More thoughts on iOS5: “Its the how not what” #slide2learn #ADEANZ #iPadEd #Post-PC

Now I’ve had some time to read different reports and reactions (including probably 200 blog comments both pro and negative) to the massive range of Apple announcements today, it seems to me that as usual, most writers and pundits are missing the point. What was announced was a range of interconnected communication services, many of which are actually already available on other platforms. One could spend days discussing these features like new notifications, integrated twitter, camera using volume button as shutter, PC-free syncing and backup etc – a bit like how some like to discuss the raw specs such as processing speed and video card RAM whenever new computing hardware comes out. But one day after we purchase a device, the specs become meaningless - how usable the computer / device is on a day to day basis becomes all that matters. 

Of course only developers who have downloaded the iOS beta know if the new features like notifications work. And only when iCloud is released will we really know if Apple have tied all the features together in a seamless, uber-usable way – but I posit that that is the true test of all these features - not what they are as much as how well they work. 

I’m happy to wait for the best (read most usable) not first solution to the cloud or video calling or multi-tasking; others may not. I do know I downloaded the free Lonely Planet ‘best in Travel 2011′ today on my iPad and minutes later when I opened iBooks on my iPhone, it was already there at the exact same page (this is one iCloud feature that has been released already) – no extra software to install or register for, just a new button appeared in settings and I tapped it – one less thing to ‘fiddle’ with; I get on with interacting with and creating content. Sure this idea has been around for a while – its what Dropbox does for files and Kindle does for its non-ePub books – but putting it all together system wide in a way that I don’t have to fiddle with – thats the how and thats the hard thing to do.

Posted via email from Jonathan Nalder’s posterous

What does the new #iOS5 mean for Educators? The device better fits to me. #slide2learn #edApp #iear #iPadEd #ADEANZ

There were a huge amount of new mobile operating system features announced today for the iOS iPad and iPhone platform, including the fact that there are over 200 million iOS devices out there, making it the leading mobile platform (44%). There are over 425,000 apps available now also. Its one that large amounts of educators are leveraging to enhance their teaching and learning – so here is a summary (based on the TUAW top ten http://www.tuaw.com/2011/06/06/ios-5-previewed-at-wwdc) of what they mean for educators:

1. Notifications – now appear rather than popping up – and you can slide on them to go directly to the relevant app.

- for educators this is a nice productivity change, with notifications now slightly less interrupting but with a faster way to act on them when in the middle of busy lessons. Plus you’ll be able to see previous notifications also so you can ignore them as they come in if needed, but look them up later.

2. Newsstand – an app to hold all magazines you are subscribed to – another small productivity gain by simplifying the process of accessing these resources.

3. Twitter integration – you’ll only have to sign in to twitter once in settings, rather than for every separate twitter app, and posting to twitter is now integrated in the camera and photos app (although I’ll keep using posterous like I am right now to send to multiple services). Twitter will also be able to access your contacts. Its not quite the full integration of some mobile devices like HP WebOS, but for educators like myself for whom twitter is a personal learning network lifesaver, these small improvements could really add up.

4. Safari – additions include tabbed browsing in Safari for iPad, and the ‘reader’ function to simplify and de-clutter what you see when reading articles on the web.

- For educators who haven’t had the chance to install a tabbed browser like iChromy or an app that already uses ‘reader’ like Zite or Reeder, I guess it will be nice to have these as part of your own and students standard build.

5. Reminders – now include location information – lots of possibilities here, for instance setting reminders for where you are, not just when …

6. Camera – big big improvements here – including easier access right from the lock screen and the ability to use the volume button to snap images. Also will have a built in image editor. For classrooms, faster access to the camera just means more learning moments can be captured for later annotating and collaboration and sharing, and being able to edit straight away without even switching apps means students (and educators) will hopefully become better visual communicators by practicing better framing (cropping) before sending images on.

7. Mail – will have several new features – key for educators I feel is better search (full text) of old emails containing just that lesson idea or learning link you’d forgotten etc. y favourite will be the ability to flag or star emails for later attention – again making it easier to finish one lesson or task, but still go back to important emails later – thus the device better fits to me, rather then me changing my day to fit it.

8. PC-free – you can now activate your new device and get uodates over the air. When Steve Jobs was talking about the post-pc world back in January and many tech writers pointed out that iOS devices were still tied to PCs for even activation, I guess he knew this was coming – so now Post-pc can really mean no PC is needed – even syncing can be done over wifi now, which will have huge implications for the schools and colleges who have spent up big on syncing carts and trolleys…

9. Game Centre – not much to say here – but I’d love to hear from any educator who is A. allowed to use the service by their jurisdiction, and B. has some good ideas for how to use it for teaching and learning.

10. iMessage – a Blackberry-like messaging system – will have to see this one to know how it might be useful. It has a reciept system though so if used with students, you could always track back and say ‘yes I know I did send you that assignment reminder’.

11. There are a few other great new features also:

- Screen mirroring by wifi – wow, this really frees educators to present and display lessons and interactive content and student responses etc without having to be stuck in one spot next to the projector. Previously I’ve used Airsketch to do this in a limited way.

- Personal dictionary – I’d imagine this means that the terms specific to your teaching area will be learned by the device – hopefully reducing the auto-correct errors we’ve all come to know and love.

- Improved Facetime quality – a real boon for those in the deaf community using Facetime to make calls where they can sign to eachother.

Posted via email from Jonathan Nalder’s posterous