iPad 2: Game Changing or Mind Changing
Here at Xelium, we think iPad 2 is going to make inroads for Apple where the first generation of iPad was slow to do. Schools would have had the opportunity to learn from early adopters and to make up their minds on how they can apply iPad to teaching and learning. There is also a big effort by the marketing geniuses at Apple to target the sector with free teacher and student training through Apple Academies which are being established in partnership with schools and colleges.
Many would agree that while the first generation of iPad did many things right, it had its share of shortfalls. To start, there were no front or back facing cameras, this meant no video or photo capture and no video conferencing capabilities. The lack of apps designed for iPad in the early days forced the user to be content with apps designed for iPhones and iPod Touch, zoomed to fit the screen. And finally, the lack of support for Flash means that a vast amount of existing learning resources on the web are inaccessible via the iPad.
But will this change with iPad 2?
The iPad 2 now comes with front and back facing cameras providing for the communicating, creating, editing and sharing aspects of learning, all of which are very important for a wholesome learning experience. We have seen the value of these with the iPod Touch where students used the camera feature to capture photos and videos and share this as part of their assignment and to communicate with children from other parts of the world through video conferencing.
The lack of support for Flash was a big disappointment to many people in the education sector. However, there is now a browser available in the AppStore that supports Flash content on websites albeit limited to only Flash videos and does not support Interactive Flash animation or games. The push towards HTML5, a new open web standard that does not rely on plug-ins means more websites will be designed to cater for the multiple devices including the iPad.
There is the old mindset of some, who will undoubtedly compare the platform to one which they are familiar with; how does this compare to a netbook, laptop or PC will it let me browse the network, edit my documents and run my PC applications? While not all thoese options are easily available, the iPad does present new ways of working and with 65,000 apps currently in the AppStore, there are bound to be applications that will let you do all that and more.
Next Page: Closing the Application Gap