As you have already experienced, or will soon discover, place an iPod/iPad in the hands of a child and they will intuitively navigate their way around with amazing agility and success. But what about those of us, who aren’t quite as confident or familiar with the vocabulary, features and functions of Apple’s iPod/iPad? Apple helps get us started.


iPod Touch:


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Features
Design
iOS 4
Games and Apps
Technical Specifications




iPad:
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Features
Built in Apps
From the App Store
iOS 4
Guided Tours
Technical Specifications

iTunes:

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What is iTunes
What’s New
What’s on iTunes
iTunes Charts
How to






A few educationally related thoughts:

  • Our district IT department is working towards Wi-Fi (wireless connection availability) in our schools. It isn't a simple process. My limited understanding is that is must be a district wide infrastructure and there has to be enough bandwidth in each of our schools (the amount of traffic that is allowed to occur between your web site and the rest of the internet). iPods/iPads with 3G capabilities allow students to use the devices where Wi-Fi access is not available.
  • The battery life is considered one of the iPad’s greatest strengths. With up to ten hours of battery life, it stays charged for the entire school day. This is an important feature - having to stop and recharge devices throughout the day is not a viable option. Each of the iPod/iPad sets come with a "home" laptop to sync all the devices to as well as the charging/syncing cart. This cart locks and stores the devices when they are not in use. Each individual iPod/iPad is numbered to assist with signing them out and keeping students accountable.
  • A dock connector can be purchased to enable the educator's iPad screen to be projected up onto a big screen for viewing and discussion with students. With iOS 5 slated to be released this fall, it will become even easier for educators/presenters to share their iPad screen with students. A slightly more archaic approach that we found worked well ... put the iPod/iPad under the Elmo/Document Projector. Works like a charm!

  • Except for the home button, idevices identify input by touching the screen. Ideal and simple for all ages, even our youngest students. The home button, makes it easy for users to return to the home screen of applications or “apps”. Projects created within each app are automatically saved until the next time that app is opened. There are three different types of touches that idevices recognize – taps, moves and gestures. The touch capabilities are limited by how many figures you may use and the maximum number of simultaneous touches. Developers have through experimentation been able to allow 11 simultaneous touches (Gemmell, 2010 as cited in Valstad, 2010).

  • Many are comparing eReaders like Kindle and Kobo and the iPad as an ebook reader. Kindle and the like, use a reflective screen with no back lighting where as the iPad has a LED backlit display. The advantage of the iPad is that it can be read in a dark or dim environment where as the Kindle can not. However, there is concern as to whether or not the LED backlit display may cause eyestrain (Bilton, 2010 as cited in Valstad, 2010). The downside is that iPads/iPods can not be read easily in bright sunlight.