Just Say NO to iPads for Education: Introduction & Overview

My name is Matthew Gudenius and I am a teacher, a computer programmer, and an educational technologist. These days there is a lot of buzz and hype about various technologies and their use for education. One of the devices that’s currently a hot topic is the iPad. In this series of videos, I am going to explain why the decision to purchase iPads for education is a bad idea, both functionally and financially. I know that for many people, this is not a very popular stance, but I’m going to urge you to set aside the buzz and the hype for a moment, to get some facts, and to think for yourself… to think different.

Why am I making this video? Well, let me assure you that I have no personal stake in the matter – I’m not trying to sell you anything and I don’t own stock in any technology company. So why am I doing this? The answer is simple: I care about the future of America, and that future is going to be determined by how well we educate our children to be the workforce of tomorrow, and also by how wisely we spend our money.

In a time of economic uncertainty, with budgets being slashed, teachers losing jobs, and arts and music and sports programs being cut, we are in no position to be fiscally irresponsible with our purchases. If we are going to use technology, we must be sure we do our homework to find the most useful device at the most affordable price possible – in other words, we need to be sure that it is providing a good return on investment.

The iPad is not this device.

In these videos, I’m going to go over the many limitations of the iPad which make it a poor choice for schools, but the basic reasons are as follows:

#1) There are millions of websites that the iPad can’t access because it doesn’t run important web applications like Flash, Java, Shockwave, or Unity. The number of educational websites that use Flash is staggering, and many of these websites are absolutely free – but the iPad can’t access any of them.

#2) Unlike other tablets, the iPad doesn’t have a USB port or storage card slot, which are easy ways to transfer files and connect to peripheral devices like digital cameras. This creates a major limitation and setback, especially when having students create or save work.

#3) iPads – and tablets in general – are not effective for project-based learning or productivity in general. They can run games and e-books just fine, but we need to be teaching our students to be the creators and producers of tomorrow… not just mere consumers. iPads and tablets are limited by weaker processors, lack of keyboards, and mostly by their inability to run powerful productivity software.

#4) iPads are NOT cost-effective – there are alternative devices that are more affordable and yet can do all of the same things the iPad can do… or more.

To learn more about these various problems and limitations of the iPad, you can view my other videos by clicking on the links below. The topics I will cover are:

  1. Wave of the Future or Passing Fad?
  2. Why iPads do Not Meet Today’s Educational Needs
  3. How iPads Limit Productivity
  4. There’s NOT an App for That – What is Flash and why does it matter?
  5. Why iPads are Not Cost-Effective
  6. Better, More Affordable Alternatives
  7. Why iPad Textbooks Are Not the Solution