Tablet or Notebook? Which do you choose?

I love reading on my tablets. I’ve a Kindle, an iPad, a Nexus 7 and a few smartphones. (Yes, I’m a gadget tragic.) When I manage to pry it out of my wife’s hands, I prefer our Nexus 7, but in a classroom I’d go with an iPad because of the wider range of educational apps. That’s if I had to choose a tablet, but I’d prefer to not to have to choose one. A tablet would be a handy second device if my school could afford it.

I’ve been wavering on this lately because I see children doing wonderful things with iPads in classrooms. I’ve come to realise that middle-aged teachers like me love their iPads. In some cases it’s the first time they’ve felt comfortable with technology. That’s a big thing, and it means that children are getting to use technology more often because their teachers are no longer afraid of it. For infants especially, the intuitiveness of touch screens makes for short learning curves. (Interestingly touch screens are rapidly appearing on Windows 8 notebooks, and they recently arrived on Google’s amazing new Chromebook Pixel.)

Despite the great things being done with iPads in schools, I find myself on the same page as Gary Stager in his piece ‘In Praise of Laptops’. (Thanks to @ricahrdolsen for sharing it on Twitter.) I feel restricted by Apple’s closed philosophy. I don’t like having to go to Safari and Apple Maps by default on my iPhone and iPad instead of my preferred Chrome and Google Maps. It’s restrictions like these that send me to my Nexus phone and tablet first. Relative to iOS, I prefer Android’s more flexible operating system and superior Google integration, but I’d still much prefer a notebook in a classroom.

Steve Jobs famously compared computers to trucks and tablets to cars. Like many people, I’m lucky enough to have both. I like to relax with my car, but when I’ve got work to do, I use my truck. I think students need trucks. What about you?

Which is mightier?

The pen is mightier than the sword.  The finger is mightier than the pen.
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the finger is mightier than the pen – and our voice will be mightiest of all.
The arrival of the touch screen iPhone made stylus based Windows Mobile phones seem antiquated.  History has been repeated with the iPad which is now easily outselling stylus based tablet pcs (http://touchreviews.net/hp-slate-sales-top-9000-units-ipad-rival/).  Even though the iPad was only released this year there are already many groups and websites that support its use in education – sites like this one http://ipadineducation.co.uk/iPad_in_Education/iPads_in_Schools.html.   I believe that iPad-like devices will overtake notebooks and netbooks as students’ and teachers’ preferred digital tools within the next five years through sheer convenience.  They are inferior creative tools and will remain so for some time, but they are wonderfully convenient!
The lack of a physical keyboard will become less important as touchscreens and voice recognition software improve.  I recently moved from an iphone to an Android phone and was amazed by the accuracy of Google’s voice recognition software. I now compose my text messages and emails by voice.  I can’t wait for Google’s forthcoming tablet version of Android codenamed “Honeycomb” http://www.droidgamers.com/index.php/game-news/android-game-news/841-more-info-on-gingerbread-and-honeycomb.
Soon we may be able to carry around every book ever published in the palm of our hand.  Soon we will write by speaking.  It will be fascinating to see how this changes the way we communicate and the way we learn.
and now the ipad – has left pen based tablet pcs
Pen based computing has been around finger is mightier than the pen.  The first patent for online (not OCR) handwriting recognition was issued in 1914 and early tablet computers were already in existence in the 1950s (http://users.erols.com/rwservices/pens/penhist.html).

If the pen is mightier than the sword, is the finger mightier than the pen and the voice the mightiest of all?

The arrival of the touch screen iPhone made pen based Windows Mobile phones seem antiquated.  History has been repeated with the iPad which is now easily outselling pen based tablet pcs.  Who needs a stylus when you have a finger or two at hand?

Even though the iPad was only released this year there are already many groups and websites that support its use in education – sites like this one.   I believe iPad-like devices will overtake notebooks and netbooks as students’ and teachers’ preferred digital tools within the next five years.  They are inferior creative tools and will remain so for some time, but they are wonderfully convenient!

The lack of a physical keyboard will become less important as touchscreens and voice recognition software improve.  I recently moved from an iphone to an Android phone and was amazed by the accuracy of Google’s voice recognition software. When I’m on the road I now compose my text messages and emails by voice.  I can’t wait for Google’s forthcoming tablet version of Android codenamed Honeycomb!

Soon we may be able to carry around every book ever published in the palm of our hand and we will write using speech. It will be fascinating to see how this transforms the way we communicate and the way we learn.