The Swiss-Army knife of Education
As you can imagine, I get a lot of questions about the iPad. How are we using it? What apps do I like? Why did we decide on iPads? What about flash?
I probably couldn’t go more than 24 hours without hearing one of these questions. While I think the deeper question is “Why?” vs “What” and “How”, it does bring up a fairly interesting point. I’ve heard a lot of people and peers mumble under their breath, “jeez, sure would be great to have all that money to spend” to which I usually ask them, “If you look hard enough, you do.”
What does that mean? Is that my version of iYoda? (Oh! Great idea for an app!)
“Learning you will do, with iPad try you do not.”Rather than get side-tracked into how the iPad and the Force have a lot in common (too late), let’s look at some concrete and tangible examples of how the iPad is going to save our district money. And I’m not talking just about paper, I’m talking about technology that we bought in the past, may have allocated for in the future, but will never spend again because the iPad has quickly rendered it obsolete. What follows is a list and cost of items that we won’t buy anymore because of the iPad and possible others that we might not buy again:
1. Document Camera – $600 – Samsung Digital Presenter – This is always the first one that pops into my head, and it happened quite innocently. During a summer workshop I was presenting with Jon Samuelson (@iPadSammy) and he was trying to show off some apps he had on his iPad 1. Well, with the video out issue on the iPad 1, he was forced to describe the app or hold it up. I quickly remembered that my iPad2 was tethered to the VGA and had a camera app on it. Voila! Instant document camera!
2. Digital Camera – $150 – Canon Powershot A3100 – As mentioned above, there is a camera app built into the iPad. Now while holding up the iPad to take photos is a bit unwieldy at times and can block the view of people behind you (don’t try and pull a Kramer with these and bootleg a movie in a theater), there is some value in not having to look for batteries, an SD card, a cord, etc. I can only imagine the camera quality improving on the next model iPad.
3. Smart Slate or Airliner – $299 – These handy devices we used to purchase let you walk around the room and control your computer. It was a bit unnerving in the fact you had to keep your neck crammed to see the projector screen, but the freedom to roam around the room was valuable. Enter the $1.99 RemoteVU app and all the sudden the iPad has the same amount of control, only now you can see your screen in your hands rather than looking up at the projector.
4. Video camera and editing software – $250 + $99 = $349 – for a Canon R200 and Adobe Premiere Elements – Again, the use of the built in video camera and the use of a $4.99 iMovie app make you a mobile Video production studio all in one.
5. Response clicker – Varies in price, but average is $35 per clicker – Between the eClicker app and the multitude of online polling websites, all you really need is a browser and a way to send out questions (FYI – eClicker Host is $9.99)
6. DVD Player – $150 – Toshiba – Yes there was a time when we bought DVD players and played DVD’s. However, with online video streaming from Hulu to Netflix to YouTube, there really is never a need to buy a DVD player for the classroom. That also means no more skipping DVD’s because your husband scratched When Harry Met Sally when he dropped it.
7. Paper – $150/year estimated – This number is extremely variable. I’ve known teachers that have spent that amount in a month in paper consumption, however, if I just take the average cost of someone printing out 500 sheets of color paper at .15 cents each and 2000 sheets of black and white at .037 cents each, we quickly reach $150 bucks.
8. Laptop – $1200 – Dell D531 loaded with software, warranty and support – This one is huge. You can accomplish everything short of high-end graphic editing and computer coding on an iPad. Typing can be an issue, but quickly remedied by a bevy of bluetooth keyboards out there.
Total Cost of previously purchased items minus cost of iPad and apps = $2355. So for the cost of almost 5 iPads, you will actually be saving money by just picking up one for each classroom teacher. And that doesn’t include the savings on many other variables like the ones below:
Textbooks – cost varies – Companies are clamoring to come up with a good textbook model for the iPad. Some are just putting their books online in a PDF format, others are being more innovative. Regardless, this market still needs to catch up.
Musical Instruments – cost varies – Anyone who watched the Westlake High School iBand preform at DKR stadium, sees a future where the iPad can play a role in live and recorded performance.
I know I’m missing a bunch more, but you see now why I call it the Swiss-army knife of education. With it’s ease of use, resourcefulness and versitility in apps, you can really do much more than I posted here (calculators? Translators? etc) but I wanted to focus on items our district has bought and may never buy again.
In the words of iYoda, “Many things can an iPad do”