Two new ubiquitous technologies for Education

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Wanted to post about two new technologies I am exploring for their ubiquitous impact on technology that I wanted to share… Both are currently being deployed, but as it is very early days, especially for Education, the ultimate uses of them in a learning context are yet to be defined.

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1. Google Glass – this falls into the current trend of ‘wearable’ technology – where a supplementary device like a watch or glasses communicate with your smartphone by bluetooth. This can be used for fitness data – or in the case of Google Glass – as an ‘in your field of vision’ interface for nearly all the main apps that an Android device would run. The best overview I have found so far is this video from early explorer David Kelly of the eLearning Guild. I have several friends with a set so will continue to monitor their opinions (which are of all perspectives from loving it to hating it).

 

2. iBeacons – this is the location-aware bluetooth technology that allows information to pop up on your smart device when you enter specific physical locations. its being used in retail to send alerts about sales to shoppers in the US, but in education it sounds perfect for libraries and museums. Basically, I envision using the set that I’ve ordered from Estimote.com to allow workshop participants who enter a physical area to receive a notification which then leads them to watch a video or view information (such as task instructions) specific to where they are – all triggered purely by them being in that space. I’m sure there will be many many other educational uses for this kind of tech also -

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Check out this quick video of what’s being done by fellow ADE Paul Hamilton here in Australia.

More info on my iBook about how we ‘do work’ in an post-PC, iPad world

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Hi everyone – there comes a time when every iPad using educator needs to contribute back to the communities that have fostered them. I’ve certainly had a great time doing that with Slide2learn – and for me that time has also come in the form an iBook. Its the culmination of a few years of plugging away with mobile devices and thinking that gee, not only do these look and feel different to a traditional computer, they can also do much of what a PC can, and lots more beside.

I’ve also always struggled with just how does when do ‘work’ on a smaller screen with simpler interfaces and skill requirements? The answer that many similar educators (and Kate Maccoll was the first I heard talk about) have come up with is the idea of workflows that chain a series of apps together to produce the end product.

Here’s some of what I’ve written – see if this makes sense from your experiences:

“So if the iPad is not a PC in the 1980-2010 vein, what is it? There’s a good reason why Steve Jobs chose to first demo the iPad while sitting on a lounge chair (see image at right). I myself am sitting on my couch re-watching Star Wars at 11:54pm on a device that still has 32% battery left despite being in use throughout the day by myself and my 5 year old.

This extra long battery then is one of the key factors that effect how work can be completed with an iPad, and set it apart from the need of PC’s to be tied to a more fixed location. 

Another is the simpler user interface that allows one to focus fully on each piece of work in turn. This means that instead of using a small number of powerful desktop programs that each do almost too many things as on a PC, a user employs a series of simpler apps that each do one thing well in a productive sequence. 

A third factor is the way files are managed. While a PC requires the user to firstly remember when to save files as well as where the files where stored and in what folder, iPad apps automatically save ones work within the app itself. 

Finally, the other key factor is the way touch and features like auto-sensing screen orientation create a unique experience while using the iPad (“it fits me”), something that makes it feel like the most personal of computers yet.

In listing what sets the iPad apart, I’m not suggesting that it is a replacement for all PCs, not yet. We still very much need those ‘trucks’ to deliver the computing backbone that the new era of mobile computers relies on. 

The iPad may evolve into a modular device with add-ons and docks once mobile chips catch desktop ones that can become both, but that idea also misses the point. It’s different, not wrong. And to get the most out of it when completing work, we need to ‘think different’ about how we use it.” 

Coming to grips with this is one thing – but adapting to it can be something else. That’s where the idea of workflows comes in:

Instead of thinking about doing ‘work’ as we do on a PC, lets instead take advantage of the unique characteristics of the iPad to do something different.

We’ve seen that these characteristics are the iPads long battery life, ‘fits to me’ personal nature, simpler interface, and ability to have users focus on one task at a time. When taken together, and matched with the experience of more than three years of iPad use, a new model of computing is emerging.

Across the web, and in the terminology of iPad users, this model is becoming known as ‘workflows‘ – where a chain of apps is employed to link tasks together to create the required final piece of work.”

