iPad or iHype?

A teacher was promoting iPads saying, “You can record and publish a podcast or audio to the web from an ipad in your classroom in about half the time it takes a PC to boot up. This kind of speed ease and portability takes a lot of the time wasting out of computer use in the classroom and makes it all run a lot smoother. There’s a lot to be said for that.”

To discuss the Pros and Cons of iPads, it’s really hard to separate the hype about Apple products, isn’t it? I suppose having a computer that starts instantly gives students about a 30-second jump on the day. I’ve been trying to think about iPads and iPhones with a level head and not get caught up in the hoopla. I’ve been checking out all of the iPad users that I come across to see what they are doing and talking with them. I don’t see any of them doing anything with an iPad that can’t be done as well or better on a notebook computer.

The Starbucks is a natural hangout for iPads. You’d expect to find some interesting usage there but what are they doing? I’ve been checking them out. They are:  (1) Watching movies. (2) Reading webpages. (3) Playing solitaire.

It’s kind of comical to see how the screen flips when people inadvertently tip the iPad and they try to tip it aright again.

Although typing is possible, I notice almost no one really tries to do it. I’ve tried it and found it requires much more focus on my fingers whereas on a physical keyboard I am just thinking what I want to say and without looking my fingers work over  the keyboard automatically. I find that I make more mistakes on a physical keyboard if I look at my fingers and think about the keys so I don’t think that’s going to be better on an iPad. Then when people read, watch or play on the iPad they usually have to have one hand to just hold the thing.

I think it’s useful to talk about the Pros and Cons of the iPad. All of those “Top Ten Apps!” stories in magazines just feature either basic programs for word processing or Email or some odd program which might be completely cool but not really needed. They say there’s something like a million apps available now so I have searched those. Either really standard stuff or unnecessary stuff. No “killer apps” that you can’t get for a notebook or smart phone.

He mentioned AudioBoo as a reason to get an iPad but this is available for Windows machines, too.

I would love to buy an iPad if it saved time or could do something that I really needed. Right now it does seem  completely cool but aside from the coolness factor it just seems overhyped. It is all iHype.

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