I’ve been thinking about writing about the iPad since I saw this image a few months back:

Today I commented on a great post by Ira Socol ‘Welcome iPad and Web 1.5‘ and I said,

“I’m a huge Mac fan, but I have no interest in a bigger version of my iPhone that isn’t a phone, isn’t a camera, doesn’t like to multitask, requires me to have a laptop on the side and then doesn’t fit in my pocket.”

The simple fact is when I look at Ira’s thoughtful post (and comments) and I think of my recent ‘Product You‘ post, I start to see a very disturbing trend.

For a long time we have perceived ‘progress’ as driven by ingenuity, far more than just consumerism, but in fact that’s not always the case. Cars could have been far smaller, more efficient and more environmentally friendly by now if ingenuity trumped consumerism.

So what does this have to do with the iPad? Well, to me, if the iPad were a car, it would be a car that is overpriced and only lets you fill up at certain gas stations. If it had a GPS it would either only let you select pre-programmed destinations or it would decide the best route to take based on Apple’s placement on the route.

It is a product that not only invites consumerism but is designed to promote it… this at a time when so many educators are trying to get students to be prosumers… and to be creators of content.

So, if you want to buy a new toy for yourself, go ahead and have fun with the iPad! But if you want to buy a new educational tool for a school, please think about the purpose you really want that tool for, and spend your money wisely!

8 comments on “iPads are for iConsumers

  1. Good point Dave. I read Ira’s post as well but didn’t comment as I’m a little frustrated with Apple these days. I love the design of their products but hate the control they have over their users. I fear that educators will jump on this new ipad only to be locked into yet another expensive limited proprietary tool. A netbook with touch screen (tablet like) and webcam for < $500 is much better value than an ipad and you can run any software or web 2.0 app you want, most of it for free!
    .-= Brian Kuhn´s last blog ..Administrator 2.0 Leading Technology in Schools =-.

  2. Dave, that’s so true. During a time when the discussion about the environment is all around us and we hear “go green” from all media, it would appear that these are only veiled layers that sit atop a deeper layer of consumerism that is driven by the mantra of “constant progress”. Yet, as you point out, this isn’t a case of progress. All around you can see “new and improved” but, like you car analogy, the things we are seeing aren’t really improved, just new. I’d prefer a iphone, if I could get the service!

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    Karen,
    As I said in a comment on your post: “I love how you found the advantages for students with challenges and focused on the benefits the iPad has to offer, and yet I have to agree with Ira’s comment [above mine on your post]: There’s no reason to jump on a lesser, more controlled, device.

    I don’t have an issue with the iPad as a great, fun device, (I wouldn’t mind one myself), but it’s a tool that is limited compared to many other tools. To me the ‘coolness factor’you mention doesn’t outweigh what I said [in this post]: It is a product that not only invites consumerism but is designed to promote it… this at a time when so many educators are trying to get students to be prosumers… and to be creators of content.

    My advice: buy it for yourself, but put school money to more ‘productive’ use.
    ~Dave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *