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iPads in class. Reasons AGAINST please.

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by roy33, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Actually they can't.
    MyMaths is a Flash app (NJB has an Android tablet). Apple won't allow Flash because they want to lock down App sales.
    If you didn't use Flash you'd use Javascript, which on an iPhone is slooooow. Fast enough to do your app though, though animation is sluggish, though getting better.
    Indeed. And when you can get GCSEs in angry birds, twitter, facebook, youtube and **** then that'll be a great argument.
    Actually PCPro tried this a month or two ago, and concluded basically they couldn't do it.
    That's not the alternative. Spending money on something worthwhile might be better.
    All your arguments are well rehearsed, having been used to justify every pointless techno-spend since punched cards were invented.
    Note: this is the point where you call me a luddite.
    On my desk within reach I have : 3 FPGA boards, 2 Arduino boards, a PIC32 Arduino type board, a Microchip Microstick, two MSP430 Launchpads, two other Atmel boards, three tablets, three smartphones, a tube half full of AVR8515 40pin DIPs and this PC. And a pile of electronic components. Don't have a Raspberry PI yet.
    This is because I really hate modern technology.
    To balance it, I do have a MB Microvision collection and one of the Arduinos is doing a video and CPU emulation of the Mark 8 (an early 8008 based computer from the 1970s).

  2. Gotta love the old b*&£$*d.
  3. Artismuk

    Try to step aside from the fear of the world passing you by at an intergalactic pace and make your, now close to 15,600th post, less about insider knowledge on a web browser and post something about something people can actually try out.

    That is really what a forum is for and what we teach children to do online as well, is it not?
  4. This is a way of saying "I can't deal with this discussion, be quiet".
    Yet another poster who has just joined to push iPads. It is fascinating that virtually all the pro iPad at any cost posters all seem to have very low post counts.
    Teachers who have been here a long time and have contributed a lot (e.g. DJP) to other teachers are the ones who express reservations.
    Why do you (apparently) assume I don't have an iPad ?
    I've heard all these arguments before (repeatedly), mainly people desperately attempting to justify ill thought out purchases and systems. Class sets of netbooks, laptops. Those little Acorn gadgets with a little keyboard and LCD screen.
    The reality is that tablets are in a huge state of flux.
    Apple will, eventually, lose to Android irrespective of the quality of the software (which is pretty and gimmicky more than anything else) on price and openness (leading to the software base) as is happening with phones. Same reason Windows beats Macintosh. This is why Apple push the 'trendy' line so much.
    Technology is developing very quickly, so any tablet is going to be obsolete in a year or 18 months. It is rather like digital cameras ; eventually they will become commodities like phones where they are cheap enough to throw about. But they aren't there yet, and there will be (as there are) lots of expensively purchased digital cameras that are worse than a £10 phone camera you can buy from Tesco. I have one on my desk (the luddites desk that is full of technology)
    I've actually looked at the software Alex West is pushing - it's a free lossleader - it runs on my old iPhone 3G. What does it actually do ? Well it displays a screen with "calculator" on it, and a series of sums, to which you type in the answer. It is time limited. The novelty is that you can compete against another player which is good. But that's all it is. I'm not saying it's rubbish by any means, just that it's nothing new besides running on iOS.
    Some other poster listed a pile of software that was supposed to make the iPad a must buy. I looked at some of it. Nothing there particularly unusual or outstanding.
    To answer the specific point about the browser, it shows precisely what is wrong with Mapple. The browser (Safari) is currently stuffed, partly deliberately, possibly all deliberately. On my PC box, Linux box, Android devices and even iMac I can download Firefox, Opera, Chrome, use IE and there are probably others I don't know about.
    With Mapple I don't have a choice. I am stuck with whatever they dump on me. I can't even (as many have asked) retrograde to iOS 4 which actually works reasonably. (Apple have a smart new engine which doesn't work on countless sites that do anything complex with the browser). (Opera Mini can't do it either which is probably why it's allowed - no reason why the iPad can't have bona fide Opera, Chrome or Firefox)
    Why ? It's not because it's impossible ; things like redsn0w actually allow you to do it. The reason is it's all tied up with Apple's lock-in. Most of their 'upgrades' are actually about locking out the hackers who convert the iPad or iPhone into a more useable device simply by allowing it to be used as it should be.

