More and more teachers are wondering about the iPad in the classroom. A few of us have the iPad 2 and as the new iPad 3 just came out, the big question is whether teachers should upgrade their iPads.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wants us to know that we live in a “post-PC” era. And, of course, Apple is leading the revolution and “reinventing portable computing.” (video 2:00.)

  • If you want to hear about the new iPad 3 directly from the March 2012 Apple event, here’s the link to the video.
  • If you haven’t seen the new iPad 3 ad, here it is on YouTube.

Unless you’re at the bleeding edge of classroom technology, most teachers have their feet firmly planted in the personal computer era. It’s comfortable, it’s familiar, and it’s what we know (and also what we have access to.)

Meanwhile, some students are walking around with hundreds of dollars of smartphone technology in their pockets and the odd iPad, playbook, or personal laptop from home lurking in the hallways and lockers.

This week, Apple recently showcased the new iPad (iPad third-generation.) Being an iPad kind of teacher, people asked me what I thought about getting the new one.

  • If you’re a teacher and you already own an iPad 2, the answer is no, it’s not really worth the upgrade to the new iPad 3.
  • If you’re a teacher and you don’t have an iPad, the answer is yes. You should seriously consider getting an iPad and then using your iPad in the classroom.

The New iPad in the Classroom?

Here are some quick links to ideas in this 3 part series:

Part 1: Here’s why schools don’t really need to upgrade to new iPad 3:

Higher Resolution Retina Display

  • The new iPad 3 comes with retina display (the highest revolution ever seen on a mobile device.
  • A screen resolution of 2048×1536 means 3.1 million pixels or four times more than the previous iPad.)
  • Unless your students are doing some serious photography or video editing, they don’t need to have that kind of resolution.

A5X Chip – Faster Quad Core Graphics Processor

  • The new iPad also comes with a faster processor – A5X – which provides quad core graphics to deliver the high resolution retina display.
  • Philip Schiller, senior vice president of marketing told us at the March Apple event that in terms of graphics performance, the A5X chip was twice as fast as the A5 chip in the previous iPad 2 (video: 28:45).
  • I’m excited to see whether that means apps will run any faster on the new iPad, but in terms of classroom technology, the iPad 2 is fast enough for student use.

Better iSight Camera (5MB and 1080P HD video)

  • If your students are using the iPad for photography, then iPad 3 might be worth it because the iSight camera comes with a five megapixel camera, and 1080P HD video.
  • But, chances are, you’re using iPads in your classroom to take notes, highlight words, or to project lessons onto the big screen using Apple TV.
  • If your students are doing serious photography, then a portable computer like an iPad doesn’t really cut it. (Although the new iPhoto app is darned cool and lets you use the iPad as a portable laptop to manage your photos from your digital SLR camera if you have the camera connection kit.)

Faster 4G LTE cellular network access

  • The iPad 3 comes with 4G LTE, which means that you can surf the net and watch videos without lagging while on the road using cellular networks.
  • From a classroom technology perspective, you don’t need cellular data. If your school has Wi-Fi, then you can use that. If your school doesn’t have Wi-Fi, then spending an extra hundred dollars per student iPad plus the additional costs for data simply isn’t worth it.

Exact same battery life

  • Both the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 come with a 10 hour battery life (video: 40:00).
  • That’s long enough to go through the regular school day without recharging your iPad. How many netbooks and laptop computers come with that kind of battery life?
  • If you already have an iPad 2, then upgrading to an iPad 3 won’t increase your battery life. Students are fine with the iPad 2 in the classroom.

New Software for the iPad 3

  • Apple (and their partners) just released some new software that takes advantage of the higher-resolution on the iPad 3. (But the software should also run on the iPad 2):
  • The iPhoto app is incredible.
  • They made upgrades to GarageBand, which now lets you have four players sync and perform wirelessly together.
  • iMovie now allows you to create trailers for your movies.
  • Pages, Numbers, and Keynote lets you create 3-D bar, line, and other charts. (This iWork suite on the iPad requires IOS 5.1, which is a free software update that works on your iPad 2.)
  • Keynote also has some new built-in transitions.
  • If you teach art, then you might be interested in the upcoming Autodesk sketchbook ink app which lets you create line art (soon to be released and showcased in the Apple event video at 47:30.) Sketchbook Pro is also a very good painting app (currently in App Store.) If you teach art, imagine walking around your classroom with an iPad and demonstrating our techniques using a projector (and Apple TV.)
  • You don’t need to upgrade to the new iPad in the classroom because these apps will work on your iPad 2.

[stextbox id=”info”]A few of my teacher friends are excited about the SMART technologies wireless slate. The SMART slate lets you use an interactive pen on a clipboard-like device to control your computer like a wireless mouse. The problem is that you don’t get an image on your clipboard which takes some hand eye coordination to be able to actually draw on the computer.

On the other hand, the iPad is a visual screen device – you can basically touch the screen and draw on it with the painting program like sketchbook Pro. Connect Apple TV to your projector and all of a sudden you can connect your iPad wirelessly to your projector through your Wi-Fi network. In other words, if you’re an art teacher, you can walk around the classroom and to draw and demonstrate your techniques on your iPad and have students see exactly what you see on your iPad projected on the big screen. But you can do all this with an iPad 2. You don’t need to upgrade to the new iPad in the classroom.[/stextbox]

I wrote this series on whether teachers should upgrade to the new iPad 3 by talking to my computer using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?

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  • There are 2328 words in this series. Dragon made 40 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.3% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 15 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.6% in this document.

Example of Word Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5:

  • announced that this event = announced at this event
  • the odd iPad, = the art iPad,

Example of Punctuation / Capitalization Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5

  • iPad 3 = IPad three


iPad in the Classroom: The new iPad 3 isn’t worth upgrading for teachers and students, if you already have an iPad 2. So, find out the best part of iPad 3 for teachers.


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