iPad in Penn Manor has Questionable Future

Apple has plans to take over the world, including Penn Manor.

In the middle of dozens of rumors flying around about an ever changing cell phone policy, could the new Apple iPad be the perfect addition to the school’s already large collection of technology?

“We’ve been talking about it and it’s hard to make predictions without physically seeing it, but from what I’ve seen, it has its positives and negatives,” said Penn Manor’s head of technology, Charlie Reisinger.

The iPad, only measuring nine inches long diagonally, is a touch-screen computer made by Apple that comes with applications including Safari internet, e-mail, and podcasts.

Apple iPad: future of Penn Manor? Photo Courtesy of avivhadar.com

“I think it will really be useful to a lot of people. Regular internet surfers and computer lovers are going to want one,” said sophomore Maranda Kurtz.

Computers, smart boards, digital projects, and technology courses have been changing classes already, but the iPad could advance the school in incredible ways never seen before.

Preloaded with a ‘Notes’ application, students could take unlimited notes resulting in saving thousands of pieces of paper school wide.

“I think it would be great for schools, especially if we could just e-mail all our work to teachers and use barely any paper in classes,” said Kurtz.

The downloadable application ‘iBooks’ could be the answer for English classes, allowing students to read and download books directly onto the iPad, and students would never have to share books in classrooms again.

“One of the positives is that it goes at least 10 times beyond the Amazon Kindle (a device that allows books to be downloaded and read portably),” said Reisinger.

However, is the price of $499 worth it?

“The price is better than most laptops and are closer to the cost of net books,” added Reisinger.

With something this new, people are always doubtful, and even Penn Manor has its fair share of ‘critics’.

“[Hypothetically] I don’t think the school should get them. We already have laptops and the capabilities are the same,” English teacher Holly Astheimer said, “Plus, iPads have applications and music in them which kids already have but shouldn’t have out anyway.”

“It would be very difficult to manage them remotely like we can with the laptops and as of now we aren’t sure which applications will run,” said Reisinger.

According to Rob Reynolds from 21st Century Learning, “[iPad] Tablets will allow users to have the functionality they want at a price they can afford. More importantly, they will usher in a new era of learning material distribution and subscription models for textbooks. The net result will be lower education costs across the board.”

What Apple calls “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price” would change schools no doubt, but when it comes to deciding how, students and teachers will never be on the same page — web page that is.

By Mike Nitroy

Comments

  1. I personally find the fact that the school is even considering this very disturbing. Not simply because I am biased towards dell computers (I’m a PC) but because the features on this just dont seem to outweigh the features of other cheaper windows computers. Ipad has no multitasking options, the battery is not removable (assuming that the school would keep the Ipad for future generations, then like the Ipod, the battery would most likely eventually start to wear out so the expected life of the battery (which is 10 hours) would decrease). As for the paper being saved by notes…theres a little thing called microsoft word which works just as well as any app and has been used for years now. I see no real reason to change the program we take notes on seeing as how the previous one (microsoft word) has been working and working well for over 10 years now (maybe not in the highschool, but it has been active for that long and longer and has been very successful). Oh yeah, heres a big one….IT DOESN’T HAVE A USB PORT! Now for the revoultionary note taking device that we might end up spending about 500 bucks on to not have a usb port…it’s an eye opener on what our school might really consider if some informed people don’t say anything. It does, however, have accessory options for USB ports. So I guess that throws the price $499 out the window huh? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the storage space? It’s 16GB. If you want extra…well you can always get the still bad 64GB for only about $329 extra. So unless you’re talking about just getting these for a “Magical” and “Revolutionary” note taking device, or perhaps to save some money on books somehow (which from what I understand are around 90 dollars each) then there is no comparison to any computer the school has now.

  2. You know, as far as I can tell, the iPad is just an iPhone, but bigger. but it’s cheaper for the school than more laptops, I guess.

