in ... donno how many years, maybe 5 to 10 now, but my kids elementary school shopping list for 4th grade and up demands they buy "flash stick, 1 GB" which probably was pretty ambitious/expensive 10 years ago but I don't think you can buy ones that small anymore.

I would imagine once cloud storage is obsolete, the school will hire a very high priced consultant who happens to be related to a school board member and they'll review the curriculum and demand the kids use cloud storage for the next ten years.

Gimmick? (1)

acidradio (659704) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305827)

I'm sure these iPads were touted as the "wave of the future" and that laptops were obsolete. Obsolete until you discover that the iPad is not a like-for-like replacement for said laptops! And in the process I'm sure some consultant handsomely profited on all of this. Like they said on The Simpsons, "Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!".

Can Work Needs Planning (4, Insightful)

0101000001001010 (466440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305831)

iPads in the classroom can be a great tool. But here's the thing. You have to plan for it before adoption.

Projection: AirPlay, HDMI, or VGA?
Documents: KeyNote, Quicktime, PDF; or maybe go to something less prepared and more on the fly. It can be neat to have a blackboard in your hand that projects on the screen.
Storage: Internal cloud, iBooks/iTunes for education where you can create your own courses with files, Moodle.

etc, etc. And only after you've worked these things out, you then beta-test by having a few tech savvy instructors run courses with them. Collect feedback. Discuss. Revise.

For the love of gods, don't just buy a bunch of hardware, hand it to people, and tell them to go educate. How's that supposed to work?

Re:Can Work Needs Planning (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306107)

Especially because so much of the tablet infrastructure depends on a properly configured and administered supporting network. This type of conversion needs to be sold to and dogfooded (dogfed?) by IT in the school long before being rolled out to the teachers.

IT Illertate Staff? (5, Insightful)

wiegeabo (2575169) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305839)

So...The staff, a bunch of teachers, are IT illiterate. And, instead of TEACHING them how to actually use a computer, the answer is...to buy them iPads to try and avoid the issue.

No teacher has a right to complain about students not wanting to learn if they're not willing to learn how to use the tools required by their job.

And when are school boards and parents going to learn that throwing fancy new tech at a problem doesn't fix the problem...or even the symptoms of the problem? Changing tech doesn't fix things. Changing PROCESSES fixes things.

Re:IT Illertate Staff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306153)

And, instead of TEACHING them how to actually use a computer, the answer is...to buy them iPads to try and avoid the issue.

Sure, it costs time and money to teach people. They fell for Apple's "It just works!" marketing. Lots of people do.

And the moral of this story: (4, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305851)

Always test a deployment of new hardware within a single department, or smaller group, before implementing it throughout the building.

Restricted FileSystem and No Fine Movement Input (4, Insightful)

ad454 (325846) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305861)

My biggest gripes with my iPad3 as a work device are:

One's fingers does not provide fine movement input like a mouse, touchpad, or fine tip pen/stylus (like the Samsung Note/Note2), which is needed for creating decent graphical design work. (It is far easier to move a mouse, touchpad, or pen/stylus by a single pixel, then my finger.)

Proper unrestricted filesystem that lets you locally share documents easily and securely locally across different applications, without handing over your unencrypted work to untrustworthy 3rd party cloud services. Why could I upload my personal document to Apple's iCloud and download it again, just to open it up in a different app?

And proper cut-and-paste of graphical (non-text) objects between applications. Why can't I click on an image, powerpoint/keynote diagram, etc, and copies these into the clipboard, and then paste into a word/pages document or e-mail message?

Tools for different purposes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305867)

I don't know why people are always comparing the two. Tablets are primarily a content consumption device (unless maybe you tack on an external keyboard, and then you're basically back to having a laptop again.) The headlines ever since the iPad first came out was "PC's are out, tablets are the future!" or "Death of the PC Age". If you're doing a lot of typing, a tablet is less than ideal.

Feels like Im repeating myself... (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305895)

IPads have a definite role as ultra-mobile computers where laptops fail. Theyre fantastic for notetaking, textbooks, and mobile browsing. I just bought one for school and the iPad handles most of the lighter tasks and notetaking, even some diagramming and homework writing really well. Im the proverbial skeptic who became a believer. Laptop replacement? No but dont dismiss them because they suck for writing code.

