Like many high schools, Taylor High School in Kokomo Indiana, where I teach, has completely changed the way we deliver instructions to our students to meet a rapidly changing technological world. Fortunately, we are a forward thinking school and have enjoyed a one to one student to computer ratio for the past three years. We have used heavily rubberized netbooks, and next year we will be using a slightly larger laptop. After next year, however, we are looking at our options, which include moving to a tablet. Of course in the world of education, tablets are synonymous with IPad. In fact, in a world where a student can choose any school to attend, IPads are a huge lure. Many schools have chosen IPads simply because they know it looks good from PR perspective, even if they have no idea how to implement it in a meaningful way.
In a recent article, I wrote about my switch from the Iphone to the Lumia 920, windows phone. My love for Windows 8 and Live Tiles has led me to think about a switch to a Windows 8 tablet such as the Surface or Dell Latitude. Surely, if the windows phone offered such a satisfying experience, the tablet would do the same, right? If true, why would schools only look to the IPad when there are android and windows tablets available? I suppose the answer lies somewhere in the clever marketing by Apple, the fact that it was first, and people simply love the entertainment value of the IPad. Indeed, when the IPad made its appearance, it was for all intents and purposes an oversized phone that allowed the users to play games and view material on a larger screen. While it is a fine device in its own right, is it the best choice for education? Does it offer the tools necessary for students to investigate, create, and learn in a way that the other tablets don’t?