Forget pen, paper and textbooks: here comes the iPad

Apparently there is a school in Tennessee in the United States that is about to make ownership of an iPad compulsory for all students. The school in question decided not to renew all of its 700 computers (an amazing equipment infrastructure by our standards over here) and instead is focusing on having iPads as the computing norm. Leaving aside affordability, in terms of the future of computing this is probably a shrewd move. Desktop computers and even most laptops may soon be a thing of the past, and the new wave of tablet computers may take their place, gadgets that will combine computing with entertainment and broadcasting.

I suspect that some universities will be looking at similar measures. There are, for gadget lovers (and iPad owners) like myself, interesting times ahead.

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12 Comments on “Forget pen, paper and textbooks: here comes the iPad”

  1. Al Says:

    Richer and smarter?

  2. Jilly Says:

    In order to do this, universities would have to adopt the model (quite common already with laptops in US colleges, I know) of simply issuing each student with their own iPad when they arrive in college, and let them keep it. This alone means it won’t be happening in Ireland!

    • Padraig McKeon Says:


      An iPad for every student has already been proposed for Trinity College by Des Fitzgerald who is a candidate for Provost there. His thinking is not fanciful or ‘market led’. It is one step in a practical response to overcoming a struggling IT infrastructure by moving to using the cloud.

  3. Anna Notaro Says:

    For the record, Amazon is about to launch its on iPad as early as June it seems and others (Samsung Motorola, BlackBerry, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba)
    will follow, whatever ‘Apple lovers’ might think this is great news for all potential users..

  4. Mark Dowling Says:

    Hilarious. Universities talk the talk about academic freedom but impose compulsory ownership of one of the most locked down devices out there. I guess we won’t be seeing Flash used to create any content, for one thing.

    Deliver course documents electronically by all means but allow the student the freedom to choose from a decent selections of devices to learn with, whether it be an iPad, a Win7 slate, an Android tablet or something else. As it stands, for example, a student will almost certainly need two devices since the iPad requires iTunes for several critical functions.

    • anna notaro Says:

      True Mark, the issue of compatibility among different (tablet)devices will become ever more crucial, I already envisage the creation of a new professional figure dealing specifically with this!

  5. Vincent Says:

    I think the problem will arise with price and the probable yearly change and upgrades of the hardware and the yearly software license charge.
    This has all the feel of something that will become hugely expensive unless something of a standard valid for a number of years arrives quick-smart. One cannot help but think on the in-built obsolescence of nineteen fifty’s motorcars.

    • Mark Dowling Says:

      The irony here is that the university sector has the opportunity of using patent free technologies to generate truly rich environments, and it can do so using bespoke environments or branded shared environments.

      What matters is consistent delivery on *client* devices using either web technologies or open APIs to allow interested parties to develop their own front ends to the data. Of course, it doesn’t help that, for example, Apple is now squeezing web apps by refusing them access to the same javascript engine in iOS4.3 that iTunes App Store apps done, when called from an icon rather than within the browser.

  6. evertb Says:

    While I can see the very strong argument for an inclusion of digital materials and tablet devices in education I would strongly oppose the use of an iPad. Part of the ethos that education should instil in a student is to open their mind. Apple enforces one of the most restrictive DRM policies & software policies in excistence which is geared only to create more profit.
    Any device introduced into the learning process should use an “open source type” ethic.

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