One such example of a workflow is photography where on a PC users might use 1 or 2 programs. On an iPad one could use 5-6 apps in a seamless flow that is often faster and more powerful. So using a chain of apps like Camera – Snapseed – WowFX – Afterlight – Over – you can go from this:

to this:

Anyway, here is the official description and link – you’ll see its $1.99 – thats only really to cover the time thats gone into it - but its free if you’re ever in my corner of the world and come visit OR you can make it to Slide2learn.net 2014 in Sydney :) Hope it may prove useful.

Book Description:

“The iPad is not a PC. As obvious as that sounds, if the only computer you’ve ever used was mainly a box on a desk, or ran a desktop operating system with a physical keyboard attached, its only natural that the ways you attempt to use a new device will be dictated by the old paradigm. Instead of just sticking with such an approach, this book looks at the different ways that the PC and iPad have been designed to work, and then detail new ways that the iPad can be used for workflows, not just work“.

Download for iPad via the iBookstore or through iTunes on the desktop HERE.

My new iBook ‘The iPad is not a PC’

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Book Description:

“The iPad is not a PC. As obvious as that sounds, if the only computer you’ve ever used was mainly a box on a desk, or ran a desktop operating system with a physical keyboard attached, its only natural that the ways you attempt to use a new device will be dictated by the old paradigm. Instead of just sticking with such an approach, this book looks at the different ways that the PC and iPad have been designed to work, and then detail new ways that the iPad can be used for workflows, not just work“.

Only $1.99 to recoup development costs – I hope its ideas for maximising users investment in iPads will make it useful for a broad range of people. Enjoy :)

Download for iPad via the iBookstore or through iTunes on the desktop HERE.

 

Good positive coverage of tablets in Education

Want to point you all to this story published in major newspapers across Australia recently that gives a positive look at where tablets in Education are going rather than the ‘we did alright with pencils’ view thats often offered up. I was privileged to be interviewed for it:

SCHOOL technology is no longer limited to communal computer labs and a laptop lugged in every backpack.

Just as tablets, iPods and other handheld devices are changing the way we do things at work and play, they’re changing the way students learn … and not always in the manner makers intended.

A year ago Apple amped up its iPad push into the education market with the launch of iBooks 2. Apple’s worldwide marketing vice-president Phil Schiller described education as “deep in our DNA”.

Schiller’s pitch was for iPads to become a replacement for textbooks. But while iPads are replacing some books, the technology is also branching off in other directions, with tablets seen as creative tools by educators rather than something passive.

A recent look at 18 different studies into the use of tablets in education found the use of iPads could increase students’ test scores, improve engagement and increase students’ ability to work independently.

…”

To read the full article, including my contributions, go HERE.

The iPad mini review for Educators

“It seems to me that in the last 2 1/2 years, Apple have pretty much already done the work needed to explain to most people what the iPad is. And now, there’s a mini version – it really is that simple. Yes you might want to know its not just mini, it’s super thin and only slightly heavier than most phones. This in itself makes it an important entrant in the tablet world where half the point is portability. You might also want to know that it’s a solid slice of aluminum and beautifully constructed.

Beyond this, I’d probably also point out that Apple has done well in their goal of continuing to try and make the hardware disappear until all that you notice is the screen and the portals that apps open up for you. The keyboard (one which I’ve typed this whole article) is a little awkward in portrait, but I fixed that using iOS’s split keyboard option (the first time I’ve found a use for it). I would just also mention that the stereo speakers are great – quite loud and unlike no speakers in any iPad before. For me, the fact that there is space enough to include them in the mini makes it clear why Apple has moved to a smaller dock connector.

WHAT ABOUT EDUCATION?
Apple CEO Tim Cook reported during the iPad mini launch that 2500 US classrooms are now using iPads. He also stated earlier this year that in the preceding quarter Apple had sold 1 million iPads just to schools. In Australia the Sydney Morning Herald (1.7.12) has reported that 60% of Catholic Schools in the Sydney area have deployed them, with large official trials having been run by almost every state Education Department as well. If the figures I see in my day job and Slide2learn.net roles are anything to go by, there could be more than 70,000 iPads in schools across the country. So, yes, iPad is big in education. But what then does the mini’s smaller size and screen mean for learning?

So far since Friday I’ve personally seen the mini in the hands of just one kid, my own 5 year old. She is very taken by it, and I must say that seeing her with it vs the larger iPad 1 she normally gets to use, I feel happier as a parent that its lighter and more ergonomic for her to hold. She hasn’t had any troubles with the smaller iPhone-sized touch points that the smaller screen has (and neither have I).

