iPads for the Education Sector
Summary The issue of integrating tablets computers into the classroom has become a mainstream topic. Therefore, the decision was made to study the viability of the Apple iPad in traditional college teaching environments. In addition, other devices were looked at to compare whether Apple iPad is the best choice. After researching the devices by comparing their various functions and the degree of overall usability for each device, the conclusion was reached that the iPad was not the most promising. However, this study recommends that further study be implemented regarding viable teaching methods involving the Apple iPad before any decisions are made. The economic value of the iPad to college students turned out to be much lower than its $500 price tag. Laptops were hence, chosen as the best alternative. Students would be better off using their laptops in classrooms as well as for doing their homework since the laptop is an all-in-one device as opposed to an iPad which comes somewhere between a phone and a laptop. Since most students already have phones and laptops, effective use should be made of these rather than spending a fortune on iPads.
Introduction The following study seeks to analyze the viability of an iPad in the academic setting, as compared to current methods. This paper will discuss the costs and benefits of using an iPad to college students, asses the economic value of these attributes and finally make recommendations.
The iPAD has some unique functions that could improve a college students learning experience but it comes with its cons.
When in college most students find themselves setting aside hundreds of dollars for books every year. According to a Washington Post article, ³Students at four-year schools spent, on average, about $900 for books and supplies in 2003-2004´. Can the Apple iPad realistically lessen this cost with just one simple tap? Since its release many publishers have released e-textbooks.
Select applications available for purchase in the Application store include iBooks, The Elements, Things for iPad, and iWork. These applications allow increased functionality in that each expands the capabilities of the iPad. The iBook application lets the user connect to an online book store. In the event that textbooks become available in a digital format, iBooks would enable the user to have access to any and all of their textbooks at a given moment. The Elements allows the user to tap the element, and then to spin the image around, enabling the user to visually see what the whole element looks like. This tool allows the student to not only learn the from the words written but also allows a interaction that is bound to engage and assist in the remembering information. Things for iPad allows the user to create to do lists, and could aid students in better managing their time. iWork is essentially a three part application that allows the user to create text documents, slide shows, and spreadsheets. These applications are mainly being used by the general public of the student population, but there are some that are helpful for specific majors such as Lexi-complete, Blacks Law Dictionary, and Roambi Pro. For medical students Lexicomplete is an application that has all drug information logged in and the effects of drug interaction. There are also 3D cell structure and anatomys applications for medical students. If the student has a major in law the Blacks Law Dictionary is a resource that definitions and pronunciations of legal terms. Business majors would use Roambi Pro which allows students to put in data and designed interface to put out raw numbers and graphs. E-textbooks can greatly reduce the weight of textbooks that a student has to carry around college all day by several pounds since the iPad weighs only 1.5 pounds and has dimensions of 9.56´x7.47´x.5´. In the
long run, assuming that the iPad is successfully implemented at all educational institutions, the need for printed books would decline, hence saving paper and benefiting the environment. Also, if all textbook publishers agree to sell digital copies of their books, the books could be updated in a matter of minutes and there would be no need of new editions to be published every year when new information needs to be added.
Currently, the iBookstore has some major cons. There¶s still a lot of work that needs to be done as the collection of e-books is not very vast and cannot be compared to Kindle and other e-readers. Another problem is that the e-books you download can only be viewed on the iPad, iPhone and the iPod. So for example, if your iPad stops functioning for some reason, you will not have access to your books.
The iPad¶s battery lasts for 10 hours which is a good feature for students since their battery life will last the entire day at school. Also, it would make finding a spot in the library much easier because they won¶t need power outlets next to their seating. However, the battery is in-built so if something goes wrong with the battery, the entire machine becomes useless.
The iPad has an on screen keyboard and a big screen which allows users to take notes. This can help enhance the classroom experience. Students can have the iPad laid down on the table, just like a notebook. Additionally, it would allow students to take notes on the go, and to quickly go through notes in the hallway e.g. right before an exam. However, the on screen keyboard might be difficult to use especially in class where students will need to type fast. For this reason, many students who own ipads, don¶t use them to write long essays.
