iPad - Why? How?


Why use iPads for learning?

  1. 1.It occupies a new space in technology, one which is still undefined to some extent, yet which is likely to be significant over time. The space is between the mobile space occupied by phones and iPods, and the portable space which is where laptops and netbooks live. The new position in between these established areas is one I am naming the ‘agile’ space - as the iPad largely does what the other devices offer yet also offers so much more.

  2. 2.It will help to personalise learning - it is widely recognised the 1 to 30 one-way knowledge-transfer model is fast becoming redundant. As teachers and lecturers begin to create new ways of tackling this issue, the iPad could play a useful role in this transformation.

  3. 3.The end of networks? - the iPad could be the beginning of the end of the dominance of managed networks in education. How much time is wasted not being able to ‘log in’? How often is the network ‘down’? The iPad could hold all the apps a learner needs for a day/week/month/term’s work. The only network needed will be robust wifi throughout the school buildings and in as many open outdoor spaces as possible.

  4. 4.It could also be the start of a large reduction in the role of the technician in providing the technical support many schools need with their technology. Too often teachers are over reliant technicians for everyday issues due to the over complicated nature of some technology. The iPad needs little if any maintenance and installing the software is simple, quick and easy - there is little need for any technical support. This is important because it puts the learner, teacher and school in control of their technology.

  5. 5.No more ICT suites - too many schools segregate their technology from everyday teaching and learning by placing it often in a dark, windowless room and timetabling when learners can access computers. Children are then herded in large groups along the corridor to use the computers. Thus technology becomes compartmentalised and discrete rather than ubiquitous and generic.

  6. 6.It’s a blank canvas - the scope for apps written specifically for teaching and learning is huge. Educationalists can work with developers to create new and innovative software which reflect the learner’s needs and expectations in technology. Essentially the iPad is a tactile and engaging mobile device which could transform the way people learn.

  7. 7.Instant-on & all-day battery - young people (rightly) expect devices to come to life at the press of a button. It’s possible to get on the net and find the information you require using an iPad before a laptop has finished running through its boot-up sequence. Using a device all through the school day without having to charge it up saves a huge amount of time for teachers and learners. There is nothing more frustrating and disruptive than having to find 10-15 laptop chargers halfway through a lesson!

  8. 8.Auto-Save - the apps which run the iPad (and other iOS devices) signal the way forward when it comes to saving work learners produce and create. Saving files takes place automatically ‘behind the scenes’ constantly in the background, which means learners (and teachers) know their work is always safe. No more excuses like ‘I forgot to save my homework’ etc. anymore!

  9. 9.Contextual Learning - the form factor, battery life and apps mean that the iPad can be an ‘anywhere anytime’ learning device. This makes it ideal for projects and learning which take place out of the classroom, in the schools grounds, on a day visit or residential stay. Couple the iPad with a MiFi and learners can be online at all times at every location.

  10. 10. When all the potential functionality of the iPad is added up, its form factor, the iOS, the cameras, and the apps, it becomes clear that the iPad is a Personal Learning Studio. It can be a science lab, literacy tool, research station, history archive, language lab, art canvas, music studio, video editing suite, games console and library.

  11. 11. For the first time we have a device, OS and software which is agile enough to meet the learning needs for any subject, any age and all abilities. The iPad has enabled people previously excluded from engaging with technology, to now use a device for the first time with innovative apps such as Airvox


eBook Reader

Could be amazing if publishing houses get their acts together. The iPad could be perfect for educational text books.

Web Research

Apart from no Flash video, browsing should be as good as a laptop yet more personal and flexible.


Great for handheld presenting to a small group of peers. With the iPad 2, presenting via VGA/HDMI is now possible and with Apple TV this can be done wirelessly.


Great for learners to add to a group or class blog using apps like Wordpress.


The iBook store could be awesome if schools can contribute their own work. Now with Pages & iBooks Author on the Mac and Book Creator & CBB on the iPad, it’s easy to create original ePub titles.  

Art Work               Already many great apps for drawing & painting for all ages, some of which are quite sophisticated.


Easy portable method for learners to make notes and mind-maps of class and lecture information.


Free apps already out there for simple story creation and visual literacy. Possibly the best comic-making app on the Mac (Comic Life) is now available for the iPad.

Digital Storytelling

  1. With built-in still and video cameras plus a decent microphone, the iPad is ideal for simple digital storytelling.


So many apps offer opportunities for learners to create and develop original ideas and stories.


There is an increasing number of musical apps coming along which encourage learners to create music in new and innovative ways.

Video Editing

iMovie uses the built-in cameras to take footage and do some basic video editing. Expect this app (and others) to become more sophisticated with every new release.


Apps such as GarageBand and bossjock mean that the iPad can create and share audio podcasts quickly and easily..