There is actually a group of young students in New Zealand…”

Read the full review at: Mactalk.com.au

 

 

Will You Mini? 1st thoughts on the new iPad by a teacher

So the much awaited entry by Apple into the smaller tablet space has now been announced. You can as usual get all the details immediately at Apple.com. It does look, just like with the iPhone5, to be an amazing feat of engineering in regards to its fit and finish etc, areas that often set Apple products apart and for which people are prepared to choose time and again.

My feeling however for schools is that the US$329 price ($369 in Australia) is too high to really trigger a mass takeup. Perhaps it will come down in price over the next couple of years, but for now – although the cameras are better, in other respects its identical to the iPad2. For iPad buyers, that leaves the smaller size as the main differentiating factor – which may be great for being out and about, and maybe for P-3 students?

I’d be very Interested in the thoughts of P-3 teachers on if they’d prefer the smaller size or the full size iPad. Also – how many would choose the mini purely to save $50 or so over the iPad2 (which I’m very surprised they kept around)? Maybe if you were buying a lot?

There is one factor however that is highly in the mini’s favour – step outside of comparing the 16gb mini and 16gb iPad2 and it becomes a different comparison. Many schools I work with I know are finding 16gb too small nowadays – so with the mini you can get a 32gb mini model for $479 when the only other iPad with that option is the full iPad at $649 – that is a major difference beyond just the size.

(Also consider however that refurbished 32gb models of the larger 3rd gen retina iPad are also selling at only US$469 [or US$379 for 16gb] now as spotted by theverge.com).

 

What will be in iOS6 for educators?

What will be in iOS6 for educators?

Every year at this time, Apple has used the opening of its World Wide Developers Conference to preview what the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system will bring. Amongst the purported 200 new features we will see when iOS version 6 is released in our Spring (Fall in the USA), I wanted to detail three of those announced overnight that in my opinion will be most useful for educators and schools. While there is nothing quite on the level of AirPlay mirroring which we got last year, these are worth knowing about and planning for. I’ll also touch on something that might be a concern.

Accessibility – Guided Access mode

  • Mentioned only briefly as part of the accessibility options in iOS6, to me this may turn out to be the most useful new feature of iOS6 for educators as it allows a teacher to disable the home button effectively turning on a ‘single, one-app at at time’ mode.
  • I can see it being especially good for schools with shared sets of iPads and iPod touches and who need students to not accidentally or otherwise use certain apps. May also help those students who ‘multi-task’ a bit too much.

Do-not-disturb switch

  • This option in settings will allow users to halt all incoming notifications and alerts with one toggle – or to customise what is allowed and even when.
  • I see this as being a great new tool for busy educators and for students doing assignments etc – we’ll now be able to have designated ‘quiet’ time to concentrate on the task at hand without being distracted.

Siri for iPad 3

  • This will bring exactly what it says – rather than just the voice dictation that it debuted with, iOS6 will enable Siri for the new (2012) iPad. Strangely, rather than taking up the full screen to show you maps or information, a small (iPhone-sized) Siri window will pop up. Siri will also be updated to accept more commands such as opening apps.
  • For educators of students who are sight-impaired, having them be able to interact with their iPad simply by speaking will be a boon.
  • If you haven’t already, you might like to consider having students use headphones to keep all the voice chatter down.

 

 

The one concern I did want to note is one that could be said to come up anytime that we discuss how consumer devices like the iPhone and iPad can be ‘translated’ for use in Education. So in many schools for example, Siri or voice dictation (as opposed to the Voice-Over accessibility feature) won’t work through the standard network settings, and neither may notifications and alerts.

Ok, any I have missed? For the most comprehensive list go to iLounge:

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/whats-new-in-ios-6-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch-screenshots/

Computers aren’t so special anymore, but the kids may be better off: An introduction to mobile ‘appliance computing’ in Queensland schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

A strong case can be made that a revolution is underway in how computers are being perceived and used in schools across the world. In Australia it could be said Queensland is one of the epicenters of this change.

How do we know this? Several recent reports have shown that Australia has just about the highest uptake of smartphones and ‘mobile’ computers in the world.

