About iPad2’s in Education.

So I was listening to The Accidental Tech Podcast a week or two ago, after Apple had announced their latest round of products. Casey, John, and Marco were all in amazement at why Apple was keeping the iPad2 around (and at that price!) and who would possibly buy that. John made the point that it was likely schools, but that they get “educational pricing” and that was that. In addition, there has been talk about how schools are slow to adopt technology and that this is the reason schools are sticking with such an old device even at the price.

Given that I have been a driving force in one of the first large iPad 1:1 deployment, I thought I might be in a position to offer both some error correction and insight.

Price: Yeah, the price sucks. Sorry, Apple, but it’s a silly price for what the iPad2 now is. Fine. What’s even more frustrating is that we don’t get “educational pricing.” Apple sells us iPad2’s in boxes of ten- and you can order them too. For the same price. Unit price for a 16gb WiFi goes from $399 to $379 per unit. Woo. Hoo.

On Being Slow: Nope, not really. At least not here. When we started buying iPad2’s, they were the new and current device. We’ve stuck with them since for a few annoying buy unavoidable reasons:

Price: Yeah, $379 is too much, but it’s still less than $479. And while that $100 is TOTALLY worth spending if you’re a regular person, when we buy 1000 iPad’s each year, that’s $100k difference.

Size: So here in Massachusetts, our students will have to take this stupid test called the PARCC. It’s totally awful, but that’s what it is. This test is taken on a device online, and they have specifications about the device that may be used. One of which is the screen size, which they specify not in pixels but in inches. So the iPad2 (or Air) both meet that requirement, and the Mini’s don’t and that sucks. The test also specifies that the device has a physical keyboard (which I cannot even fathom the dumbness of…), so I have to purchase enough keyboard to plug into iPad2’s to satisfy that requirement.

I’d much rather buy Mini’s for my older students, but the stupid requirements of a stupid test are in my way. I’d rather buy Air’s for my students, but that $100k is in my way. So it’s not a matter of being slow, but it’s a matter of scale and stupid state mandated testing.

There you go. Carry on.