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Netbooks, PDA and Phones Thread, Arguments for and against ipads - need info in a hurry in Technical; I am a governor of a middle school and I have to ratify the budget tomorrow. The IT co-ord who ...
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    witch's Avatar
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    Arguments for and against ipads - need info in a hurry

    I am a governor of a middle school and I have to ratify the budget tomorrow. The IT co-ord who is also the NM has laid out his plans and I agree with every single one except possibly the purchase of ipads for SEN - I am worried about the price versus other tablets.
    I know that there are lots of apps for education but does this justify the price? And what about the stand-alone versus network idea?
    Please can I ask for as many points pro or con as possible as quickly as possible. I know ipads cant run flash but is this likely to be an issue with SEN apps?
    I am not against the whole ipad thing, I just need to be sure that the money is being spent in the best possible way for the school.
    I know some of you may say to wait till windows 8 but this isnt an option.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Buying iPads just for SEN is not a good investment. There aren't that many great educational apps, but you also need to look at the management of them. iPads are a consumer product and not an educational/business tool. iPads are very personalised, whereas of course Windows devices are very much multi-user capable.

    You're right also iPads do not support flash, so a whole load of websites will be locked out. If you do a direct comparison with netbooks, they're much better value for money compared to the iPad.

    I don't dislike the iPad, but for education, it's seriously over rated and money could be better invested.
    Last edited by Michael; 17th April 2012 at 09:02 PM.

  3. 4 Thanks to Michael:

    BatchFile (23rd May 2012), speckytecky (17th April 2012), stevenlong1985 (18th April 2012), witch (17th April 2012)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    A few arguments on both sides.

    Against : A lot of work to centralise the management for only a handful of devices, making it a resource heavy investment, and possibly costly as well if getting a Mac Server, support from ASE, training, etc. If stand-alone then they become time hungry devices which are likely to need frequent support to manage updates, rebuild the machines, etc. The applications presently have no volume licence so you end up with either multiple IDs and purchasing once on each ID, or fudging it. The applications could end up running the curriculum rather than the iPad being a tool to enable the curriculum. Is the wireless network up to it? Storage? Charging? Likelihood of them being damaged? Some websites and resources are Flash-based and this can mean more work to find alternatives.

    For: Whilst centralised management can be expensive it can be done and there are various MDM vendors and ASEs out there who can do it for you, but at a cost so you can weigh up the cost v the benefits. The range of SEN apps is growing daily and there are a good number for free. The range of experience in the SEN community is growing every day and there are some really good guides / people out there to help make the most of these devices. Pedagogically, how the devices are used and the difference they make should be transferable between platforms and devices, so should a killer app appear on another device at a later date then this should not lock you in, but you have to be careful. As a personal device it has a good range of flexible option, but so do most devices now.

    Not the most extensive list ... but a start perhaps.

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    witch (17th April 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    There aren't that many great educational apps
    Actually ... there are. A fair number are not labelled as 'education' but then again, neither is MS OneNote. Have a read of James Winchester's blog for examples SEN Classroom

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    I still don't think it's a good investment. And what's wrong with a real guitar or keyboard? That's how I learned when I was at school.

    I would much rather buy 2/3 netbooks instead of 1 iPad.

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    witch (17th April 2012)

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    witch's Avatar
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    Thanks guys - I think we can forget the centralised bit as I think he is going for stand-alone beasts.
    More please -
    If you think *yes* - what makes ipads better IYHO?
    If you think *no* - what would you use instead?
    Last edited by witch; 17th April 2012 at 09:28 PM.

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    Well you have Android, but that's about it really for the moment. At least with an Android you can choose from a range of brands, just as you will with Windows 8 tablets Q4 2012.

    You could argue even if they will be standalone, they'll still need syncing and updating, unless (whoever's in charge of maintaining them) does it all manually? Not a great job and will just end up being a mess!