  • Figures from analyst house Telsyte show that 1.4 million tablet computers were purchased in Australia in 2011 and that Australians are taking to tablets – especially the iPad – at a higher rate per capita than other countries (http://delimiter.com.au/2012/02/15/apple-australia-sold-1-million-ipads-in-2011).
  • The results of a Telstra Neilsen survey from July 2011 revealed that Australian smartphone ownership may already be as high as 46%, a 10% jump from 2010 (http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/download/document/fact-sheet-telstra-smartphone-index-2011.pdf).
  • Google research from September 2011 showed not only that Australia is number two in the world for smartphone ownership (behind only Singapore), but that Australians also download more apps than users in the US and UK (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/australias-white-hot-smartphone-revolution-20110908-1jz3k.html).
  • In Queensland, Optus reported that by October 2011, 55% of regional phone owners (traditionally a sector that lags behind in gadget adoption) had a smartphone (http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2011/10/14/smartphones-hit-regional-qld).

This high uptake of mobile computers could mean that Australia is a key place to observe the move from computers being seen mainly as specialised machines that sit in their own category, to one where they are readily available at hand to enhance learning. This process can also be described as a move towards ‘appliance computing’, where the low cost and wide-spread use of mobile computers reaches a point where society views them as expected utilities, or everyday appliances in the same category as TVs, DVD players or microwaves.

It’s a situation which may be the norm for many of today’s students. For example an informal survey of over 600 students conducted by the Principal at a lower-socio economic school north of Brisbane in 2008 showed that more students already owned a mobile device such as an MP3 player, Nintendo DS and digital cameras than used a PC regularly (and this wasn’t even counting mobile phones!).

This rapid uptake by the Australian and Queensland public is one of the two main factors supporting the belief that this country is in a position to lead the way in pioneering ‘appliance computing‘ in education. The second factor is the growth in availability of these devices in schools. While some teachers in Queensland participated in a small PDA (personal digital assistant) trial in 2005, and others purchased small numbers of Nintendo DS handhelds, it has really been the release of the iPod touch (and then iPad), as well as the introduction of the XO mini-laptop program from One Laptop per Child Australia (OLPC), that has boosted the numbers of devices in schools.

Twenty–eight schools across Queensland ranging from lower-socio economic schools in northern urban centers, to the most remote in the very far west and in the Torres Strait have now been joined the OLPC program. Some schools partner with OLPC to deploy only one class-set, while others such as Doomadgee have over 350 across years P-7. OLPC Australia has been recognised for its training program that focuses on educational outcomes rather than just the laptop itself.

In addition, With mobile phone subscriptions now outnumbering computers, TVs and even FM radios (T. Ahonen, 2010) to the point where by as long ago as 2004, 45% of 13-15 year olds owned one (Allison, 2004), it is inevitable that such devices are having an impact in Queensland. Much has been said about the parental responsibilities involved with students having mobile phones by experts such as the Queensland Governments bullying adviser Michael Carr-Gregg who has advised parents not to “outsource responsibility to schools” (Brisbane Times, October 26 2010).

There are many schools that have reacted responsibly to the high ownership of mobile phones by students by instituting mobile phone use policies that suit the needs and expectations of their communities as well as legislation and state policies such as those posted at http://education.qld.gov.au/strategic/eppr/schools/scmpr003. One example that can be googled forms part of the Drillham State School ʻResponsible Behaviour Planʼ (see p20).

Apart from the behaviour management side of the impact of mobile phones, there are many examples of teachers gaining prior-approval and taking advantage of the mLearning (or mobile learning) capabilities of such devices such as their portability, simplicity and potential for improving the personal learning productivity in ways that donʼt actually use the ʻphoneʼ capabilities but rather the devices other features.

One of the main educational uses sees old or second-hand mobile phones being used as audio and video recorders. At Tullawong State School Learning Support Teacher Jonathan Nalder employed an old phone in this way to allow students to listen back to their reading and correct their own errors. A Year 6 Teacher at Worongary State School has supervised students to use them as mobile sound effects recorders to capture sounds not available in the classroom that are needed for stop-motion video creations.

At Strathpine West State School, a year seven teacher has also used old phones to record student verbal responses which would otherwise be lost on those occasions when they are working outside the classroom. These same students have also used them capture images whilst on excursions for later integration into learning tasks back in the classroom. Senior students at Kelvin Grove State College, which has begun incorporating the use of reference Apps (or software applications) into its Science Department ICT Strategic Plan, are using phones that can download apps to allow learning tools such as calculators, timers, stopwatches, periodic tables and biology charts to be available on a much wider basis to support ‘just-in-time’ learning as it happens than was possible before.

