It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting here with an iPad. It’s not mine, Cramlington decided we should get one as let’s face it, the buzz surrounding them could mean they become the next big thing in education.Getting a chance to play with it this weekend has been “interesting”. I’m not sure where it fits into my ICT use. If I want to check out my favourite websites, my mobile phone (an HTC Desire – Android smartphone) can view those sites easily. The size and weight of the iPad makes it uncomfortable to hold and operate. And if I want to do more complex tasks, my laptop takes care of those.
Ultimately for me, the biggest issue with the iPad is the limitations of the browser. The lack of a Flash player aside, I found plenty of other websites it just didn’t handle particularly well. I had planned to write this post on the iPad this morning; in much the same way as I used my phone to post on one occasion. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to using iPad’s Safari. The software was so limited it could not interact with the non-standard text box.*
At this point, I suddenly realised what the iPad is. It’s an App-using tool, not a mini-laptop. Rather than using the preinstalled programs if I want to accomplish something, “there’s an App for that”. In fairness, that’s not much different from the PC experience.
Like netbooks before it, it’s very easy to expect a higher capability than the device can deliver. Is it my fault or Apple’s that I made this assumption? Given the price tag (£365 + VAT for the cheapest option) I think it’s a little of both.
My conclusion then? That will have to wait until I’ve installed some Apps. Given that other school staff desperate to get their hands on it, my conclusion might be some time. So for now, I’ll leave you with this thought: What good is a browser that cannot view Flash? Especially that 90% of educational resources are made using Flash.
* If I had wanted I could have installed the WordPress App and written the blog that way. I haven’t, because it’s a shared resource and in order to install Apps, you have to register with Apple. I’ll do that Monday with the school’s credit card.