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General Chat Thread, RM Slate vs iPad - any experiences and/or thoughts? in General; Hello fellow EduGeeker's My school is looking into different forms of 'mobile learning' beyond laptops, and the Head really likes ...
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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    RM Slate vs iPad - any experiences and/or thoughts?

    Hello fellow EduGeeker's

    My school is looking into different forms of 'mobile learning' beyond laptops, and the Head really likes the iPad.

    Now, I have several issues with the iPad that I won't rant on about here, suffice to say I don't think they are the most appropriate of the tablet-PC variations on the market.

    I've looked, several times, at the RM Slate. It seems to offer so much more than the iPad and for less cost. An adviser from the LEA stated that the total cost of ownership for iPads is less because of the apps being 'cheap as 59p', however as much of our mainly-used software is site-license already I see it from the perspective that the Windows 7 RM Slate can run everything we already have, whereas the iPad we are going to have to pay for each iPad to have each app. Seems more expensive to me!

    The biggest difficulty in deciding is that no matter how many times I've asked no-one in SLT seems to be able to give me an answer to the question "What EXACTLY do you want the [tabletPC] for? HOW are you going to use it to teach? WHAT is it going to need to do / run / display?" and so on.

    So what I'm really asking is, based on experiences of using iPads and/or RM Slate in either personal or professional capacities (but without bias as to "iPad has X app but Slate can run Y flash-based software), do any of you have suggestions, comments that could waive one product into favour or even a horror story to stay away from one of them?


    Thanks in advance guys!

    Pete


    PS Apologies if this is a rehash of topic/s already started but I figured it would be good to try and get some up-to-date experiences
    Last edited by Pete10141748; 26th January 2011 at 03:32 PM.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    The only problem I have with the RM Slate is Windows 7. It takes a little 'tweaking' to get it working as you'd need it in a school (power, display etc) but W7 is simply not finger friendly as an OS I'm afraid.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 26th January 2011 at 08:46 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Don't think you can use an iPad in the sun to read a book, it will overheat and power off as my aunt found out.

    Personally I'm looking foward to the hp slates that are due on the 9th of feb running Palm WebOS, polish and freedom in a nice slate formfactor.

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    jpaterson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Don't think you can use an iPad in the sun to read a book, it will overheat and power off as my aunt found out.

    Personally I'm looking foward to the hp slates that are due on the 9th of feb running Palm WebOS, polish and freedom in a nice slate formfactor.
    Got a source for the release date? You know if they will be releasing other 'flavours'?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpaterson View Post
    Got a source for the release date? You know if they will be releasing other 'flavours'?
    HP’s Todd Bradley confirms Feb. 9th HP Event to be the unveiling of the webOS version of the HP Slate | HP Slate not set in stone but they will probably release two sizes rumored to have huge amounts of free cloud storage avalible to them also.

    Back on topic, the iPad does have a longer theoretical battery life but will still drain down reasonably quickly under heavy usage. I second the touch element concern about Windows 7 on small screens as the UI is quite small for comparitivly big fingertips. The RM slates will almost certainly generate more heat and so be less comfortable to hold for long periods of time along with being a little heavier. On the plus side the RM one will work fine with a proxy, your existing software and most other things you decide to throw at it.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 26th January 2011 at 03:42 PM.

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    On the plus side the RM one will work fine with a proxy, your existing software and most other things you decide to throw at it.
    Yup, those are the things that draw me to it more than the iPad at the moment....... but am still open enough to have someone/something change my mind!

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    webman's Avatar
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    Having used both the RM Slate and the iPad, I think the iPad is the winner, but largely due to the operating system used being tailored for the device, rather than shoe-horned into something it was never designed for.

    The RM Slate was an awful and clunky device to use when running Windows 7. Clicking and dragging behaved just like regular Windows, and dialogs, buttons, controls and text were sized for the desktop. It's just not orientated towards being used on a device of that type. The keyboard experience was also pretty rubbish. It could be a much better device running a proper touch-based OS.

    The iPad is a very nice piece of hardware with OS and decent screen size to match. However, it does have its limitations. No memory card support without the extra cost and adapter, no bluetooth file transfer OOTB, and so on - the usual Apple-manufactured restrictions. Having said that, the overall experience is great if you can get the apps to match.

    I think the bottom line is, tablets need a tablet-specific OS to get the most out of it and achieve the most adoption amongst users.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Roll on Android 3.0 me thinks

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    I think the bottom line is, tablets need a tablet-specific OS to get the most out of it and achieve the most adoption amongst users.
    I'd agree with that. The Windows7/RMSlate we've got is near unusable to be honest as a touch-screen device due to the fact that as an OS it was never designed for that purpose. The ipad works better as the OS was designed for touchscreen but it's ultimately too limited in it's functionality due to the OS being geared for use on a phone form factor rather than a larger device.