Not all educational use of mobile phones is driven just by teachers however. A Physical Education Head of Department at Palm Beach Currumbin State School has had his students approach him to request permission to use their mobile phones to improve their learning productivity by recording lessons. This allows them to better concentrate on the class because they can now review and study what was written and said at their own pace later on.

It is widely acknowledged that tablet devices are also becoming more popular, and an official Department of Education trial of iPads was conducted in Queensland in 2011 in two schools (http://education.qld.gov.au/projects/educationviews/smartclassrooms/2011/feb/ipad-110224.html). As well, enough other state schools had also purchased iPads such that a site was established in 2011 in the online community known as the Learning Place to support them. Several private schools such as Redlands College and The Southport School have also run trials or initiated 1:1 deployments of iPads. The latest development is the policy of the new LNP government in Queensland to deploy 20 tablet devices to every special education school, and 10 to every school with a special education unit to support students with special needs.

While it would be easy to assume that schools are just jumping on the latest bandwagon, the reality is that innovative professional development is being conducted to maximize the use of these devices as enablers of learning. All teachers from schools who join the One Laptop per Child program receive an initial 15 hours of training, with options for further accredited training to become local expert trainer. Students also can receive certificates for learning and then through demonstrating their skills, including becoming an ‘XO Mechanic’ become qualified to pull apart and conduct basic repairs on the devices.

Schools using other mobile devices such as iPads have been able to access for some time, numerous training sessions provided by the Department of Education and Training’s ICT Learning Innovation Centre. This centre, which is based at the University of the Sunshine Coast, delivered several online and in-person iPad-related workshops in 2011, with others already also conducted in 2012. In addition, the Department’s Division of Indigenous Education and Training Futures ran an in-person day of mobile device workshops in Cairns in late 2011, and due to demand, this was expanded into a two-day forum known as ‘Learning@hand’ attended by 130 educators in April 2012 (http://www.learningathand.info).

What has the impact been of all of this activity? A number of research projects overseas show that mobile devices have had a positive impact on learning; for example one from Maine in the United States where kindergarten students’ literacy and engagement levels saw a dramatic increase when using iPads (http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/02/17/ipad-improves-kindergartners-literacy-scores). Indications closer to home also show similar improvements.

In one of the first documented iPad trials anywhere in the world, Trinity College (TCFS) in Victoria deployed devices across eight classes and conducted a number of surveys (with 106 responses). They found that not only did the use of paper dramatically decrease, but that iPads were “effective, durable, reliable and achieve their educational aims of going further, faster and with more fun” and that they “have advantages for TCFS over other technologies such as netbooks and laptops”. As well, 80% of students and 76% of staff indicated they would recommend the iPad for others as a learning tool. (http://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/Media/docs/iPadPilotReport2011-1b1e1a52-79af-4c76-b5b6-e45f92f2c9e9-0.pdf)

A pioneer in this area has been Hambledon State School in Cairns who initiated an MP3 player program in 2009 that has since expanded into a parent-supported and Showcase for Excellence Award winning iPod touch and iPad project that ran from 2010-2012. Results from students participating showed that the number of behaviour tickets issued decreased markedly, and that 96% of students themselves reported they were learning better.

In its trial of iPads with Year 9 students in 2011, Brisbane’s Kedron State High School found that 15 out of the 24 students involved “improved their performance in comparison to previous grades” and assessments (http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/pdf/ipad-trial.pdf).

At Doomadgee State School in far north west Queensland, use of XO laptops has been partially credited by the Principal Richard Barrie, with helping the school’s Year 3 students achieve what the Courier Mail described as ‘stunning’ results (http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/doomadgee-state-school-produces-stunning-naplan-results-thanks-in-part-to-technological-advancements-in-teaching/story-e6freoof-1226137211426) in national numeracy testing (results went from 31% to 95%, where the state average is 95.2%). Overall, the school, which has 350 XO laptops in total and 30 iPads, saw NAPLAN scores lift in 13 out of 15 categories.

Using community engagement as another measure of success; the recent explosion from 65 to over 100 Prep enrollments at one Cairns school who promised XO mini-laptops to their 2012 Prep students as a way of addressing a local ‘digital divide’ in access to technology.

So it is not just the increase in numbers, but the positive examples of mobile technology use in Queensland schools and the willingness of schools to engage with these devices as additional tools to enable student success that demonstrates the possibility and flexibility these devices value add to the technology toolkit available to students, families and teachers.