  3. It would be absolutely absurd for these devices to see use in the classroom. From their gimmicky touch interface which greatly complicates typing in comparison to a conventional full sized keyboard, to the worst part about them–their security measures. Apple treats them not as real computers like such a product should be treated, but as a locked down and highly regulated device. This would not give the school’s technology admins the security tools and accessibility options to ensure students make proper use of the devices. Add to this that only programs approved by Apple can run on it unlike any decent operating system, and you have a much less useful device. The argument that these would cut down on paper and other expenses is invalid when first considering the price of the iPad. After this, there is even more. Using them on a daily basis for entire school days would surely wear out the internal batteries. Replacement battery costs would add up and take a toll on the environment.

  4. Oh wow, that’s sad. After I wrote all of that I spelled my own name wrong…

  5. I’m not going to argue for the iPad, because I don’t think it’s the best idea either. Instead, let me correct a few things:

    1) the iPad really IS a lot cheaper than most Dell laptops

    2) simple way around the ‘no USB’: Google Docs

    3) if the ‘gimmicky touchy interface’ makes it harder to type, why is Microsoft developing touchscreen monitors?

    more to come later. 🙂

  6. Ladies and Gentlemen, we now return you to your previously scheduled denunciation of the above angry rambling:

    4) the average battery degradation for the batteries standard to apple products is 9-10 years. pretty decent time between battery replacements and, I dunno, maybe an upgrade every once in a while?

    5) Microsoft Word is no longer a standard quality writing application. It now crashes when the user attempts to add images to a document. (also, it has deleted my CLA. repeatedly.) Try Open Office.

    6) About the storage space: you’re treating this like a computer. It is not a computer. This is a palm pilot/netbook crossbreed. There’s reason there’s only 16 GB: because this isn’t the kind of thing you’re supposed to be playing Call of Duty on. 16 GB is more than enough for an average student’s notes.

    List is done now. Thank you for your time.
    -Firelyte

  7. P.S.
    I actually forgot about this: while there isn’t a USB, you could still upload/download notes to/from any of the school’s computers. You see, there’s still that little charger cable thing.

    -Firelyte (again :))

  8. John Deere says:

    This article is FANTASTIC and I am looking foward to the future of Penn Manor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I think it would be cool to try out the iPad
    see how it works for school and such

  10. I’m impressed with the level of discussion and debate regarding the iPad article. The PM IT Team also engages in similar dialog when evaluating new technologies that may provide innovative educational opportunities for our students and staff. Of course, new devices must also be reviewed from financial, sustainability and logistical perspectives.

    @Anonn – While at first blush the lack of a USB port may appear to be a major impediment, my sense is that the iPad is positioned as a pure “cloud-based” device. Services such as GoogleDocs could be a suitable alternative for saving notes and documents. As such, a USB port is a less vital requirement.

    Regarding MS Word- Microsoft has hinted future versions of Office for Mac may be available on the iPad (http://is.gd/9hH8m). Until that time, word processing would be limited to cloud services such as GoogleDocs or the (paid) version of iWork.

    @Jerome – You raise a critical point regarding management and security on a fleet of district owned iPads. Currently our remote management and administration tools are not available for the iPhone/iPad OS. It remains to be seen how districts could manage large deployments of the iPad. Tending to a few devices is doable- keeping after dozens or hundreds of iPads without solid management software could be troublesome.

    @Firelyte – Hits it right on the head: This is not a typical laptop. It is a next generation mobile device. Mobile hardware companies must always make trade-offs between features, physical space and power consumption. The iPad is no exception. Also, I agree that OpenOffice/NeoOffice is an excellent, free replacement for commercial productivity apps. Unfortunately, there are no current indications that OpenOffice is being ported to the iPad. That may change in time.

    Overall, we’re still fumbling around in the dark somewhat until the product actually ships. I’m looking forward to evaluating a live iPad when the device is finally on sale. 🙂

  11. Frankie says:

    for the comment about the no USB port,
    from what I saw it looks like it has one of those plug-in things like the ipod has to hook it up to a computer
    so you could probably hook the ipad into a printer or computer and print the stuff you need
    or like Mr.Reisinger said there is always GoogleDocs

  12. Frankie says:

    I also might check out the iPad at the Apple store at Park City
    I’m sure they’ll have a couple on display

  13. Personally, along with many others, i think the iPad is a complete waste of money. Why waste money on these cheap substitutes for computers? In my opinion:

    Quality is better than quantity.

