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iPad E-Learning Rapid Authoring Blind Spots
February 5, 2013 - 9:00pm

There seems to be a good deal of chatter in the system about students eventually (or sooner) ditching laptops for tablets.  

Today, a student tablet is mostly synonymous with a student iPad - but maybe that will change in the future.  (Are you seeing your students carrying around Android devices?)

The story goes something like this.  Who needs a full laptop when an iPad is:

  • Cheaper than a laptop.
  • Easy to navigate with touch gestures.
  • Runs inexpensive apps - and apps are all you really need.
  • Works great for the web.
  • Is born mobile - particularly iPads with cellular connections.
  • Has a longer than laptop battery life.
  • Can connect an external keyboard for typing.

All of these bullet points have caused some to ask if students of tomorrow will stop bringing a laptop to campus.  

Count me as skeptical.  I'm thinking that we need to push back some on an "iPad only" bandwagon.  

Don't get me wrong. I like my iPad.  It is a great supplement to my laptop.  

I actually think it would be a great thing if everyone could have an iPad - and given the costs and benefits a 1-to-1 iPad program can be a great idea.  

Apple has done a really good job with its iTunes U and iBooks Author apps - secure and private method to distribute curriculum (articles and videos) to a course.

But we should be clear that iPads cannot do some things that are key for the student experience.

The big iPad gap, from my perspective, is the iOS inability to rapidly author rich media presentations.

What the iOS platform desperately needs is a simple tool to create a voice/video over presentation recordings.  

My kingdom for a TechSmith Relay like app that works on a Keynote slide deck! 

(This will go double when Microsoft finally gets around to releasing Office for iOS - as  easy video/voice over PowerPoint recording on an iPad would be great).

iOS makes it impossible for developers to write apps that access the microphone and camera while displaying in-app content.   You can create a video or create a just can't create a video/voice recording over a slide deck.

A robust rapid authoring app, one hooked into a backend media management and publishing system, would go a long way towards making the iPad a more serious learning tool.

Today, I use the iPad for content consumption.   

Yes ... perhaps it is possible to take notes or participate in LMS collaboration tools with one of those ridiculous iPad cover keyboards - but this still seems like a stretch to me.   Doable, but only with a workaround.

It is in the area of rapid authoring where the iPad really falls short.  And the student experience will (or should) increasingly be about multimedia authoring and sharing.

In this sense, the iPad is a step backwards for learning.

Please prove me wrong and share with all of us a robust rapid authoring and distribution app for iOS.


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