If the school is giving all full time students an Apple iPad there would be a less demand for the classrooms to have a projector since all the students can watch the PowerPoint on their Apple iPad. However, a big disadvantage of the iPad is that it does not allow multi-tasking. Two applications cannot be run at the same time. With the limited multitasking abilities the students would still have to use a pen and paper to record notes of PowerPoint. What if in the PowerPoint has a word that the student doesn't
understand? The student has to close the PowerPoint to Google the word then reopen the PowerPoint. It seems like time wasted. The professors can feel very confident though when giving lectures knowing that students have to be on the application they assigned and not be fiddling in other programs not related to class. Additionally, the iPad does not support Flash. A lot of the content on the web requires Flash hence this is a big disadvantage. Another con of the iPad is that it doesn¶t have a camera. With a camera, students could simply take pictures of the figures/diagrams on the board and add them to their notes. Additionally, a student might need to use an application for a class that is not supported by the iPad. Examples include Matlab and AutoCAD.
The best alternative to the iPad is the laptop. This serves the purpose of a reference product for iPads. Ebooks can be bought from various websites using a laptop. In fact a better collection is available online as compared to the iPad¶s e-book applications. Laptops allow students to multi-task and would be more helpful in the case of Professors using PowerPoint. Additionally, AutoCAD, Matlab and any other application can be easily downloaded on to a laptop. Laptops also support flash and most laptops also have cameras. With a laptop, students can easily take notes in class using Microsoft Word or any other software of their choice. A laptop¶s keyboard is much easier to use and allows for faster typing when taking notes in class. If textbooks become digitally available, then carrying nothing but a laptop in a bag would also considerably reduce the weight of textbooks that a student has to carry. Laptops range in prices and could be bought for less than $500 or for well over $1000 depending on consumer preferences. For the purpose of analysis, let¶s assume that a laptop costs $500. This becomes the reference price.
In our analysis, we have reached the conclusion that giving an iPad to every freshman is unnecessary. Appendix A shows that the average score of an iPad came out to be 48.66 out of 100 which is approximately 22 points lower than the score of the Status quo (71 points). In addition to this, Appendix B shows that the economic value of the iPad when compared to a laptop come out to be around $425 which is $75 less than its actual price. A laptop and an iPad can both essentially perform the same functions with the laptop being better at most things. There is nothing an iPad can do that a laptop cannot. We would recommend giving laptops a chance in the classroom. Almost every student already has a laptop so it would be much easier and affordable to make laptops a necessary requirement for incoming freshmen and making effective use of them in classrooms as well as outside classrooms.
Below is a comparison of the iPad versus the status quo and an ideal score taken as 100. We tried to figure out what is it that an iPad does better and how does that compare to the status quo and the ideal setting. Activity Buy/Read E-textbooks Ability to email and read e-textbooks on other devices Benefit Environment Ease of taking notes in class Ease of taking notes on the go Typing speed Check email Surf the internet Battery power In-built battery Portability Multi tasking Camera Flash AutoCAD and other applications iPad 60 0 60 60 80 40 100 100 90 50 90 0 0 0 0 Status Quo 50 100 25 70 20 80 100 100 60 80 60 80 80 80 80 Ideal 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Average Score Appendix B
Below is a summary of the attributes of iPads and laptops and the differentiation value of iPads.
Differentiation value of iPads
Buy/Read E-textbooks E-textbooks can¶t be viewed on laptops/PCs Benefit Environment in the long run Can take notes in class Can take notes on the go Slow typing (onscreen keyboard difficult to use) Check email Surf the internet Battery lasts 10 hours In-built battery More portable, Weighs 1.5 lbs No multi tasking No camera No Flash AutoCAD and other applications won¶t work
Buy/Read E-textbooks E-textbooks can be viewed from any laptop/PC/net book etc Benefit Environment in the long run Can take notes in class Cannot take notes on the go Fast typing (keyboard easy to use) Check email Surf the internet Battery lasts 3-6 hours Removable battery Less portable, Weighs 4-6 lbs Multi tasking Camera Flash AutoCAD and other applications work
0 0 +40 -35 0 0 +50 -20 +60 -40 -10 -10 -60
Differentiation value= -50+40-35+50-20+60-40-10-10-60= 150 ± 225 = -75 Economic Value to Consumer= Reference Value + Differentiation Value= $500-$75= $425