    For example, if the school were to get these ‘iPads’, their terrible processing and touchscreens would make our productivity as students go down AT LEAST 70%. Touchscreens are terrible for typing. The processors would take forever for simple tasks. Now, imagine if we got decent computers for that money. I’m not talking about those terrible ones we have now. i mean ones that have atleast dual-core processors and more then 1gig of RAM. Imagine how faster our work would get done then.

    To recap:
    -iPads are a terrible substitute for computers.
    -Quality over quantity.

  14. Applegirl says:

    I think that they could be good or bad. I would really like it if we got them, but they could be a bad idea. I bet that a lot of kids would download gaming Apps or other things that aren’t school related. Also the teachers might have a harder time watching what kids are doing. They could also be a good thing though, maybe they are worth a try. I think the school should buy a couple and have incoming freshmen try them out, just to see the positives and negatives of the product. Or the district could give kids the option of having one, like the students could buy one and have it in school, but the district wouldn’t have to pay for it. But only students with good grades should be allowed to have them in school. I just think that they are at least worth a shot… who knows what they could bring to the school? We are entering a new world of technology at a rapid pace, why should we still have slow computers instead of the latest technology???

  15. @Applegirl:

    You stated,
    “We are entering a new world of technology at a rapid pace, why should we still have slow computers instead of the latest technology???”

    I would like to comment on that.

    1) iPads are not worthy of being called a computer. They will be even slower and more awkward to use then the already slow computers the school provides.

    2) iPads will not equal the ‘latest technology’. They are just simply a oversized iPod Touch. Touch screens are not ‘latest technology’.

    3) A 300 dollar custom built computer could over-power a iPad EASILY and have way more features, cost less, and actually HAVE INPUTS.

  16. Billy staffieri says:

    why not have a iPad its better than having laptops that are thousands of dollars. Plus it easier to carry around smaller things like ipads instead of rolling around a big cart of laptops.

  17. @Billy-your comment about the laptop cart has me a bit confused
    how exactly would one carry around iPads?
    wouldn’t it still be a cart used to carry them?

    maybe a not as big cart but still a cart 😛

  18. @Billy:
    These so called iPads are not better than the school’s laptops… Even tough most of the laptops are mac, (Eww), their processors perform at least 4 times faster than iPads… Also, you could get a 400 dollar laptop that could be 2x better then the schools Macbooks, and thus making them 8x better processing then the iPads.
    And pray tell how one would type efficiently on a iPad? We all know that touchscreens are horrible for typing and navigation. And don’t say you could just plug in a keyboard, because number 1; you can’t, and number 2; we would just be stuck with even worse ‘computers’ then the ones the school currently owns. Also, the laptop carts are not at all bad. And, the resolution on a iPad is horrible, absolutely horrible for any kind of work. I bet the battery life wouldn’t be very good as well. And since it’s made by Apple, we all know they’re being sold for about 3x the price they’re worth.

    @Frankie:
    You are correct, we would need new carts, meaning more oney shelled out. Why buy iPads when we have no need for them? We already have a multitude of laptops and desktop computers at our disposal.

    To conclude:
    I am no fan of these iPads and I hope I am conveying my opinion clearly.
    -We have no need for these, we already have working computers.
    -Just more wasted money.
    -It’s by Apple, so it’s going to be overpriced.
    -No inputs.
    -No keyboard.
    -Touchscreen is horrible.
    -If we were to get anything, some nice Wacom tablets would be a fine addition to the tech rooms. They’re cheap and efficient. I own a Wacom Bamboo tablet, and it was one of the best investments I have ever made.

    Thank you for your time.

  19. Oh, and also along the lines of; “Latest technology”.
    Since some of you think we all should have the latest technology…
    Then how about asking for some computers with i7 processors and how about a few 480GTX’s while you’re at it. See this theory of “latest technology” is flawed.

  20. @Annon
    now that I think about it
    the iPad really is sort of pointless,
    we already have laptops, just continue using those

    but, it would have been better if you checked out the iPad before you came to your conclusion

  21. @Frankie:
    I agree with checking it out, but I already know that we do not need them because we already have laptops. I also am not a big fan of Apple either.

  22. I say the school just buys 700 ipod touches. Then they tape 7 of them together 100 times and BAM we have ipads for the school. Cheap and effective.