Image via CrunchBase
On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending #EdCamp Boston and during the conference I noticed something that really surprised me.
The number of iPads and sessions devoted to iPads.
While talking with another participant, we discussed how many iPads we saw being carried at the conference. We estimated that 30-40% of the attendees had them. Neither one of us owned one, but we talked about how interested we were in how they could be used in education.
I attended one of the sessions devoted to iPads and was amazed at how quickly they have been embraced by their users and that they were much easier to use in many situations than my MacBook Pro was. A lot of people had bluetooth keyboards, but just as many were typing on the screen keyboard (some quite quickly). It was interesting to see how some had setup their “desktop” on their iPads and how customizable they have become in just a year.
I have used a couple of the iPad 1’s and while I was impressed, I didn’t see where they would fit into my life at this time. Now that the iPad 2 is out, I got to talk with a couple of people who owned them and they said the difference between the two was like night and day. They really like its portability, instant on, being able to use the camera functions (i.e. iSight notes in Evernote) and a host of other improvements.
Now that you can add an iPad to a projector, it becomes a much better mobile computing alternative when you add the option of a bluetooth keyboard. I even got to see the ultimate iPad setup (at least from my view) and saw how it worked in action – it worked very well.
I don’t know if the current “craze” of getting iPads in the classroom is the correct path or not, but I do know that I was very impressed with what some of my fellow teachers were doing with their iPad 2s during Edcamp Boston.
The reality is that
I want one pretty bad, but I still have to figure out what I would do with it, especially while my MacBook Pro is very much a great tool. Maybe a couple of years down the road an iPad will be a good replacement computing device.
Who knows maybe I will hit the lottery or win a contest and get one, but I can’t justify going out and buying one anytime soon.