Mac Tablet for Schools

Discussion in 'iPad' started by McAusland, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. McAusland macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2010
    I'm currently an Elementary School Mathematics teacher and I've had this idea for a number of years. Eight years ago, when I first saw the Tablet PC I thought that it would be a great tool to help facilitate the communication between students and the teacher. Then when I saw a demonstration of the SmartBoard, I thought that if I could record my lectures, students would be able to retain the information better. Last year, I was introduced to Dyknow Technology and the interfacing between teacher and students became seamless. And finally, when I read about Jeff Bezos and his Kindle, I continued to refine my idea and thought to myself, why can't we convert school textbooks to eBooks.

    I need to find someone to help me combine the Kindle 2 and Table PC while integrating them with SmartBoard and Dyknow technology. Hopefully this is where Steve Jobs is taking the Mac Tablet!

    Here are my ideas:
    1) For the past 10 years textbooks have continued to grow in size and weight. The backpack industry has specifically redesigned their product to include wheels for this very reason. We need to pressure the publishing companies to include educational textbooks as viable e-Books. Students would no longer have to break their backs lugging around suitcases full of textbooks. It could all be contained in the MAC-Tablet (That's "MAC" for McAusland, not that other product).

    2) If we could blend certain capabilities of the Tablet PC/Mac Tablet and the Kindle 2 we could create a much more rich interface. Tablet PC's ability to write directly on the device is a must. We need to refine the software so that it acts like a notebook and allows students to take notes during class and save them to the device. And with a touch of a tab they can switch to another subject's notebook, all contained on one device. This would mean that students would only need the MAC-Tablet instead of 5 different notebooks.

    3) You've probably noticed SmartBoards in school classrooms. We need to develop software to allow the SmartBoard and the MAC-Tablet to communicate and share information back and forth. Students could complete their homework on the MAC-Tablet and then when they sit down in class, the teacher could access that information and display it on the SmartBoard. A teacher could show specific student examples to the class and information could be shared in a new and exciting way.

    4) Along with the SmartBoard, Dyknow Technology could also facilitate the recording of the teacher's lecture. Not only can the teacher's written work on the SmartBoard be captured but also the audio lecture also. This file then could be stored and distributed to the students with the ability to review it at a later time. This could address a daily concern of mine as a teacher, which are students who can't keep up with note taking demands during class. Often times, students are focused primarily on copying the notes and not the comprehension of the lecture itself. They are so preoccupied with note taking that they miss the concepts that are being taught. Students who are absent from class can also access the information and not fall behind on their studies.

    Homework, textbooks, lectures and notes all on one device. The ability to do this would revolutionize the education community but more importantly, it would create a better environment for children to learn.

    Please join me in my passion.

    Feel free to contact me at I appreciate your taking the time to read my ideas.

    Robert McAusland
    Math Teacher
  2. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Nothing you've said Robert requires a tablet form factor. All of that could be properly done on a laptop with the right software. In fact, with typing instead of hand writing, I bet the results would be better since the notes students take might end up legible.

    Textbooks as eBooks work just as well on any kind of computer. There is no intrinsic need for a tablet form factor to read/consult/annotate ebooks and keyboards have been proven time and again superior for taking written notes.

    If someone can figure out a simple way to add quick graphs and math to notes without requiring intimate TeX knowledge, then the laptop will become the ultimate education tool, capable for both serving as portable books and a portable homework device.

    Also, having every student make a recording of your lecture is ludicrous. Make a single recording yourself and provide to your students either over the Internet or through physical media like DVD or from a school file server. That way you can insure that each student receives a proper recording that isn't hampered by their distance from you or from your angle towards their recording device.

    Not to mention that every student is guaranteed to have the entire recording.

    Seriously, every argument I've seen about Tablets being required over laptops stems mostly from pure fantasy. Most of it is ignores what is currently possible in order to make it seem like a tablet is some kind of device that will revolutionize some market.
  3. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    I hope you don't get discouraged by KnightWRX's comments, if you search this thread you will see that he seems to have made it his mission to try and quash passion for the tablet.

    While some of the tasks you have described may superficially be handled by a laptop or DVD player, I believe that many people are greatly underestimating the potential game changing nature of a well designed touchscreen interface at a tablet's scale.

