Why the iPad is More Than a Fleeting Gizmo

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A choice few paragraphs from a comprehensive article in The San Jose Mercury News about the use of iPads in California schools hit on the true merits: allowing learners to own and connect with the content they're learning, and for educators to customize the curriculum to their specific needs.

- Hillbrook English teacher Tom Bonoma hopes he never has to go back to teaching the old way. "The iPad has really been a game-changer," he said. "It allows us to do a lot of things in real time that weren't possible before." During a class discussion of "A Raisin in the Sun," a play about a struggling black family set in post-war Chicago, students used Animation Creator HD to record their interpretations of a scene.

- During a recent Hillbrook history class, students fetched files on the achievements of ancient Mesopotamians, wrote several paragraphs about them on the Pages app, inserted photographs from Geo Photo Explorer, then e-mailed their work to teacher Christina Pak. She projected results onto an interactive "smart board" for discussion. You can almost imagine Elroy Jetson asking her a question by instant message.

- Educators cling to the hope that they will be able to buy selected chapters of textbooks for use on the tablets, the way music fans pick individual songs on iTunes.