The iPad or…the others?
Posted April 10, 2013on:
A couple of posts about tablet devices have stuck in my mind over the past week or two. The first one was this from Mark Cunningham in Edinburgh, about his experiences with the tablet device roll out in his school, a part of Edinburgh City Council’s participation in the national 1:1 device provision trials here in Scotland. In his blog post, Mark reflects on his experiences with Android devices (provided by Toshiba). Initially in favour of Android, Mark gradually changed his mind and has now come to the conclusion that iPads are the best device for schools. I visited Mark at his school, Forrester High in Edinburgh last year as a part of our Excellence Group programme of school visits. During the work of this group, we looked at access to devices, BYOT, and school WiFi and these aspects of education IT use were addressed by recommendations to the Education Secretary Michael Russell in our final report. I think this shift by Mark towards Apple is pretty representative of user choice across the country. Chatting to some of the teachers and school managers at the recent Learning Through Technology conference in Glasgow, it was clear that the iPad is the tablet of choice, when users are given the choice.
Is the iPad is starting to emerge as the winner in education?. When we talk about tablet roll-out programmes its always the iPad, or Android. There are just no android tablets which fire the imagination as the Apple product does. When someone asks you which tablet you have, they wont recognise most of the Android products, but will instantly know what the iPad looks like and does. This is a major issue the others will need to address if they are set on making a meaningful breakthrough in education. It’s too early to tell with regard to Windows tablets, although there is huge potential here for them to challenge the dominance of Apple.
Its not just the tablet either. Its the add -ons as well. The education resources on offer from Apple. Just look at ITunesU and iLife…fantastic well thought out resources for creativity which are just not there on other platforms. This also will need to be addressed by Android if its to have any chance of overhauling the iPad. Education is a major driver of demand. Quite frankly, the kids influence parental choice and purchase like never before!
The other post is this one. Its a more general view of the battle for the tablet market between Apple and the others. Its not quite as much on the side of the iPad as mark’s blog post, and provides perhaps a more dispassionate viewpoint. But it puts forward an interesting point of view about specification, in that despite Android devices sometimes having a superior spec to the iPad, the iPad is still the one chosen. Is this indicative of just how much Apple has worked its way into our brains as the ‘must-have’ product?
But for Mark and his school, its more than just the device.
In my presentation to the Learning Through technology conference, I explained how Apple appeal to our emotional brain by brilliantly articulating the ‘Why’, rather than the ‘What’ and ‘How’ of their products in a way which no other tablet device provider has yet managed to do. With education, its the whole package though. The device and the resources and dedicated education support team access. It will be interesting to see how the other tablet manufacturers pick up the baton on this one. Education is and will be a massive commercial market over the next few years as education sectors all over the world make serious moves into tablet purchase. Apple certainly appear to have the head start in this race.
(The research on the Scottish Schools iPad trial can be found here )
(Image from here )