For the average person, having to fork out hundreds of dollars for a new laptop is disappointing. But for geeks like me, it's a great excuse to get the latest and the greatest.
I faced a tough choice between a high-end laptop or a newly released tablet. I thought about my work needs and personal needs and decided to go with a tablet. Although I've traditionally used PC, Apple's iPad dominates the tablet market so I took the plunge.
As anticipated, the tablet doesn't replace my laptop. So, here's the rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of using an iPad as a teacher.
- Speed: The speed and accessibility of the tablet is amazing. I've never surfed the internet so fast. This past May I was able to show a melanoma awareness video to four classes in record time. The process was quick because the iPad had a quick startup, it flawlessly connected to the projector and speakers, and it loaded the video without hesitation.
- Apps: There are a number of apps that can be very useful. I have made use of a number of word games in my class including Scrabble, Boggle, and crosswords. Check out iear.org for a very extensive collection of reviews on educational apps.
- An inexpensive buzzer system: Rather than investing in an elaborate buzzer system, install a buzzer app on the ipad and a few ipads/iphones. One such app is called PickMe Buzzer and it works great for quiz games played in class.
- Prezi: I'm a Prezi user and the iPad helps me deliver great presentations in class and at conferences (prezi.com). The iPad also runs other popular presentation software.
- Lesson plans: I switched to a digital planner a few years ago and have never looked back. The iPad makes my schedule available nearly everywhere. What's more is that my schedule is synched to my desktop for more convenience.
- Apple stuff: The iPad doesn't have flash. I don't know why Apple can't make a deal with Adobe but the result is an incomplete internet. The occasional web page simply doesn't work.
- Networks: I'm not able to connect to my workplace network because they don't permit Apple products on the network. They claim this is because of security, but I'm not too sure.
- Smartboard compatibility: The iPad is not compatible with the Smart Board. If you're a teacher that uses a Smart Board or another interactive white board product, then a tablet cannot replace a laptop.
- Can't replace all of your computers: For those who thought a desktop and laptop were unneeded after a tablet purchase will be sorely disappointed. I still use my desktop daily. I need the desktop to create large presentations, input my marks, manage my files, and to access sites and programs I can't on the iPad.