  5. AlexWest/AlexWatt I don't mind,
    I'm beginning to get a feel for where you're coming from and I don't disagree with a lot of it. I used to dislike Apple systems with a passion for exactly the same reasons - regarding being locked into a way of doing things. In a similar vein using bought off the shelf libraries to aid development locked you into the inherent bugs and workarounds required to perform tasks.
    Techie bit: one of my students is basing his hardware project on an Arduino board: I was one of the first to develop on the 8086 (in 1982) creating an interrupt driven system with round robin scheduling for Marconi Radar: I was getting no help from Microsoft when MS Visual C++ was initially introduced as it was so new and what we needed to accomplish was beyond their vision: I was working with BP to develop a world mapping emergency response system with the thoughts of incorporating GPS well before SatNav came on the go: I am well versed on technical development.
    I got my first 3rd Gen iPod touch as a controller for a HiFi system: in no way did I think that I would be supporting Apple in any such way. I was really impressed by the response of the device and the natural interface it made connecting myself with the music. After working with various handhelds in school - like Ti-84 and now even worse the Ti-NSpire: I considered having such a device to help with learning in class. The available apps (far and wide) seemed gimmicky [but possibly more appealing with the fancy graphics and sprites] to me; however there are a few that really do help productivity - may discuss that later.
    I liked the idea of developing using Flash for two reasons: I wanted to animate and present a "richer" view for pupils (being locked into using Smartboards) AND I was aware that iPods could not use Flash so I saw an opportunity for having a free version of a presentation in class which could be downloaded on to individuals' devices at home at a cost. My first app using Flash was for helping with logarithms which pupils universally find difficult. Many had complained about Apple devices not working with Flash so I thought this may be a way forward. I have tried my Flash apps in class, however they have limited merit, usually a starter or ending to lessons. Pupils were sort of engaged but more was missing. It became more of a nightmare when the school's IT decided to disable Flash altogether in their browser - very frustrating.
    Getting to the point: pupils do like their iPods/ and they do want to use them for school too - whether that be a calculator or another thing: so why not get on the Apple bandwagon and try to go with the flow. I'm trying this for a while: I can't say I'm successful; however I do see potential (in terms of learning) from this direction - otherwise I wouldn't be so passionate and dedicated.
    Plugging my app: multiple choice (boring - been done before) - yes, but with the same level of differentiation? - drills and practice which users can get make use of from a 5 year old's level (like my youngest) to myself (fairly numerate Maths teacher). Timing and storage using Objective C is far better/ efficient than using Flash targetted to an iPod. Stored results show progression therefore encourage. But there is also great potential in using bluetooth and mini-challenges: we are aware of the breadth of ability in classes, so normally head-to-head challenge is out of the question: however when one pupil is adding figures up to 10 (for example) and they are head-to-head with a more able pupil who is doing times tables (up to 12) - there is normalisation in the classroom - the impact of this is more than just practice, but also a social impact. I also envisage a classroom of pupils with these devices, practising their Maths, but some playing head-to-head every now and then - so what about the teacher role: as a supervisor and guide: using their TeacherApp to monitor and record activity for playback or real time display - or even setting who plays who at what levels with which trainers. This is well within the capability of these devices. Pupils are more socially aware, but they still need to practice or do their drills to get on in subjects. (and I don't see Maths as being the end - consider English grammar/ French verbs/ Geographic Facts/...). Teachers need to be enabled to stand back from the admin and let the computers do it - from recording to reporting.
    iPod touches (3rd generation) will become much cheaper and accessible for schools, yet they are capable of a lot. New technology may well overtake Apple in hardware terms, but Android platforms for example, each will have their own quirks: consider using Titanium for cross-platform Android development - with different target platforms there are minor tweaks to get things to work properly/ in more complex systems Titanium starts to fall apart (or so I am led to believe from investigation). The very first thing to put teachers off using technology is when it stops working... Something I'm sensitive about because I don't know how well my bluetooth will work with whole class usage.
    Anyway, if you have read this far, thanks for your time. I really need to get back to development (that's 22:17 and after a day at college and domestic duties I haven't started my little MacBook and XCode yet today).
  6. A much more reasonable, reasoned and interesting post, Alex.
  7. Thanks for the more positive feedback: what did you find interesting?
  8. This is a good point. I would also add that IME quite a lot of Flash apps for education are too focused on the purely visuals, and not either the "game" part of the app or the "educational" part.
    I was looking at a Bitesize game which did some Maths thing, can't remember what, and it was dressed up with a huge prologue where some bloke from the future sends a message back so you could save the world c/w graphics, video etc. but the actual game core bit was really quite simplistic.
    Most of the work I suspect went into the first bit which was nice but was really just an introduction you wouldn't bother with twice.
    I was tinkering with an iPhone 4S yesterday (same hardware more or less) and the improvement over my old 3G is jaw-dropping.

