It's still far too expensive for the iPad to be distributed to every K-12 student in every school across the country. At a minimum of $500 per gadget, its affordability factor for the public education system is not its biggest seller.
Even so, the glossy tablet is changing the way the education community approaches the learning process -- especially for higher education.
In her article for Online Colleges Laura Milligan cites all the ways the iPad will "forever change education." What makes it so appealing for the general population -- its ease of use, mobility, and multitasking abilities -- also makes it a natural tool for learning.
Colleges and universities that can afford it are jumping on the Apple bandwagon and offering them to students like, well, apples. Just a few instances:
- Monterey College of Law is distributing iPads to students enrolled in a program that helps them prepare for the Bar Exam.
- Stanford University School of Medicine will give iPads to its class of 91 first-year medical school and master’s of medicine students.
- First-year undergraduates at Illinois Institute of Technology will be getting their gadgets this year.
- The University of Maryland will hand out iPads to 60 students, as part of a program called Digital Culture and Creativity.
What are schools actually doing with the iPad? Macworld lists the many roles it plays:
- Recruiting tool for George Fox University
- Instant quizzing and results at Abilene Christian
- Tuning out distractions of the Internet by using just apps at Hawaii Preparatory Academy
- E- textbooks at various K-12 schools and colleges
And so on. Whether it's the iPad, the Kindle, or the Nook, it's obvious that school administrations and the education community at large are viewing these devices as the inevitable next stage in incorporating technology in the learning process. There will certainly be hurdles along the way as educators figure out the most efficient and creative ways to use the tools. But the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, and it will be fun to see how the digital revolution evolves.