    I'm thrilled to hear that teachers such as yourself are passionate about adapting this new technology to the elementary education system!
  4. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Yeah, because irrational passion for the tablet is such a good thing. :rolleyes:

    It's funny how you didn't even counter my argument, you just attacked the messenger.

    The fact is, most people hyping up the tablet are just are ignoring that most of the stuff they mention is already very doable on a laptop. Not to mention the people that think ebooks require a tablet, when that is about as true as MP3 files requiring an iPod.
  5. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Doable, yes.

    As well/better, maybe not.

    Here is a real world example.

    My daughter suffers from vision tracking problems AND double vision. While we duke it out with the insurance company over paying for Vision Therapy that might help her (losing battle at this point), she has glasses that HELP, but don't do it all. She also has Auditory Processing Disorder.

    This translates too: she could not copy things from the board because her eyes can't focus from the board to the paper and back. AND, she also can't take notes AND listen to the teacher. Its either or.....

    What the gentleman outlined (and I actually think he was somewhat spamming the board - everything he wants is PC and not Mac) would give her a CHANCE to be in a regular classroom. Her other processing delays probably mean she won't be able to type notes during a class either (and she has an average IQ and is capable, albeit at a slow pace, but really can't learn outside of a one-on-one environment).

    Now, another accommodation she needs is bigger print and something to guide her in reading. Sure the eBooks can do that on the screen - the reading angle and ability to use a guide under the words won't be easy with her arm in the air. Not to mention, worry about the screen. BUT, a bigger glass covered Touch Screen tablet is ideal for this. She can put it in her lap, enlarge the print - and see more than 2-3 words at a time, which helps her feel like she is reading a story. Have scans of her workbook pages so that she can enlarge them and write answers on them - saving paper and ink.

    So see, for me, I see HUGE benefits in the tablet area in the schools - especially in the Special Needs learners. Which isn't the posters focus - but when *I* think of the possibilities, I for sure am seeing areas that a regular laptop won't work (or i'd be using one now for her).

    Of course, I spend my days dealing with/accommodating things that most parents don't have too.....

    Bring on Wednesday!!!!!
  6. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    But your daughter is one in a million. Laptops have accessibility features and for most normal people, all you've said doesn't apply. There's always someone to try to justify some sort of norm with an edge case. It just doesn't work that way in the real world.

    You basically have offered any retorts to my arguments. For normal people, ebooks on a screen be it a tablet or laptop equates to the same thing. For normal people, typing is faster and clearer than hand writing. And normal people will need a computer to do homework on.

    Nothing like trying to write a paper on a virtual keyboard using only 1 hand to make you regret your trusty old laptop.

    I'm betting Wednesday will be a lot of fun. If there even is a tablet announcement, a lot of people will surely be very very disappointed.
  7. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    It's funny how you didn't even read my post.


  8. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Actually, I have 3 kids with the APD portion - the middle just has more extremes. To think that my child is one is a million is wrong. In fact, the genetic disorder she has occurs in 1 in 1,000 girls, and it is a big contributor to her learning issues :D

    The fact is, there are actually more kids with "issues" than get addressed because the system can't handle it. Right now kids wait a year before they qualify to be tested, then have to wait for accommodations. Given teachers some of these tools for the whole class might really help a few out even more.

    By the way, they are finding that a lot of the kids with ADHD - actually have Central Auditory Processing Disorder.... and some other facts on vision, 75-90 percent of classroom learning depends on vision, 90% of visual problems are never diagnosed, 25% of all school-age students have undiagnosed vision problems, 70% of juvenile delinquents have undiagnosed vision problems..... This isn't referring to needing glasses either - but with problems like my daughters. I'm pretty sure while even if those numbers are an exaggeration on the authors part - that is more than 1 child in a million that can be helped (book is, "The Out-Of-Sync Child" - and i'd go find her facts in the back, but i'm having a kid bedtime crisis)

    But there is nothing WRONG with pushing the technology that is available and using it to further education if it makes it easier. Why wouldn't we want to do that? If we live with the status quo we remain stagnate.... up until now, there hasn't been a great push forward in the tablet/ereader area.

    Do i think every child should have ebooks and a laptop? No i don't. Not at all. But there are parts to education that can be greatly enhanced by using them....