  9. On the note of iPhone hardware:
    I was given the unfortunate task of replacing the back of an iPhone 3G (present for my wife) before Christmas. It was a nightmare: everything had to be dismantled to change the back: about 7 connectors wiring parts together: inside there is:
    touch screen
    processing unit (quite large - contains hard drive, etc)
    audio unit
    motor (for vibration)
    SIM card reader unit
    battery consists of "potentially explosive" rubbery block glued to back
    audio jack, switches, and wiring to various parts of unit
    I believe the series 4 is a lot more friendly in terms of dismantling and reassembling.
    Youtube was a great resource for finding out how to dismantle, replace and reassemble (I'm sure Apple wouldn't provide this). However it consisted of locking myself in my study for 8 hours and laying out the small bits and pieces in order, with a detailed list of actions taken.
    I was amazed at the technology and design that has to be inside each and every smartphone.
  10. No. iMovie, GarageBand, and other projects that involve digital media need a significant amount of storage space. My argument would be against using iPads for these types of projects, as the iPad versions are very 'stripped' down. Creativity is limited to a few templates, such as 'movie trailer'.
  11. mercer77

    mercer77 New commenter

    I work in special needs and have very successfully used imovie on ipod touches to make short news reports. The fact that it is very stripped down and simplified is a real bonus in that situation, as it allows the pupils to focus on the learning outcomes I want (writing and performing a script) rather than being distracted by unnecessary complications. I showed one to another teacher in the school who was amazed that I got one pupil to read in front of a camera - his confidence in his abilities is very low. I am now using imotion on the ipods to make stop-motion animations which has been very successful with some pupils. In terms of storage space, the apps are pretty big and do take a lot of storage but the 8gb ipods I have are fine. As long as you delete off projects once they are done with and exported then there's plenty.

    I've genuinely mixed feelings about schools buying ipads (complete waste of money in the wrong hands) but the above examples could simply not be achieved in our school using cameras and PCs - it would be far too complicated. The fact that they can achieve quality outcomes with very portable and simple to use equipment is great.
  12. I don't know if iPads are THE answer but I'm sure that eventually mobile devices will be - as shown by this article from the BBC

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17916879 (see forth photo down)

    I've seen iPads used in Science as a web browser for research and collating evidence. An expensive solution but no leads, space efficient and longer power times than a laptop trolley. I've seen them used by groups in learning areas to write, record and develop poems for English.

    The issue is likely to be with the power/capacity and until thats cost-effective its not worth it. I've just upgraded from iPad to iPad3 because pages, numbers etc was too hangy on the old iPad. We had the same problems at our school with the original EeePC - cheap and cost effective notebooks yet too slow to be of any real use. A desktop costs ~£300 if you are a school and thats going to take some beating.

    There are 100s of excellent apps available for the iPad and available online which we are right to want to use in order to promote learning but the iPad does not necessarily need to be the platform. The ability to synchronise between devices is key.
  13. Tablets and handheld devices are excellent tools for project based work; you can use them as reference tools for; books, videos and web content. If you are lucky enough to have Ipads in your school you will see that they can open up new pedagogies e.g. you don't all have to sit in rows staring at a screen, the tablet can become a focal point in which students can sit around and discuss their work, potentially a lot more productive.

    In answer to some of the issues raised in this forum:

    - Tablet sales growth is 274% (2010-2011) vs 2.3% for desktops, in 2015 tablets will outsell desktops. The Institute for the Future did some interesting work on workforce skills for 2020 - using mobile devices certainly compliments this.

    - Students have access to free cloud storage (much better than the sweaty server rooms in your school, what a waste of space?). Take advantage of free services like 'Otixo' that aggregate your cloud services.

    - You can print from Ipads.

    - You free up a lot of space and clutter (no more leads or huge monitors)

    - Apps like Linoit and Voicethread allow teachers to do comprehensive formative assessment as well as give the the less confident students a voice.

    - The design that goes into Apple products is second to none; both usability and aesthetics (although other manufacturers are doing a great job as well!)

    - Students do value these devices and often will suggest new ways of using them.

