Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why The iPad Is A Learning Tool

Learning Solutions Magazine / October 27, 2010 / Sesh Kuma

In 1968, Alan Kay wrote about his idea to create “A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages.” The device was the Dynabook, and it had all the features of what we now call a laptop or tablet PC. Kay intended it as a way to introduce children to digital media.

The Dynabook embodied the earliest idea of mobile learning. The origins of a personal computing device began with an educational vision. Today, with the Apple iPad, that vision has the potential to become a reality.

Across the U.S., universities and schools see the iPad as the device that will truly take classroom education into the digital era. Greg Smith, CIO at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, says,

“The iPad appears to be the perfect device for information at your fingertips, which places it in the role to ignite change.”

iPad champions hope it will initiate the change that will soon displace one-to-many teaching pedagogies in favor of one-to-one, always-on learning that will engage students. In particular, educators feel that tablets will change education because they dovetail with the goals and purposes of education in the digital age.

Let’s look at the features that make the iPad such a great learning device.

Touch Screen Usability


Single Screen User Interface


A Better eReader


Convergence and Productivity



While the debate continues, there’s no doubt that the iPad has taken personal computing to the next level. Considering computing devices began with a vision of revolutionizing education, it’s not surprising that many of the iPad's features appeal to educational users.


What do students and teachers like about the iPad?

  • Can be preloaded with textbooks and used for tutorials
  • Enhanced ability to manage information
    – like classes, schedules, and assignments
  • Lightweight and portable, ideal for students on-the-go
  • Design and publish learning material, video-based training
  • Deliver presentations and projects to the class
  • Manage assignments, maintain rosters of students


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