Friday, January 29, 2010

iPad for homework iWonder?

The hyperbole has died down and in the cold light of day the iPad looks like iPod Touch Maxi. But the question I have is will these e-Readers like the Kindle and the new iPad be any help in getting homework done?

First let’s look at the case for the iPad as a homework/school helper.

1) At only 1.5lb weight the iPad is light and could easily be carried to school.
2) Intuitive interface makes for a easy learning curve and productivity gains straight off the bat
3) Perfect interface to watch video and listen to audio. With the promise of video chats this could be a fantastic tutor device.

Now the obvious down side

1) Because the device is limited to no flash then most web based apps will not work and most web based video will not be usable
2) Multi purpose device means distractions are only a touch away and it’s hard enough now to get kids to concentrate on homework.

I can see a scenario where this iPad could become a fantastic device for tutoring and homework help but I think this is still some way off. If I had a wish-list for the device that could really help with homework it would have the following

1) Built in Camera and Microphone for video chats with tutors
2) Full multi-tasking to enable video chat, whiteboard and textbooks all to be used at the same time.
3) Voice dictation software to enable student to talk to the device (I know a stretch but this is a wish-list)
4) Full web enabled technologies i.e. Silverlight and Flash
5) Custom Built shared whiteboard web class software.

None of these extra wish-list items are really out of the question and the technology already exists to perform all these. But the will and the market is the real question.
As for the Kindle this is without doubt the best e-Reader on the market. I can see this device replacing textbooks in the next few years but I believe there is still a few advancements advancements needed. This device could become the student/study device and with integrated class room and tutor software could achieve most of my wish-list requirements. The Kindle will be priced at less then $100 this time next year and will have a bigger screen and much more content. Amazon doesn’t want to get into the hardware market and compete with Apple they want to create a cheap e-Reader which is the best device to use for reading books this will enable them t control the burgeoning market for eBooks and become the dominate force into the future. The Kindles will become subsidized devices which all school kids will end up with in there bags.

Kindle Wish-List to create a fantastic student device

1) Touch screen
2) Bigger Screen with Back lit option
3) Much Cheaper about $100
4) Integrated School Books and Class/Tutor software built in
5) Bluetooth enabled to allow in class homework sharing and marking.
6) Big improvement on writing interface to enable it become the replacement for all school materials
7) Web Enabled with option to go full screen color.

With the Kindle wish-list we could see this device take over classrooms across the country and there is almost a guaranteed market every year then among the millions who attend classes everyday. Remember you heard it here first.

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