One of the great things about Wisconsin, apart from being a dynamic place in the realm of labor relations, is that we get access to lots of good training through our local CESA co-op. A fellow teacher and I have been taking courses on the advanced use of Moodle. We’ve been having lots of fun with it. As part of the grant, we get funds to purchase a laptop. Already having a laptop, I was thinking of getting a tablet so I can look at my Moodle page while on the move since I spend so little of my time sitting down. I also like the idea of writing on my SMARTboard wirelessly via a VNC client. I like passing the tablet around in lieu of coming up to the board, or putting something on the board without taking my eyes off of a particular student (think kindergarten, where turning your back on a class can have tragic consequences).
I think I am going with the iPad. Not because it is the cheapest or best performing tablet out there—the Motorola Xoom, for one, caught my eye. No, it comes down to the difference in market between the Android and the iPad’s iOS. Android, first and foremost, was made as a smartphone OS, and most of its Apps are geared around lifestyle, business, and personal-phone type applications. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, has been developed both on their iPhone and on the iPod Touch. As a result of thousands of schools embracing the iPod Touch and the relatively cheap wi-fi only iPad, many more apps on iOS are geared toward education. They are a significant chunk of Apple’s market share, and while I don’t mind wading into the pool of tablets in my classroom, I don’t want to dive into a platform that has not proven itself in education yet. Funny, but it seems in this age of tablets, Apple is again the favorite of schools, and Android/Blackberry the favorite of business.
What will I use my iPad for? For starters, I hope to remotely control my smartboard as I have said before. Then, through Google documents I hope to get my gradebook on there as well. The idea of carrying around a few books and having a lot of resource apps at my disposal is also something I hope to have, if a student needs a question answered I hope to have it right away. Are there any Apps that you find useful in the classroom? If so, please share; I want to know what I should fill my new toy up with!