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Quest for the iPad-Classroom NO Factor


In my quest for the iPad Classroom NO Factor, I really tried to come up with reasons for not using an iPad/iPad 2 in classrooms, but when teachers with no tech clue say, “This is the best thing ever!”, it doesn’t give me much hope for negativity. That said, here are the few things that I thought worth mentioning, and they are followed by some great Twitter responses to my “Why Not iPads?” question. At the very end, there's a great list of education apps sent to me by Instructional Technology Facilitator Leslie Noggle @ldnoggle.

Not having Flash is the biggest downside. You get an error message that says something like “No luck, buddy, No Flash for You!” The other message says, “The video isn’t available” or something like that. There are a couple of third-party software/browser approaches to seeing Flash video, but they require nerdy website work-arounds, which defeats the iPad ease of use—at least in that area—for now.

Note: But imagine, what if all video, other than YouTube—there’s an app for that—didn't work on the thing? As a teacher, that might be a deal breaker, and actually prompted me to ask another Twitter question—below—about Discovery Education streaming for the iPad. See the response under Oh Tweet! in this post.

2. Synching to iTunes/stores may be another problem. You still have to do that in order to initially fire up the iPad 2, but there continues to be a tie in with Apps as well. Might cause Tech Directors to rethink management strategies a bit. I set up two iPad 2s and found the initial set up more difficult than the actual device use. After that, everything is cake.

3. I have to add price as another concern, but I mention that in most of my reviews, and about most tech. I just don’t like high prices for education. With the 16 GB, just WiFi version at $499, and for most, that’s all you’ll need, it might seem steep. I have to go back, though, to what I’m hearing about ease of use from the non-technical majority out there. “It’s worth the price, because I can work it!” And, truly, it’s simple enough for a kindergartener to use easily and safely. No need for multi-tasking there. And didn’t I read somewhere that multi-tasking is way over-blown anyway? Wonder how the screens hold up under clay, glue, and jelly sandwiches?

More of my iPad Research: The Quest for the iPad Classroom NO Factor

I’d already written my reasons to use an iPad 2 in the classroom post  iPad 2 Made for Teaching, so after testing the iPad 2 out myself, and discovering first hand its Flash shortcomings, I wondered what educators really thought the of the iPad 2. I began: @kenroyal: tweet a reason you wouldn't use iPad. #edchat #edtech

Oh Tweet! Not much iPad Twitter dashing there.

I followed up with this twitter tweet: “Does Discovery Education’s streaming video work on an iPad?” I know a lot of educators who use DE, and I know that in my teaching and as an instructional technology specialist, it was brilliant. So, if that didn’t work on an iPad, like so many Flash-based videos—that would be a showstopper.

Tweet Returns: (Note 140 responses combined for space.)

@CarpTracy DEN Beyond the Textbook login http://mobile.discoveryeducation.com/users/login

Most of the videos I have used are fine. Use the mobile site: Other content is being optimized. Most of our 'go to' sites are Flash-based esp for K-2. Left w/buying apps.

Looking at browsers that restrict Internet content. None really stand out and some are $$$.

@EmilyEmbury Yes, Discovery Education launched an iPad-optimized version of its platform in 2010. Here's the news release: http://ow.ly/4v9Dt

@CatinHatt Price, exclusivity of Apple, the tendency to exclude software, other shops, ebooks, etc.

@ldnoggle I see them as a great resource for small-group collab or centers even when can't afford 1:1. Yes sir DE streaming works great on iPad. So does Safari Montage. No Flash. More difficult monitor student Internet access. after playing w/ mine and looking at apps, I can't think of why I wouldn't, not for everything, but great for lots of things. Check @ldnoggle app e-mail suggestions below.

@wheninthailand Can't afford it yet :)

@activeducator Loving Android Tablet - all the millions of FLASH videos and educational apps out there all work! Loving Android Tablet - all the millions of FLASH videos and educational apps out there all work!

@tcooper185 various apps (Promethean, true Office apps, etc) not available.

@ProfTK <Only when I need a computer>

@DrTimony In class? Doesn't meet my needs. Potential distraction too novel.

@tcooper185 Honestly, no.Don't have an iPad or Mac.I want one. May just remote into a PC to get what I need. Not practical for a student though.

@indigo196 the single biggest reason is that they are less powerful, yet more expensive than a full-blown notebook or netbook. There is also the issue, which all tab devices have, of not being institutionally friendly in how they are managed. re: management -- it is difficult to use POs and the devices need to be registered to an email. The Kindle, Nook and iPad all seem to suffer. The store, and a single person's email; it’s been a rather big nightmare in our tests of the devices.

@RitaOates My issue is Flash apps. Too much lost value without it.

@billselak I am DYING to have 1-to-1 iPads in my class. I can't imagine how it would negatively impact my class, if led well.

@hammondccms Money! iPads cost too much for our district. I think we're looking at 1:1 with laptops down the road.

@bbuckner too expensive, although I would really love to have it. It’s not that I wouldn't use it. But tech is so limited @school. I think graphing calculators for the math classes should come first.  But 4 any school, how do you justify iPad expense when you still don't have a minimum classroom set of graphing Calculators per math teacher, and for students.

 @ldnoggle's e-mail, because 140 characters couldn't fit all she had to share.


I'm a little obsessed with the iPad right now, so I'm glad to answer this! As for doing one of the blog posts, I'd love to, but we don't have any iPads in use in our district right now. Until recently, they have not been on the "approved technology purchase" list for our schools. We do have a few iPod touches in the district, and I finally bought an iPad myself to test out (after having an iPhone since they came out). Our CTO also told us earlier this week she is ordering iPads for ITFs so we can test them in our schools. So- all that being so, I don't want to misrepresent myself as using them in the classroom right now if you need someone who is physically in classrooms using them. I just keep making plans for how we can use them when we are given the okay! Our district is going through a $4 million SMART Board initiative this year, so our main focus has been preparing and doing professional learning for that. All that being said...I'd love to do it!

These are apps I like though, and if I were back in the classroom and had iPads, I would be using most of these. With budget being what it is, it is not realistic for me to think that any of my schools will have class sets of any mobile devices anytime soon, but I can definitely see my elementary teachers using these in centers or with small groups. (Some are free and some have a small cost)

Language Arts

  • Alpha Betty's ABCs
  • Lola's Alphabet Train
  • Word Magic
  • Textropolis
  • Silly Stories
  • Dictionary.com


  • Shape Builder
  • Shape-O ABC's
  • Tangram XL
  • Formulas Free
  • Fraction Factory
  • Coin Flipper
  • The Dice
  • Math Girl Number Garden
  • Slice It


  • NASA
  • Star Walk
  • Cosmic

Social Studies

  • Oregon Trail

Assistive Technology

  • Tap to Talk 


  • eClicker (teacher buys host...students download app)
  • Story Kit (create stories)
  • Google Everything (Apps, Translate, Earth, Maps)
  • Flexbooks (free textbooks for many subjects)
  • StoryRobe (another digital storytelling app)
  • Labelbox (This is an app that lets you put lablels on photos. I can see students or teachers taking photos on a geometry hunt, nature walk, etc... and then using this app to correctly label parts in the pic)
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Noterize
  • Crayon Physics
  • Some type of QR scanner....there are many
  • Mixeroo
  • Stop Motion

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