“It’s a dumbed-down, sealed-shut device designed to make its owners into passive consumers.”
– Cory Doctorow
So I was recently asked something to the effect of
“I am trying to decide if I need an iPad and have been reading mixed reviews with regards to the ability to use them at various Universities. I’m personally pretty Mac-resistant, but I don’t have a terribly good reason for it. Other than that they’re expensive and want to kill Flash and have some of the most irritating marketing EVER!”
I believe that I gave a fair and reasoned response to the question and present it here for anyone else that may be in need of an opinion around this subject.
So while on the surface, a lot of people are thinking that students will be able to have all their textbooks on the device, you need buy-in from all the assorted publishers and I do not see that happening.
The largest downer though, as you implied, is that there is no support for Flash or even AIR… rendering educational tools like VoiceThread (and our own CourseMedia system) useless on the device. A lot of educational tools are built in whole or in part upon the Flash Platform and Apple is blocking them as well as anything authored in Java, Lua, Mono, Unity, et cetera…
On one hand we see a bunch of great tech minds working together to open up platforms and make the computing experience better for everyone (and this will translate onto the upcoming tablets based on Android, Chrome, and the like) – on the other hand we have closed off, expensive, limiting Apple products.
Part of the university experience should be about exploring and studying the world around us- being open to different technologies in such an environment should be no different.
I’m sure there are plenty that would disagree with several of my points in this opinion piece. I’m open to that.