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Thanks guys - I think we can forget the centralised bit as I think he is going for stand-alone beasts.
    More please -
    If you think *yes* - what makes ipads better IYHO?
    If you think *no* - what would you use instead?
    on a number of levels the ipad is a better device IMHO, better battery life, snappier experience, more user friendly gui (v. important at primary level especially). but crucially the app ecosystem is much more polished. How many apps dedicated for the ipad - hundreds of thousands. Plus i would guess there are now many primaries now comfortable navigating the ecosystem and picking out apps which seem to find flavour across a number of schools in different parts of the country.

    How many apps designed specifically for the latest tablets running a version of android that atleast tries to compliment the undoubtedly impressive hardware specs of the latest devices ? and not scaled up version of apps which will need to run on a variety of different smartphones from different manufacturers.

    Cost is one thing, but the ipad2 will have come down in price since the introduction of the new ipad, and IT folk will and should argue for TCO benefits, and the T&L benefits. Rather than just Tablet A sticker price is cheaper than Tablet B.

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    iPad 2 16Gb going for 289.99 (Inc VAT) at present (ebuyer eBay store).

    Android tablets from 100 upwards.

    Going for an iPad (or any other tablet) should be on the basis that it is the 'solution' to your requirements; not vice versa. (E.g. not, we like tablets what can we do with them?)

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    @witch:

    I would be in more in favour of good netbooks with windows 7 or 8 and a good phonics software with a windows version of Kindle plus a good text to speach software package such as text tease read write version 12 which can be networked and comes with a site license.

    We have been testing IPads version2 for a few months now and to be quite honest they are very good for some subjects but for others they are just a distraction. Unless you are willing to spend time and money on a good system to mange them it will be quite time consuming having to constantly update apps and re-sync using the IPhone utility, I know there is another IPad utility which does this but requires lots of other stuff to go with it.

    Unless there is absolute justification for the IPads then I feel as @Michael stated they are a costly investment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I still don't think it's a good investment. And what's wrong with a real guitar or keyboard? That's how I learned when I was at school.

    I would much rather buy 2/3 netbooks instead of 1 iPad.
    iPad 2 250 Ex Vat....What quality are the netbooks going to be getting 3 at that price?

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    We trialled an RM Slate with a lad with physical SEN and he got on well with it. We liked it as, being windows, he could use the same software as everyone else... and being Windows helped with management too. He did need to use it on a writing slope not flat on the desk... The slope made it simpler for him to operate.

    It really depends on how they intend to use them. They won't suit all AEN pupils. They should be chosen because they are the best tool for the job, not because they're a tool and we'll find the job they can be used for.

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    I've had an Ipad and a Galaxy 10.1 tab for about 6 months and they are just not good enough value to be able to make a case to use them as a general purpose tool.

    There is basically nothing in the education field for 'droids and the proxy server issues make life difficult (SUPPOSED to be sorted now but you'd need to actuall test the exact device before purchasing as you can't trust Google on this issue!! )

    The ipads work flawlessly except no flash - there are some education apps around and they are superb sound/stop motion animation tools.

    But 400 vs 200 for a netbook that does everything - its just not a contest at the moment- when they are 100 - then time to look again

    Si

    PS If there was a cheap windows slate running Win7 at 200 then I might be interested in them
    Last edited by SimpleSi; 17th April 2012 at 10:49 PM.

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    In your role as Governor shouldn’t you be making sure that the school is getting the best value for the equipment they feel will improve and support children’s learning? Not deciding on what equipment should or shouldn’t be used. You are not responsible for the integration, maintenance and support of the solution, the school or schools support provider is.

    Your role is to be strategic putting pupils' needs foremost and basing decisions on standards rather than solely on funding.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    I agree with you @RoF, and I think that @witch has asked this question so she can question rather than choose.

    When the papers arrive for a Governors meeting, you don't have long to read them through. The school staff will have presented a spending plan to the GB for approval and the Governors role is not to rubber stamp that plan. Governors are expected to challenge and ensure the school is getting [buzzphrase]Best Value[/buzzphrase]

    With limited time and a gut feeling that 'shiny' was in the plan, I'd do exactly what witch has done... Get advice on the pros and cons so I could ask the right questions and satisfy myself as a Governor that this was the best plan for the needs of the pupils.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 18th April 2012 at 08:12 AM.

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