Tag: apps

Does the iPad = 1960?

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A friend recently asked me whether they thought an iPad or a laptop was better for their child.

If you thought I would have said “iPad” straight away – you’re right. After all, seeing a child interact with a tablet makes you marvel at how intuitive and accessible it really is compared to a laptop which seems ancient in comparison. Besides, I love my iPad but the more I thought about it, the more my answer started shifting towards a laptop.

Escaping technology bias

apple devices are multiplying

They're multiplying

With minimal start-up time, convenient size and beautiful screen, it is clear that tablets are biased towards consumption over creation.  However, since reading Douglas Rushkoff’s book Program or be Programmed I’ve become far more aware of the importance of recognising and not giving in to the natural bias of technology.

In a media environment that is becoming increasingly participatory, stories and mythology are no longer told but co-created. As the rise of social networks, blogs, podcasts and online video has shown, digital media is biased towards creation by enabling everyone to write and publish. We are no longer resigned to being passive consumers of media – as was the case when traditional mass media was the only player in town – but active participants with real influence and the power to shape communications.

When you look at it through this lens, tablets are almost a throwback to the past as it discourages longer, meaningful creation. It’s well suited for short bursts of content creation such as a tweet or a status update, but not so flash at long emails or blog posts (as Prakky opines).

Learning to create

The long and short of it is that although there are apps for creating – word processing, spreadsheets, photo editing, etc. – they are shallow compared to the same thing on a laptop. At this point in time, touchscreens are yet to offer a depth of interaction that a keyboard and mouse offers.

Much like the argument that Google bypasses critical thinking, so too have tablets removed the need to understand how software and hardware works, offering up instant solutions. For this reason, while I think there’s a place for both, for children who are just starting out, it is vital that they explore, question and test the limits of technology without restriction.

What do you think? Are iPad’s and tablets better learning devices for children or is there still a place for laptops?

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Why the iPad will change everything

Digital Strategy6 Comments

Despite already having twice as many computers (including smart phones) than there are people in my house, I’ve still managed to find a place for an ipad.

While it’s true that it doesn’t offer anything truly revolutionary (it is, arguably, a giant ipod touch), it is how it is packaged and the benefits of having a bigger screen that are what makes it indispensable for me.

Here’s why:

The screen is drop dead gorgeous. Nothing looks quite as good as it does on an ipad. Tweetdeck, Wired, even Keynote and Pages.

It’s a great in-between device. For those times (such as this short business trip, where I’m writing this) when you don’t necessarily need the grunt of a laptop or desktop but need something more functional than a mobile phone.

It blends the focused nature of using iphone apps with an infinitely friendlier user-interface. Anyone who’s used an iphone will feel right at home, even if you haven’t it is just so simple and intuitive to use.

Did I mention how sexy it was?

Browsing or in fact doing anything on an ipad is a more communal experience than doing it in front of a computer. Within minutes of firing up the New York Times free app, my wife and my mum were huddled around me interacting with the screen, discussing articles of interest.

The size is just right for so many occassions. On the flight back to Adelaide, for instance, it was so much easier maneuvering an ipad than a laptop with a screen large enough to properly enjoy videos and work on a couple of documents.

Transitioning from one app to another is totally seamless. Waiting at the boarding gate, I could switch from Twitter, to Safari, emailing a link to a colleague and back to watching a video someone sent me without really breaking stride.

Finally, as Craig Wilson puts it, the ipad is a total media convergence.

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