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Mac Thread, A Macs place in a primary school in Technical; Originally Posted by jamesmay Whilst many of the apps we use prob have a PC or flash game counterpart, being ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesmay View Post
    Whilst many of the apps we use prob have a PC or flash game counterpart, being able to use a finger to control has made all the difference, improving motor skills and coordination as well as the ability to pick it up and just use it. The strategy we took was to give to the TAs not the teachers, so that they wasn't put into a draw and the teacher holding the knowledge on them. The TAs were working in small groups with the SENs and could identify core problems with their skills. Having the ipad to work 1on1 or in small groups has help re-enforced what the rest of the class are doing as well as meeting the other targets they have.
    Very useful, thanks. We're having a push on handwriting skills here at the moment - I'm wondering if touch-enabled tablet devices would help, or whether writing with a stylus would be better? I tried out a couple of tablets at BETT and found resistive screens (as with the Intel Classmate laptops) worked best with a stylus, quite nicly mimicking a pen-on-paper. Capacative touch would work better for touch-based applications, and if you've found that having pupils trace a letter with their finger helps just as much as using a stylus/pen than that makes for an interesting observation when based on practical experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesmay View Post
    as a game changer for pupils who are hard to engage, its amazing.
    I wonder why that is? I use, on a daily basis, a 5-ish-year-old RM Tablet PC with pretty much the same specification as an iPad - Same sized screen (1024 X 768), I've swapped the harddrive for an SSD so the storage is probably better, new battery (although an iPad probably still manages better battery time), probably about the same processing power, and of course it supports Flash. The main differences are the lack of touch screen (the Tablet PC uses a stylus), the OS (Windows XP Tablet Edition instead of iOS, although I'm wondering if Windows 7 would work) and Apple's current marketing/market share/brand awareness. What is it about the iPad that makes it work that the Tablet PC never managed to accomplish?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    I don't think this would be practible - you need some sort of clever gateway to allow the pads to connect to idle machines
    Or a TS / Remote Desktop Services server?

    And needs to be purchased so yet again more cost for software just because you've changed clients/client mode of use.
    You could just re-do the content yourself.

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    @Dexi most of the Sherston titles are now dual platform - atleast the later titles that we've had to install into the primaries that we support.

    Thanks, Ed.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    the OS (Windows XP Tablet Edition instead of iOS, although I'm wondering if Windows 7 would work) and Apple's current marketing/market share/brand awareness. What is it about the iPad that makes it work that the Tablet PC never managed to accomplish?
    Windows 7 works great on old tablets as long as it does not have weird hardware, I am running it right now on an hp tc420 with 1GB of RAM and it is great, no aero but it goes fine.

    The iOS devices are more designed for less fine grained input (clumbsy jabs with a finger), where as windows is still point centric requireing more accuracy. iOS is also a much more 'simple' OS with very limited features making it more like an appliance. This seems to be all the rage as people get mad at anything more complex than a toaster in todays culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Or a TS / Remote Desktop Services server?



    You could just re-do the content yourself.
    With RDP you are going to need CALs for the server and probably CALs for some of the software that you are running off it. It also has concequence of turning your $800 device into a really expencive remote for a real machine.

    Redoing the content yourself might be an option for some stuff but with most you would be angering the copywrite monster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Windows 7 works great on old tablets as long as it does not have weird hardware, I am running it right now on an hp tc420 with 1GB of RAM and it is great, no aero but it goes fine.
    Handy to know, thanks.

    The iOS devices are more designed for less fine grained input (clumbsy jabs with a finger), where as windows is still point centric requireing more accuracy.
    Good point - I wonder if there's any HTML5 / Flash user interface libraries that have taken tablet finger-input in to account yet?

    Redoing the content yourself might be an option for some stuff but with most you would be angering the copywrite monster.
    No, re-do it properly - don't copy any assets from the original, just re-do the whole thing, images, video, audio, the lot.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Good point - I wonder if there's any HTML5 / Flash user interface libraries that have taken tablet finger-input in to account yet?

    No, re-do it properly - don't copy any assets from the original, just re-do the whole thing, images, video, audio, the lot.
    Looks like both HTML5 and flash support multitouch gestures, there again so does Windows7, OSX and other OSs.

    Making entirely new educational resources and activities takes time and effort, that kind of thing would have to be recognised by your school and funded or at least have time alloated to it. Given the cost of the time and the inhouse expertiese required many schools would probably choose to get it from external providers.

    Besides there would almost certainly be a backlash if prized educational content was being made by someone 'without a teaching qualification' and as such was stable enough to run without days of initial handholding by the technical staff. I often feel that educational software is so bad because it is written by ex teachers who do not want to inadvertently replace themselves and their peers with a bit of software accidentally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Given the cost of the time and the inhouse expertiese required many schools would probably choose to get it from external providers.
    I figure it'd be easier if schools simply became the external providors - if you have a set of resources you want done, hire someone to do it and sell the resulting content to other schools. The expertise and equipment needed to do a full multimedia production should be fairly minimal these days - you should just need a computer and a camcorder really.

