Experience has made me a believer in 1:1 technology programs.
There is something magical that happens when everyone is on the same platform. The work moves away from supporting the hardware and software to innovating and experimenting.
When every student comes to class with the same tools the instructor can be confident that any learning activities that integrate technology will work well.
1:1 programs also eliminate the inequalities that are present when some students have access to better tech than others.
Could the iPad Pro be a game changer for 1:1 programs?
Is the iPad Pro the right platform for blended, low-residency, and online programs?
Here are 6 reasons that argue in favor of at least finding opportunities to run some disciplined iPad Pro 1:1 experiments:
1 - Laptop Replacement: The big question about the iPad Pro is could this be the device that brings us fully into the online learning post-PC era? Is the combination of size, a keyboard, and improved apps really enough to enable our students to get all their work done on an iPad? Now that traditional productivity apps are iOS enabled, such as Office, is there really a compelling reason for our students to carry around both a laptop and a tablet?
2 - Size: At 12.9 inches, the iPad Pro is big enough to read documents in their native full size. All that screen real estate makes a difference when reading and annotating journal articles, chapters, and textbooks. The gap between the experience of working with paper and working on the screen may decrease to a point where working with the iPad Pro does not feel like a compromise.
3 - Keyboard: The combination of a full-sized software keyboard, and the external Smart Keyboard, may solve one of the persistent challenges that iPads have presented for teaching and learning. That is the need to write. Writing is the dominant mode of communication and creation in blended and online classes. Courses live or die in the discussion boards, blogs, and journals. Students need to write short and long papers. If the iPad Pro keyboard is actually workable for typing then one of the main objections to the iPad as a learning tool will have been met.
4 - Stylus: The Apple Pencil seems like a great tool to annotate curricular materials. This stylus may also open up new possibilities for quick communication and collaboration within a course. Could hand-written notes be a new form of discussion based collaboration?
5 - iTunes U: Apple has been quietly (too quietly) making improvements in its iTunes U app. This app has always been great for sharing text and media curricular content, due to its ability to update content dynamically and for students to download text and video for offline viewing. Apple has improved the course registration and student management features in iTunes U. The platform now has both a discussion feature and a gradebook tool that supports assignment submission. How far away is the iTunes U app from being a full-fledged LMS alternative? Apple has always said that they are not trying to replace the LMS, but you have to wonder if Apple may be willing to push into that direction with the iPad Pro.
6 - Apps: I’d be curious to hear from those of you working on 1:1 iPad programs about what apps have been most useful? The big frustration that I’ve always had with iOS and the iPad is that it has felt like a consumption more than a creation tool. But maybe my understanding of the iPad for learning is outdated. Have you found ways that the iPad can be used for rapid authoring of voice-over presentations and other student media projects? What other apps have you found that enable non-incremental improvements in student engagement and interaction?
What do you see as the pros and cons of the iPad Pro as a 1:1 platform?
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