Along time ago I wrote a post questioning the added value of a tablet computer in a teacher’s hands.
We’ll shortly have access to a new class of tablets, slates, whatever you want to call them, or at least we should very shortly.
Do I want one. You bet I do.
And when they appear, especially the Apple product (expected January 26, 2010), can’t you just see the Twitter firestorm? And if you thought the lines at the local Apple store were long for the iPhone, just wait…
So, what does this mean for education?
Probably very little. With a price point that is anticipated well-beyond the price of a netbook (with the exception of the OLPC at around $100, predicted by Forbes.com to come in at $75 bucks), your local school, and their limited budgets will have very little wiggle room for acquiring these devices.
And they shouldn’t anyway, because most are far from having the organizational readiness required to plan for, implement, support, sustain, and evaluate any kind of program that places these technologies in a student’s hands.
In the middle of all of this, across a gradient that ranges from the desktop/laptop on the left, to the future tabets on the right, is the netbook. Interestingly, some have predicted that this will mean the end of the netbook.
I don’t know about that, and I won’t speculate, but I’m hoping it makes them even more affordable, so that I can get my hands on more of them.
That means getting more of them into classrooms, of course, where teachers and kids can beat them up, so we can see how all of these technologies play out in the context of our school-wide technology and literacy goal (Incorporate new and evolving technologies to support the development of literacy.)
The eventual access to a machine that will support many of the same features many of us enjoy on an iPhone or Android is fascinating. And there is no doubt that these will probably make us all rethink what mobile computing looks like.
But just not in schools.
UPDATE: Apple Tablet apparently to ship in March. See Mashable for the story.