So Apple has announced its new iPad mini. What does this mean for technology in education, and more specifically, what role will it play in education? How is the iPad mini any different from the previous generations of iPads?
First things first, the smaller size compared to the iPad is appealing for schools because it is more portable and lighter. However, in reaction to the iPad mini, some people have noted that the smaller screen is not ideal for learning. I suppose this is a matter of preference. If you are one who has a tendency to print everything off the computer to view physically in person, or if you are rather attached to the luxury of large computer monitors, the smaller screen of the iPad mini may feel like a nuisance. I feel like this former sentence accurately describes my parents’ generation and even some of the professors at my university. But my parents’ generation and the generation in K-12 schools today have grown up in drastically different ways. Unlike my parent’s generation, for kids today, technology has been a regular part of their lives, engaging with it constantly, and having increasingly greater access to it. Given this, the smaller screen on the iPad mini may not have a significant impact in their ability to use it in the classroom and actually learn from its use.
Worth noting, the iPad mini has all the same features and display as the regular version of the iPad, as Apple claims, “There’s less of it, but no less to it.” Schools purchasing these devices can be sure that they are getting the latest technology available. In fact, the new iPad mini touts ultra-fast wirelss that is “up to twice as fact as any previous-generation iPad.” Faster wire-less will undoubting benefit students in classrooms, after all, faster wireless can yield more efficient class activities.
Most importantly, the iPad mini is relatively more affordable than most versions of the iPad, starting at $329 for Wi-Fi enabled. This is significant, as we all know that schools aren’t made of money, cheaper yet high quality technology is always a great option to have.
So now I leave you with a bigger question, along with the remainder of existing tablets, will these devices in fact help students learn?
Cover Image: simoncoles via Flickr