We saw the previews of the iPad from Apple and fell in love instantaneously. We could not wait to get our hands on one. We were sure that this product will be big and that it will play a major part in the future of schools. As we counted down the days for the iPad to be launched, we saw the “leaked” video of Microsoft Courier on Engadget.com
We were blown away once again. An equally amazing product with slight differences. We got torn. Not by which product we want, we want BOTH. And NOW. No, we were torn by which product will dominate the school scene.
If you are a teacher or an administrator or a parent or any person related, one way or the other, to educating students and you don’t know what products we are talking about, then you need to come up to speed. Pun intended.
The Courier and the iPad (let alone the similar products currently in production, or soon will be) are products that students will be clinging to like mad. The iPad has a larger screen but the Courier has two. You use a stylus with the Courier whereas you type on a keyboard with the iPad. Both have WiFi capability but the iPad has no Java compatibility (some things on the web would not show,) the Courier has a camera and the iPad doesn’t. The iPad may be used as a phone where the Courier couldn’t.
The differences are there, and there are enough of them to make the choice between the two quite difficult. But whereas those two items may seem like a great technological advancement to some of us, especially this writer who remembers vividly using phones with dials, they come across as very natural pieces of equipment to the newer generations. Where we are quite impressed simply by their existence, the newer generations are only interested by what they can do with them. And this will be the major catalyst that will propel one, or both, to a mass market unit.
Apple is banking on the whole iTunes model where users would be buying their music, books, television shows, movies, and soon we believe, different other items like clothing. Microsoft is banking on the large amount of developers out there who can churn out applications as fast as others are scripting viruses for them.
Whichever product will be used most remains to be seen, but we will certainly do our share of testing them. Which is why we need to have both. Ah there, we found a reason !
In part 2 of the post, we will be looking into the potential that these products might have on teaching and learning