Fast Company

How the iPad 2 Will Revolutionize Education

New features facilitate remote learning, exploration, and stylish lectures.

iPad in the classroom

The iPad 2's wealth of new features is a boon for tech-hungry classrooms.

Enhanced Facetime will be great for remote lectures or office hours, high-definition video editing will facilitate exploratory learning and reporting, and real-time image mirroring will stylize lectures in science, history, and geography. Additionally, mobile learning is made possible through the iOS 4.3 hotspot update, permitting Internet connectivity for apple phones, tablets, and laptops. This will be especially valuable for recession-hit school districts, such as Detroit, scrambling for ways to solve ballooning class sizes. Skeptical educators can be relieved that the iPad was deemed classroom ready by Reed College, and that remote learning can be just as effective as in-class lecturing.

Mobile Learning

Educators are eager to break students free from of the nap-inducing prison of concrete lecture halls. Universities, such as Abu Dhabi, are integrating classrooms into mobile devices to keep procrastinating students alert on due dates, keep discussions alive after the bell rings, and promote serendipitous idea sharing. Apple’s new front-facing camera will facilitate interaction between students and teachers as they roam campuses and cities.

Education isn’t restricted to just peers within the same school. For language learning, Marquette uses Skype to connect nascent speakers from different countries. Finding a partner school will likely be even easier with Skype’s new online community for teachers.

Public school districts, such as Detroit, could ease the pressure of crammed classrooms by permitting exploratory research in museums, at gardens, or public libraries. With real-time communication, specific class times could still be maintained, so that all students are learning together for at least some period of the day.

Incidentally, the iPad could spell the end of snow-day cancellations. Sorry, kids.

Lectures and Office Hours

In the near future, lectures will become the homework. The Gates and Google funded Khan Academy found that lectures were more effective when students could listen to and replay lectures at their own pace at home. The iPad's video capture feature will allow teachers to join the movement by pre-recording their lectures as homework the day before a new classroom topic. Additionally, teachers could hold virtual office hours from anywhere in the world.

Duke University has been encouraging professors to hold online office hours for years, so that jet-set professors could keep in touch with students while at conferences and also to encourage their faculty to engage with eager learners outside the university.

Mirror Image Lecturing

Despite the hype of mobile learning, traditional lectures will dominate classrooms for the foreseeable future. Why not spice lectures up? Apple reveals how mirror imaging, which projects images from the iPad to a larger screen, would work inside a classroom [image below].

Google’s new Body Browser would be great for anatomy classes (and, is available now). In the near future, we expect a host of interactive textbooks to augment lectures.

These are just a few of the uses that are immediately obvious. However, the wonderful thing about technology is that investigating new applications is educational in it-self. Tech-happy students will be eager to explore new ways of using tablets and sharing their discoveries with the world.

Read More: Most Innovative Companies: Apple

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7 Comments

  • John Martincic

    I teach middle school at a technology magnet school and all of our students and staff have Macbooks. We also have MOBI’s, projection screens, ELMO’s and various other technology materials. I have to say the student engagement and enrichment possible with all of Apple’s products can transform a learning environment. I see firsthand, how if in the hands of a student, they can acquire knowledge not possible in other mediums. The new IPAD 2 will allow teachers to use many different modalities to reach students. Whether they are visual, auditory, kinesthetic or tactile the new IPAD will help they achieve new heights in learning.

    With the use of Macbooks in our(Public) school students can take their computers home, so learning happens at home as well as at school. As an educator and parent there is nothing more satisfying than to see my kid engaged and to learn outside the classroom walls. At my school kids have their own websites and can inbox a teacher or email us with a question. We also have chat rooms set up where discussions about tests and homework can happen the night before a test.

    Having the applications and technology that is available through all Apple products will enable students, no matter their learning style or what theory they fall under to be successful lifelong learners.

  • Miguel Angel Perez

    If you know what is iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, Garageband) then you understand how iPad 2 let people became prosumer. You don´t need Flash or (my favorite) Scratch if you have an instrument who let students develop metacognitive skills and build new knowledge producing digital content. If children make a film, a podcast or a new song and if the piece of software costs 5 dollars you are in the right way to educate the Web 2.0 generation. Media literacy is not only to consume or only learn to discriminate the old media products, media literacy is about helping students became producers and knowledge-builders

  • Nai Wang

    What I don’t get is why anti-Apple people have to continually downplay this device and focus their attention on small problems such as flash support but instead look at it as something that can reach our students. Apple is doing the right thing by opening up a device that has mass public appeal and other devices will sure follow in Apple’s footsteps. I just look back to when we had nothing but specialized pieces of technology that were expensive and unitaskers. We’ve come a long way in ten years.

  • FrankCatalano

    What this piece fails to note is that most, or all, of the above educational applications can be (and clearly in some cases are being) done with a variety of good mobile devices, not just the iPad 2. And the iPad 2 still does not support Adobe's Flash. Claiming the iPad 2 will "revolutionize" classrooms is hype, since clearly a lot of what is being called revolutionary is already being done -- and cited as such in the article itself -- on everything from smart phones to plain old laptops.

    More interesting is what the iPad 2 would uniquely allow with its combination of features, durability and price point. Even without Flash. Otherwise, this is revolutionary only for an Apple- or iPad- only institution.

  • Kelly Meeker

    Although the truly valuable applications will emerge in their own pace, I think mobile learning on an iPad (or other excellent tablet) will encourage people to experience learning and augmented reality in a variety of environments - not just in the classroom. Studies demonstrate that when students have access to learning materials on their mobile devices, they spend more time with the material - make the materials appropriate to mobile delivery and, even better, place-based and interactive, and you'll encourage students to dip in.

  • Griffin McGrath

    I think this is all very spot on. I spent my time during my master's studies developing a mobile curriculum for an MBA program and we were looking to incorporate all of these ideas. With the iPad's new features (HDMI out and video specifically) we're getting closer to having mobile learning become a popular educational choice.