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    Besides there would almost certainly be a backlash if prized educational content was being made by someone 'without a teaching qualification' and as such was stable enough to run without days of initial handholding by the technical staff. I often feel that educational software is so bad because it is written by ex teachers who do not want to inadvertently replace themselves and their peers with a bit of software accidentally.
    How dare you malign the skills of some of greatest coders in the universe that produced such things as Report Assist - a ground breaking application that wasn't afraid to throw windows programming standards through the window in the quest to break new frontiers

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Very useful, thanks. We're having a push on handwriting skills here at the moment - I'm wondering if touch-enabled tablet devices would help, or whether writing with a stylus would be better? I tried out a couple of tablets at BETT and found resistive screens (as with the Intel Classmate laptops) worked best with a stylus, quite nicly mimicking a pen-on-paper. Capacative touch would work better for touch-based applications, and if you've found that having pupils trace a letter with their finger helps just as much as using a stylus/pen than that makes for an interesting observation when based on practical experience.





    I wonder why that is? I use, on a daily basis, a 5-ish-year-old RM Tablet PC with pretty much the same specification as an iPad - Same sized screen (1024 X 768), I've swapped the harddrive for an SSD so the storage is probably better, new battery (although an iPad probably still manages better battery time), probably about the same processing power, and of course it supports Flash. The main differences are the lack of touch screen (the Tablet PC uses a stylus), the OS (Windows XP Tablet Edition instead of iOS, although I'm wondering if Windows 7 would work) and Apple's current marketing/market share/brand awareness. What is it about the iPad that makes it work that the Tablet PC never managed to accomplish?
    We have some SEN students who have struggled to even get the shapes of letters right. While we are teaching them using pencils, paper, dry-wipeboards, using the ipad is a good warm up or supplementary activity. Using apps to develop the letter shape, independent of a stylus (pencil or e-based) takes away the concentration on said writing implement and ensures that the letters created are legible. Introducing the pencil after this, we have seen that the pupils struggling have much more legible handwriting and are less stressed about the way they hold the pencil.

    This is what I am trying to work out. We have an old RM slate and its never seen much use, no one seemed bothered by it. Is it because the ipad is made by apple so people are forcing themselves to like it because they are the new consumer electronics darlings, or is it the mass market appeal it holds with its ease of use and touch centric apps? Will something better come along? Yes it will, either from Apple or Dell or HP or whomever, but at present I think too much is made of android and the way its talked up. A touch OS from microsoft that isnt just a regular desktop might be the way things move forward.

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    The iPad thing in schools makes me physically ill, I was in a primary today using a tablet PC and in one class it practically stopped the lesson as the whole class in true primary school style 'quietly' proclaimed that I had an iPad. This went on for about 5 minutes while I was reconfigureing a bit of errant hardware. At one point I opened it up to use the keyboard for something and heard one child say, oh its just a laptop.

    When confronted with this it is hard to see how it is not just media hype and sheep mentality that leads to this, like Windows Vista people are so polluted by what they are told to think that they can't quite manage to think for themselves. This leads to situations like the above where they are totally wowed by what a device can do until they find out what it is and figure out that they are not supposed to like it.

    There may well be some areas like SEN where the iPad can provide better interaction and so better learning but this should not devalue other tools in other areas.

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    iOS may be a simple interface to use but this does not mean that it is less powerful than its competitors. iOS was built from the ground up to support multi-touch and it shows.

    With regards to purchasing more software, you would only need to upgrade the license to cover the VLE which IMO isn't a bad thing. The more content that you get on there and let kids have access to is surely a good thing.

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    Great thread guys, with lots of valid reasoning and so far relatively little Mac Bashing, which is nice. Just a couple of things I'd like to add, personal opinions rather than any professional view. The iPad does not have a keyboard, of course, and the on screen keyboard is OK for typing in URLs and emails, but is not a substitute for a mechanical keyboard for involved typing. This becomes worse when using VNC type solutions as some important keys are either missing or hidden away. That misses the point though really. The reason iPad is so interesting is that it's a very different device with different strengths and weaknesses. It's like criticising a microwave oven because it doesn't make good toast

    If you can't see the benefit of a wholly tactile interface - the whole device is basically a controller - then it's not the right device. Early years pupils absolutely love the iPad because they prefer to use their fingers rather than a pen, mouse or keyboard. They're learning positional and causative skills just by playing with one. "If I do this, something happens" type activities. For SEN we're seeing empowerment on a new scale with these devices, where a traditional PC just can't be used. In Primary it's less clear cut, but as a true instant on device with a massive battery life, great display and very cheap apps it's gaining ground fast. It won't replace the laptop any time soon for typing an essay or running existing software, but in the home the tablet will be a device that people buy INSTEAD OF a computer if what they need is a fast, simply way to browse, view and communicate and very little else. People don't generally need to actually "compute" any more. When Mr Jobs called the iPad 2 a "Post PC device" I don't think he was kidding.

    Feel free to disagree, because that opens up new ideas but that's how I feel about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbocop View Post
    The iPad does not have a keyboard
    Actually, it has a very nice one - I seem to remember a keyboard-with-stand device being touted at launch time, but everyone seems to have embraced the tablet concept better than maybe Apple were fearing.

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    Originally Posted by Robbocop
    The iPad does not have a keyboard
    You know what I mean David. If you had to carry a physical keyboard around with your iPad you might as well just have a laptop I do have an Apple wireless keyboard on my desk which I use when I'm in the office, but I don't carry it around. There's a hilarious case I spotted though with a keyboard in it iPad Keyboard Case Hey! Why not buy a gesture based low power device and turn it into an underpowered laptop! http://www.edugeek.net/images/smilies/tongue.png

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbocop View Post
    If you had to carry a physical keyboard around with your iPad you might as well just have a laptop
    Ah, but that's where a school is different - you can have the keyboards kept in classrooms, the iPads could roam around with the pupils.

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