"Shift Control"
pairadimes, restructuring, School2.0, technology

Still sold on Laptops over iPads

"Shift Control"

I know that I’ve already expressed this view in my BYOL vs BYOD post, but here are two more reasons why I think laptops are the better way to go… I find that I’m using my iPad more and more, but for consuming information, not creating it. Reason (1) comes from a student, while reason (2) is a strictly personal experience.

(1) We were at the Calgary Science School and two Grade 7’s, Kristen and Julie, were our tour guides for day one of the Connect Ed Canada Conference. This year was the pilot year for Grade 7’s to have iPads instead of laptops, (CSS is a Grade 4 to 9, one-to-one Macbook school). I asked Kristen what she thought of moving from a laptop to an iPad and although I can’t quote her word-for-word, this is what she said:

‘I like the convenience of the iPad, it’s really easy to carry and take with you wherever you go, but it’s sort of limiting in what you can do. You have more options with a laptop. I think it would be a great introduction device for the Grade 4’s to teach them responsibility and how to take care of their devices, but once they got that, then for the later grades we should all have laptops.’

(2) I read a great blog post on my iPad not too long ago. I decided to add a comment. In the comment, I wanted to quote an online pdf and then link to it. I spent 10 minutes writing the comment, bouncing between Safari tabs, and trying to copy the right text and paste it into my comment. Then when I went to copy the link to the pdf, I went back to the tab with my comment only to have it refresh on me… wiping out my comment. That wouldn’t have happened on a laptop and I would have been done the comment in about 5 minutes.

Love my iPad. I hope many students bring them as secondary devices when we open the Inquiry Hub in September. But, I’m really happy that we are going to be a Bring Your Own Laptop school, where we encourage and invite the use of other tools as well.

Took the keyboard Shift/Control photo with my iPhone, used a $1.99 app to crop, filter and play with with the contrast of the image… and then wrote this post on my laptop.

15 comments on “Still sold on Laptops over iPads

  1. I agree David, I find it exceedingly difficult to be productive on the iPad. I have better luck using my phone (Droid Razr) hooked up to a Motorola lapdock. Full screen, full keyboard, and full internet access all that with the portability and instant on functionality of a tablet. A keyboard is a must for maximizing productivity.

    I also find that the iPad doesn’t play well with Windows so productivity is further hampered if you don’t live in a Mac world.

    1. Yes, the keyboard is essential, but it’s more than that too, which you allude to as well. Even with a laptop connected to my iPad, and using the best blogging app (Blogsy) I can find to date, I would still rather the freedom of a laptop with multiple tabs and programs open as well as the convenience of easy cut/paste, when I’m blogging. That doesn’t take anything away from the convenience of my iPad when sitting and having a coffee and checking things out on Flipboard… but that’s not what I want as a primary tool for students in schools where content production should be a key focus.

  2. Hi David, your article is very important, while we have “national madness” and there are schools that eliminate computer labs and go “clean” on iPad. People purchase hardware which great toy, can be used instead of a notebook (I mean pen and paper), it convenient to keep information, but it definitely cannot replace (at least for now)computer (laptop).

  3. I asked my 5th grade students if they thought they could do everything on an iPad that they do on their Macbook Pros. Almost all agreed they could given they had a keyboard for production.

    As I think through the things we do with 5th graders, that is probably true. However, If I begin implementing more blogging and online commenting (which I intend to do this next year), the iPads will be a hinderance. Students will need to easily flip through screens.

  4. We are in the middle of this debate right now and the iPad seems to be pulling ahead. We have plenty of desktops available for content production so we don’t really need the laptops as much. We are enjoying the iPad apps and think the versatility of the devices will stretch our practice, as apposed to just adding a more portable version of the same types of activities and programs.

    This is based on the assumption we are purchasing a cart full of items, though. If we were trying to go to a full 1 to 1, we might be going the other way.

  5. I agree, David. I just returned from the ISTE conference and each day had the dilemma – do I bring the laptop or the iPad? Most days, I took both… my back hated me for it, but each has its role and they are both better at different things.

    I spent the past year coordinating a one-to-one task force and have recently finished writing a recommendation document for our board of directors (I’m at a private school), detailing the steps involved in moving to 1-to-1 at our school. We are a K-12 school with laptops already at 8-12. We have recommended iPads from K-2, one set of iPads and one set of laptops for our two grade 3 classes, and laptops for 4-7.

    I’m happy to hear that others are of a similar mind – I was getting worried after all the big hype about schools going to iPads only.

  6. There a lot of advantages that a laptop have over those tablet PCs. I guess that tablet PCs are better for those who want the portability of a laptop without the need of a keyboard. However, if we want to do more things, we are better off with a laptop.

  7. Thanks for your thoughts. I also love the speed of connection and the push down content for reading/consuming. And for some activities I can see the value in the ability to capture images and quickly upload. However for deeper level revisioning/editing of work, I still find the laptop a must-have. The ipad is too restrictive to really have a strong place if I’m after anything advanced – eg. Google docs works terribly with the commenting etc feature. Again it all comes down to purpose and flexibility.

  8. I think a balance is needed. In Scottish schools , generally the corporate ICT department has complete control over what hardware software etc can be used in schools. They are still concentrating on managed networks , so if you use a laptop it takes a while to download profile, and by th etime that is done the learning moment has gone. However mobile devices do not need a profile, therefore quick to load up , find and evaluate info, then if required students could use if required a networked machine to record findings.
    There is still a paranoia amongst teachers that they need to hold paper copies of anything for evidence to exam boards, the yreally have to move on and realise that information can be presented digitally and not just retrieved from a filing cabinet. iPads and other tablets may force a change of heart…..I hope

  9. In my case, I prefer to use laptops more often than tablets. I actually consider tablets for gaming and social networking only and laptop for my office and other professional work. I’m not really comfortable with the touchscreen of the tablets when I’m typing and I tend to misspell some of the words.

  10. I still have yet to be assigned an iPad. There seems to be a lot of interaction that can occur between my MacBook/SmartBd and the iPad. I want to explore it.

    If I had to give up the laptop for the iPad, I’d say no thanks.

    Nice post.

  11. But what does “being productive” actually mean? For my students it’s less about submitting a 9 page research paper than a writing a learning reflection in the form of a 500 word blog post…or a movie shot and edited in iMovie and uploaded to YouTube…or a podcast recorded and shared using SoundCloud…or creating a presentation with Keynote and displaying it to classmates via apple tv. I have fallen for the flexibility that the iPad gives me in being productive in lots of ways. Then there is the price: $499 for a new iPad and $2199 for a new MacBook Pro.

    BTW, best wishes on the Inquiry Hub. Sounds amazing!

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