The reader, who asked not to be identified, is an ICT co-ordinator at a secondary school. He tells how his “image-conscious” headmaster was seduced by a scheme that allowed all the school’s staff to replace their laptop computers with an iPad 2.
Our source says staff were initially thrilled at the prospect. “Most staff are IT illiterate and jumped at the chance of exchanging their laptop for an iPad,” he writes.
Now, however: “the staff room is full of regret.”
What’s gone wrong? The biggest obstacle is that staff still cling to old documents and resources created in software such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and of course there aren’t fully-fledged versions of the Office apps available for the iPad as yet. “Some staff are needing to produce documents and resources by remoting in [to a PC] on an iPad,” our source reveals. “Trying to operate Microsoft Word using a remote app that dumps you out of the connection is a nightmare.”
There is at least a The iPad experiment hasn’t been a total disaster paragraph and a good number of comments explaining correcting and discussion.
It looks like the school jumped into iPads without doing any research to see if iPads fitted their needs. Staff welded to MS office for essential tasks will struggle with an iPad. Most of the problems could be surmounted with a bit of research into replacement apps (pages, keynote, Haiku deck and many many more) and distribution (dropbox, which they use, and webdav (Otixo adds webdav to dropbox) and some staff development/training.
Personally I would not yet like to give up a desktop/laptop for an iPad in all circumstances and certainly would have hated to be pushed into making that jump without training and practise.
Sidenote, One of the commenters remarks that tablets are for consumption and not creation. This was I though buried. From a few visits to the primary classrooms piloting iPads in North Lanarkshire I see a whole lot of creation by pupils going on.