    IMO we're still waiting for the first truly usable Tablet/Touchscreen Computer. The stuff out at the moment is just a kludge of existing technologies shoehorned/upscaled into a form factor they weren't originally designed for.

    My personal thoughts are evreyone should wait for a re-skinned tablet version of OSX/Windows8 or Android 3.0 to see if this moves the game forward.
    Last edited by flyinghaggis; 26th January 2011 at 04:25 PM.

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    simpsonj's Avatar
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    Just to go back to your original point about what you would use the slate/iPad for. My personal take on this is that the device should replace textbooks in terms of research, and be a portal to any cloud system you have running in the school (VLE, Email, Google Docs, Live@edu, MIS for staff). That way the slate has a dual purpose, to allow students access to google, wikipedia, and school bought electronic resources and software on the one hand, and access to the cloud on the other. With the benefit of being possible to access from within school or at home.

    I don't think a handheld device can replace a desktop computer in terms of speed and ease of use, and I don't think that we should look to replace handwriting into exercise books yet either.

    An example (because I don't think I'm making as much sense as I would like!) would be if Johnny has his device, he takes it to English where he uses it to read Romeo and Juliet. Takes it to Maths, and uses the VLE to access some Maths resources, and Maths Textbook, handwriting his answers to paper. In ICT it isn't used, but his My Documents are synced with the school network and his device via the cloud, so any work can be followed up at home if he needs to. Maybe they are using Pivot Stick to create an animation in ICT, and the homework is to add 5 frames to his animation, which he can do from home because his device has Pivot Stick installed. He then takes it to History where he uses the device to research The Abolition of Slavery, finding some website he can look at when he gets home. Thats what I would expect a device like a slate or iPad to do, but that's just my opinion! I won't touch the (many) issues that would have to be tackled to get that to work...

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    russdev's Avatar
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    I don't know I found RM Slate ok to use just took a bit of getting use to. To be fair smaller fingers of children may get on with even better..

    Russ

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Pete pm me your address, I can come down to yours and give you a proper face to face chat about it, as we trialed both and have decided we want the slate in the near future...and I might even be able to bring a unit too you as well.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyinghaggis View Post
    I'd agree with that. The Windows7/RMSlate we've got is near unusable to be honest as a touch-screen device due to the fact that as an OS it was never designed for that purpose. The ipad works better as the OS was designed for touchscreen but it's ultimately too limited in it's functionality due to the OS being geared for use on a phone form factor rather than a larger device.

    IMO we're still waiting for the first truly usable Tablet/Touchscreen Computer. The stuff out at the moment is just a kludge of existing technologies shoehorned/upscaled into a form factor they weren't originally designed for.

    My personal thoughts are evreyone should wait for a re-skinned tablet version of OSX/Windows8 or Android 3.0 to see if this moves the game forward.
    I agree. To a point. I should make it clear that (for the price) the hardware on the RM Slate is actually very, very good. It's just the OS that lets it down. If Ubuntu Netbook Edition had touch integration it would have been a much better OS to run on there, and until someone does that, it's not going to be very easy fiddling along with W7 on a slate. We have spoken to Microsoft about this and they know that W7 is not going to cut it as a tablet OS and that something needs to be done. What that something is however is anyones guess. Yes, porting Windows Phone 7 over would work rather well, but there IS a demand for a slate that will run almost all Windows software (as long as the HW spec matches). What it really, really needs is an interface that works, as currently, W7 does not.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 26th January 2011 at 11:58 PM.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    I don't know I found RM Slate ok to use just took a bit of getting use to. To be fair smaller fingers of children may get on with even better..
    Even with small fingers, it doesn't behave like tablet/touch interfaces should. Take scrolling, for example. You still have to drag the tiny scroll bar (usually) at the edge of the screen - no pointing in the middle and moving your finger up or down. As Dos_Box said, W7 in its current state just doesn't cut it

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    ARGH! So after looking into makes&models, asking for prices, posting here etc. I then get pulled into a meeting and am told that the funding the school was going to receive to buy all this nice new equipment has been cut by 50% and things like iPads and netbooks are now off the table

    It's so annoying; the funding was supposed to be spent by August of last year, but because the SMT dithered about and kept changing what they wanted to buy, quotes taking ages to come back from the LEA/supplier, the the old Head not explaining to the new Head what the school's plan for ICT was and the new Head changing everything all over again means we have now ended up missing out on 40k+ of spending power for ICT devices

    Thanks for all the responses though, I shall keep them for if/when the subject comes up for discussion again.

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