    - Programs like Evernote work across all of your devices so if you have desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets you can keep all of your students work in the right place.
  14. I thought this thread was dead. However, after various consultations with lecturing staff who have used whyPads productively in teaching they agree that they have to become personalised - i.e. a part of their person, so to speak. With that they can increase their productivity because they are using their iPads in a way that is right for them.
  15. Quite so Alex. Class sets of iPads/iPod touches don't make all that much sense to me, one to one deployments do. To be of real value, each child needs to have their own iOS device so that it's an electronic textbooks/note taking facilitiy/ video creation/ photo storing ect device. A straight forward calculation of 'textbooks cost x amount in print, iPad costs y amount, iPad fails' is the wrong way to look at it all.
    Regarding your maths trainers Alex. First of all, well done. You have clearly put a lot of time and effort into them. To set up a company, go through all the traumas of learning the different programming language and then trying to get your message out to schools; well, you have my heartfelt admiration.
    I've had some of my pupils use the apps on their iPhones during form period and with good results, the students enjoyed the activities and playing head to head was a great bonus. Just a few UI suggestions (not criticisms). Having the 'well done' or 'oops' message might be better if it was immediately under the calculation, that way you could move down the multiple choice section and make it closer to the 'next button', less movement = better user experience. Also, there seems to be a little bit of space wasted on the screen, perhaps the calculation itself could be a little bit bigger?
    All of those are minor things though, you have a nice well thought through product and with a free version available, then why not give it a go? Lets hope that TES make it a little easier for people to flag up free versions of apps they have made.
    As regards a commercial venture Alex, I wish you all the best with it and hope that you have success. Looking at the products that have been successful though I think you might need to find an angle. Here are my thoughts:
    Mymaths: appalling graphics, poor explanations but buy this and don't mark as much homework.
    Tenticks: appalling graphics, poor presentation, very boring but buy this and have a nice easy lesson.
    Whiteboard maths: appalling presentation,... oh, you get the idea I'm sure.
    All the products have been very successful, you just need to tap into something that makes peoples lives easier and sell them that idea.

  16. Like PCs
    Why can't they sit around a computer?
    Yes, I have a few - they are the 'go to' item for time wasting and consumption of brain-dead entertainment, **** etc - as long as your entertainment site doesn't use Flash, of course.
    And the quality of entertaiment will carry on falling and we will all get fatter.
    Never heard of this silly organisation and how daft to think they could forecast what he skills needs will be.
    It's the only storage they can use as there is no real filing system available onboard and configuring the horribly restricted IPad is near / completely possible - and what about security?
    Really? Thats so amazing, if only you could do that with a PC - oh sorry, you can and you don't need overpriced Apple hardware to do so.
    Design, yes - in a Fisher Price sort of way - 'Usability' - are you joking?
    Really, 20% of the IPods we gave to kids at my school were destroyed in the first term - 'valued'? The fact that IPads and IPods smash to pieces where other manufacturers goods don't is another concern.
    It is so infuriating that the tripe that adherents of overpriced, anally restricted, exploitative Apple hardware just keeps getting spouted again and again. It's tedious to keep having to refute this nonsense but one should never give up - public money and kids futures is at stake.
    And what are you guys going to do about this?:
  17. Is it really that bad ? Compared to other similar types of devices ? I've never had a problem but then I'm not a teenage boy.
    Obviously they are less robust than most desktops.

  18. Auti,
    I've never dropped mine either.
    What we found was that if kids dropped them 3 feet onto a hard floor, the screen just shattered.
    By way of comparison, I dropped my Galaxy S2 walking down the stairs this morning - about 8 feet onto parquet flooring - fairly unforgiving. The back panel flew off but reattached perfectly and it's working fine.
    Apparently this is a well documented phenomenon - I remember some sort of test on CNet and I am told, videos abound on Youtube.
    Srangeley, just saw this on CNET.com;
  19. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    You ipad/nexus fans gotta be nuts, we bought one of these bad boys below for testing and it's really rather good and I say that as an ipad owner.
    Can't go wrong for just over £66 ex vat, it really is surprisingly slick for the money and our DH who wanted a device to access web based forms for lesson observation is delighted with it.
  20. These things will explode in the next year or two I think - like the Android phones have. There are cheap decent tablets coming out of China that are sub £100 and on a par with an iPad. I think iPads and iPhones will become like iMacs, an expensive lifestyle choice but not the usual buy
    (explode in popularity, not literally blow up)

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