 

What does the new iPad mean for education?

Significantly, my number one item for how the new 2012 iPad will impact education is not the new 2012 iPad at all – its the fact that the 2011 iPad 2 is now much more affordable for schools – $100, or a permanent 20% discount in fact. And if schools take the tip of buying refurbished units when they can (these still have the full warranty) you can now get an iPad 2 for US$349.
The screen. I don’t think anyone will start off talking about the boost to ram, the additional graphic cores etc. I’m guessing that the sharpness of the screen will be the number one new feature that people purchase the new iPad for. For students (and readers in general), I’m positing that there will be less eye strain – a good outcome for schools that are deploying iPads to large numbers of students.
The camera. Sure most schools have separate digital cameras for taking photos and video recording, and yes the iPad is a little hard to hold for this kind of thing, but as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you – so there will be times when being able to capture decent shots without having to reach for another camera means action gets captured that would otherwise be missed.
The specs. Ok, perhaps in terms of future-proofing, schools may choose to spend the extra money on the new iPad simply so they know that the device will be usable for a longer period of time due to its extra ram and processor speed. iPads typically support more years of updates than other tablets already, but $100 or so for an extra year or two that you don’t have to replace your iPad fleet could be significant for some institutions.
Voice dictation. Maybe not so vital for the everyday student, but for those with physical disabilities or even just those that think in more auditory terms, this could prove a very useful addition. Pity its not the full Siri voice control as well though.
200,000+ tablet apps. All the great hardware in the world is useless unless there is software to run on it, and the iPad has this in spades. Many schools are looking at Android tablets for various reasons at present, but the fact that there are only a few hundred tablet apps, and because experienced educators such as this one see them as only a gadget, not platform choice for schools makes those 200,000+ choices all the more pertinent.

A ‘know-why’ guide to iBooks Author

Its well known that giving easy digital content creation tools into the hands of more teachers and students is a great way to encourage focus on higher order thinking skills in the curriculum. For schools with Macs and iPads, the release of Apple’s iBooks Author software in January made this even more possible.

Attached to this post is 1.0 draft of a ‘know-why’ guide to using iBooks Author to make digital content thats localised and personalised just for your students. Download and enjoy, plus leave comments if you have questions or feedback.

To load, just download directly onto an iPad with iBooks 2 installed, and tap ‘open in iBooks’, or download to your PC and sync via iTunes.

I’ll also attach a PDF version for those who want the info but don’t currently have access to an iPad with iBooks 2 installed.

DROPBOX DOWNLOAD LINKS: 

(If tapping to download on an iPad, please wait 1-2 mins for the download screen to appear, then several more while it downloads)

UPDATE – have taken the iBooks file link down as enough time for the feedback version to be up has passed. Will post the final one hopefully in the near future.

iBooks file link (45mb)

PDF file link (51mb)

Easy HTML5 Animations in iBooks using Tumult Hype and iBooks Author

I’m sure a whole ecosystem of support products will arise to help educators get the most out of the interactive features in iBooks Author – 3D object galleries etc. The tips below are even better in that it concerns a program that’s already out so you can start right now:

Thoughts on a Post-PC era Phase 2 – Tablets and ‘Appliance’ computing

I hold very strongly to the idea that there are two ‘tablet device’ markets – the first is the much older ‘slate PC’ one that saw PCs and laptops gain expensive convertible options around 2003. These slate PCs are still around today and provide a reasonable compromise between a full PC and touchscreen device, but generally come with a higher price. One still has to know how to operate a full computer to use one.

 

Since the rise of smaller, mobile devices that mark the start of a Post-PC era, elements of ‘full computing’ have increasingly become available as part of their feature sets. Such things as the light productivity of email and web surfing, as well as viewing and consuming documents and media can all now be done almost anywhere at anytime, and with better battery life and often direct touch control. I have been calling these ‘Tablet PCs’, but the launch of the Amazon Fire tablet has got me thinking that phase 2 of the Post-PC era is upon us, and that we should instead be using the term ‘appliances’, or ‘Appliance computing’. Why?