    And frankly, the only company i see stepping up and pushing the boundaries somewhere else IS Apple.
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
  10. mrkjsn macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2010
    I was thinking about possibly using it for work myself. Luckily for me I use a remote desktop to log into my work PC so as long as it has Safari, internet connection, and Java then I'm good. It would be interesting to see how it would be like working with spreadsheets - copying, pasting, and whatnot...
  11. dwl017 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2007
    Murder Capitol DC
    Kind of like the fever pitch that was raised when the rumored iPod Touch with built in cam was to be released. Im still on the floor laughing :D
  12. dwl017 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2007
    Murder Capitol DC
    Using what for work? I'm still laughing after reading all the post on how people were going to use the rumored iPod Touch :D:D these post are hilarious :D you are thinking about using something that might not even exist
  13. robfromabove macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2010
    I think that the technology, although 10+ years in the making, is too early. Until the costs come down, that's what will make this (rumored) product unfeasible for schools. At this point, only a select few number of private schools could justify spending $600-$1000 for every kid in the school.

    Not to mention there would need to be a lot of slight changes from Apple, so that ultimately when the teacher is trying to present the days' lesson via the tablet/slate, the students aren't checking their FB status etc. :p

    But it's good to know that there are progressive teachers out there like you, thinking about these kinds of things. I just hope that our transition towards more technology doesn't breed a generation of ADD-riddled technophiles. :rolleyes:
  14. iCheddar macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    South Dakota
    While I understand the concept of how you want learning to be brought, I just fail to see how the tablet form factor will work out well.

    When I was in HS, we had Gateway M285s. Terrible laptops, and the only time we used them in their tablet form factor was in math...and they weren't a very intrinsic product.

    While I think that bringing the computer into the hands of every student is a great idea....I just think the idea of the slate product just isn't the right form factor.

    Then again...I'm sure Johnny Ives has come up with something great that will make me look like an ass.
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Ives no longer works for Apple.
  16. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Sorry, but if history is any indication the Tablet won't be durable enough for school use by elementary students.
  17. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    WTF? Why are you posting lies. Ive is the Senior VP of Industrial Design.
  18. Pachang macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    @ OP

    Dw about the people here. You are not the only teacher who is longing for a tablet to be able to do everything you are saying. laptaops can do it already, but not as well as apple could do it, and not as easily as it could be implemented on this tablet if the specs are right.

    I often have trouble concentrating on uni math lectures to the point where I don't bother going anymore. Instead I get taught by the Khan Academy on youtube. He teaches me maths with a pen tablet much clearer than my lecturers can do and I can also rewind quickly if I miss something.

    I really hope something like what you mentioned comes to the tablet.
  19. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
  20. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    It's likely in hand. Publishers will be clamouring to get apps on this and 3rd party hardware support.

    The makers of smartboard, Dyknow will likely want to get onboard too - otherwise their competitors will.

    You can convert textbooks to eBooks - but the publishers are likely to be doing the heavy work. Is it worth it to do the scanning and OCR yourself?

    Many publishing companies will likely include educational textbooks as viable e-Books. By all means hassle a publisher if they won't - we'll see what they're up to soon. Chill - education is in for the long term on this new technology.
  21. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    Aren't we already seeing an obesity epidemic for kids?

    Maybe heavier books is a good idea, and we should outlaw backpacks with wheels.
  22. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    1) We're getting there, gradually. Many textbooks now come with a DVD and/or a website with the same content so students don't have to carry the book around. A tablet to let them read the content would be fine but it's also fine if they read content on a computer at home or school.

    2) Students might want to learn how to operate a pencil before they move on to electronic notes, but both skills will serve them well in the future so I'm all for seeing them get started now. I'd have some concerns about buggy software or hardware failure, so having server-based data or backups like Time Machine would be critical. Yes, they can lose their backpack with all of their paper notes too, but students using tablet devices for the first time will be especially prone to both product glitches and their own errors. And with technology we'd like to improve their chances of success over the old ways, even when things go wrong.

    3) Agreed. I've watched teachers work with their classroom computer and their SmartBoard. The next step is for the SmartBoard to be on the classroom (or school) network, with the teacher's computer as the master.

    4) Teachers can already record their lessons but rarely seem to want to. Once the whole process is easier then perhaps it'll become more tempting. Then there's the question we've seen in universities: will video podcast lectures discourage students from attending class, and do we care?

Share This Page