Since its market debut last summer, the iPad has sold more than seven million units and though its stranglehold on the tablet market is currently under challenge from Samsung, and HP, among others, it is gaining momentum among K-12 educators across the country.
For most teachers, the iPad allows for greater correspondence between teachers and students as students can complete and submit homework using the iPad and can even serve as a depository for them to keep their work. Among its many strengths, the iPad’s relatively lightweight makes it easier for students to carry compared with their heavy textbooks. There are over 5,400 apps available for download with 1,000 of them free of charge.
With many school districts facing budget shortfalls and agonizing over crucial decisions such as slashing teacher pay or outright layoffs, spending lavishly on iPads may not seem the right move, according to critics. Some have even expressed whether the iPad can even actually have a positive effect on student performance since there has yet to be extensive research on its effectiveness as an educational tool. Critics also note there are far more and cheaper options in terms of technology for schools than iPads. They cite mobile phones as a prime example of a tool that is cheaper and offers much of the same capabilities as an iPad though proponents will be quick to point out the iPad, among its many features, has a larger screen.