 

In phase 1, I think large segments of the tech industry and their user base have stuck to the idea that a slate or tablet computer should just be the classic PC plus touch, and nothing else really needed changing. When the iPad debuted and didn’t try to be just a PC-replacement, it really messed up all these notions and led to nearly two years of discussion about what a tablet PC should be. Most similar devices released since by Motorolla, Samsung, Sony, RIM etc have tried to hedge their bets by ape-ing the form factor while still advertising their ‘PC’ features – USB ports and multi-tasking. Perhaps they do offer a useful middle ground or transition zone for those used to the PC-only era, but the general public has not adopted them in numbers any greater than they did the previous convertible Slate PCs. So what have they been adopting?

 

I think we all know. Not a tablet focused on being a PC replacement, but one that I see as having deliberately left-out USB ports and as many buttons as possible so it can’t be confused as a PC. Now for almost the first time since it debuted, a tablet is being released by a major player that also doesn’t seek to be seen as a PC-replacement. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a touchscreen eReader and media consumption tablet – and e-Content appliance basically – and at US$199 is also priced as such. So now that another ‘tablet as appliance’ device by a major company has entered the market, I think this space just got a whole lot clearer – Slate CPs for the older and smaller ‘PC in a tablet’ proffessional market, and and ‘appliance tablets’ for everyone else. Which market would you like a company that you hold shares in to target?

 

NB. Of course what I haven’t stated is why the appliance tablets are the ones that are selling – just for the record – its because they are simpler (and in many cases, cheaper).

NB2. Of course Microsoft’s Windows 8 on tablets may muddy this space again in 2012, but I think you can see that if all it does is go for the ‘a tablet and PC should be the same’ model, then they will miss the ‘computing for everybody-else’ potential of the Post-PC era.

NB3. Of course these are my own thoughts entirely and don’t necessarily reflect those of my employer or other professional groups of which I am a member.

Post PC phase 2 – appliance computing 2.pdf Download this file

Posted via email from Jonathan Nalder

iPad 2: whats in it for education?

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So, version 2 of the device that has spurred the tablet computing market into the mainstream over the last 12 months (15 million sold) has been announced. Despite being a consumer device, it has seen massive adoption by professionals in business, medicine, and education. In Australia, there are iPad trials occurring in nearly every state, with over 500 deployed officially in Victoria alone. So it only follows that there will be great interest in the next version (to be released in Australia March 25). Here are the top 3 things that iPad 2 has going for it as far as education is concerned:
1. Screen Mirroring – Almost from day one of the release of the original iPod touch, the number one question that educators have asked is “can I display the screen on a projector or tv?”, and the answer has been “no”, then “no, but yes if you use a document camera”, then “yes some apps can, but its still limited”. Now FINALLY, the iPad 2 (and presumably all iOS devices going forward) will support full screen mirroring of everything via the VGA cable or the new HDMI cable. For showing apps and using the iPad as a shared whiteboard etc, this is a huge leap forward.
2. Lighter – apparently the new iPad is 15% lighter – just enough of an improvement to make it more usable by students. I know my first generation iPad does get heavy even for my adult arms after 15mins or so – for primary school students especially, the weight drop might be just enough to allow for extended mobile use of iPads without as much hand/arm strain.
3. Price drop of the old model – for now at least, the iPad 1 has had its price dropped by large amounts – up to AU$200 on some models – so its a great time for schools with limited budgets (ie all that I know) to do a learning and management plan, then purchase iPads at the cheaper price point.
So what does the iPad not have yet for education? As mentioned above, the iPad is a consumer device – its not been designed with the needs of education in mind specifically. So we still need a good system for managing and syncing more than a few iPads. We also need clarity around education use off apps and iTunes content. The hope is that the app volume licensing program available in the US will be extended overseas and enhanced with provision for iBooks and music/movies as well as apps. For Mac users, the next version of the Mac OS (due in around 6 months) will reportedly include iOS device management built in. Until then, proceed with caution; join an online iPad in education community, and create a good learning/management plan as always!
Planning resources:
www.slidetolearn.info – beginners guide for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone in Education (updated regularly)
21 Steps to 1-1 – planning guide for deploying technology in education (this one is laptop specific – adapt for your device) http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/pdf/scbyte-21steps.pdf
21 Steps to iPad success – Victorian Education department version of 21 Steps guide specifically for iPads http://asp-uk.secure-zone.net/v2/index.jsp?id=639/684/1625&lng=en
iPad in Education networks:
> Slide2Learn iPad/iPhone/iPod touch learning community and events.
> iPad4Edu iPad for Education Question and Answer site.

Posted via email from Jonathan Nalder’s posterous