Oh yeah. Sent from my iPad

Pages and Keynote (2)

cowtamer (311087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305913)

While I agree that tablets are currently consumption devices, the Pages (MS Word Equivalent) and Keynote (PPT Editor) are actually quite mature and tailored for the tablet. Add GoodReader to that (PDF editor/annotator) and you can do a LOT of day to day viewing and minor editing.

That being said, I'm typing this on my Windows laptop :)

This is why you run pilot programs. (2)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305923)

Honestly, this is an administration issue. Instead of cutting the entire school over to iPads in the classroom, they should simply have selected a couple of classrooms to try using them for a year. If the issues that crop up are insurmountable, the technology can be abandoned without significant disruption, cost and time wasted. This is the way we usually do things in business, after all.

Duh! (1, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305929)

Ipad's are for /consuming/ content, not making content. It's the one brilliant thing Microsoft got dead on right with the Surface tablet that is coming out.

The ipad is ultimately a toy, I work at a place that a /very/ large quantity of the things. I can assure you that they only productive thing they ever do is take notes during meetings.

I'll be curious to see if this carries over for the Surface when it comes out with it's native keyboard and USB support.

With a hammer everything looks like a nail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41305935)

Should be little surprise to learn that it's hard to do PC centric activities on non-PC devices.

Ipads are a fantastic complement to your IT/Computing needs but they're really only good for reading and viewing. I've got an ipad and I find myself picking it up for many activities that I used to do on the computer. It's much easier to flip open the cover and have everything instantly on and instantly there without all the clutter and mess that even a laptop brings. Reading email and light browsing now happens wherever I want it, whenever I want it. I can engage or disengage the devices a dozen times in the span it takes for my SSD equiped laptop to even boot up.

When it's time to game however, there's a desktop computer that weighs as much as 50 ipads and consumes more power in a few seconds than the ipad will go through in an entire charge. It can, however, play all the games I want as fast as I want and has a nice mechanical keyboard and a gaming mouse.

Different tools for different jobs. .. It should also be little surprise that microsoft office is the biggest pain in the ass. Microsoft likes you anchored to that 799 dollar suite. Did you think you'd ever get away from it with something as easy and as graceful as an ipad? Fat chance.

Not computers needed (3, Interesting)

slapout (93640) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305953)

Just teach the kids reading, writing and arithmetic. You don't need laptops for iPads for that. Use a good ole chalkboard. Then, once the children have mastered these basics, you can move them to computers.

It's a TABLET! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306075)

Wow, the IT Manager that allowed this to happen should be beaten with 100 iPads. Laptops have their place and tablets have theirs . . . . to have made the decision that these devices could replace the functionality of a real computer is just plain stupid.

Gotta be smarter than the average tablet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41306083)

The iPad (and probably other tablets) can be an excellent tool, but the user (or in this case maybe the "IT" department) needs to be smart enough to figure out how the properly use them. A iPad paired with a bluetooth keyboard and a few key apps is excellent as a full-computer replacement for many users. This sounds a lot like an inflexible IT department (we've all had to deal with them) not bothering to properly the learn the hardware they have been asked to support. Personally, I'll never own a laptop again, and I've quite successfully migrated many users away from laptops and to iPads. At our institution (educational, and where I am part of a flexible IT support staff) we do use remote access on the iPads to enable staff members to utilize functions on their desktop Macs when they wish to, both when on-campus and away. The results are nothing short of fantastic. Sure, you will always have those staff-member who simply can't (or won't) learn a new technology, but you do the best you can do. My guess is that I could go into that "failed iPad environment" and have everyone happy and productive within two weeks...

Hate to say we told them so... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306101)

but we told them so. WE TOLD THEM. They did not listen. And now? Vindication.

Input bandwidth (1)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41306155)

Touchscreens offer a smaller form factor at the cost of precision and input complexity. It essentially is for a device with very low input bandwidth which is why tablets are excellent for consumption of media, something that requires little input to navigate and then the majority of the activity is absorbing information. This is the same trade off you make with your phone but to a lesser extent. This is why the desktop computer is not going to go away anytime soon. The input method and display for a computer dictates it's form factor, a lot of netbook manufacturers even scaled up their models after realizing that going below a certain size harmed the display and input method too much. Until we make some huge breakthroughs in input methods the form factor of an ideal keyboard and mouse layout is going to be larger than we'd like to consider portable and thus there is no reason to not have a powerful non portable computing device that can be made at lower cost as a primary work tool if your job does not require you to be mobile.
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