Scholastic has posted a versus article, Laptop Vs Tablet, where Gary Stager and Dan Brenner duel over what is the best. Both arguments are very weak. Mr. Stager takes the old arugment that the iPad is a consumption device:
The iPad is a consumption device. Sure, you can use it for Web browsing, video-watching, or note-taking, but the laptop affords a much greater range of expressive possibilities. Apple’s embrace of digital textbooks reinforces a quaint view of education that transfers agency from learners to publishers. The tools for creating e-books, such as iBooks Author, require Macs, but the laptop cannot read the books it creates, forcing schools to choose between textbooks and computing. Apple has made it clear that education is about content delivery and testing, no longer about the power to be your best.
The argument is no long valid. Creation apps that I have used on my iPad include Codea, Pythonista, iMovie, Garageband, Elements, iA Writer, Google Drive, and QuickOffice. Instead of telling us why an iPad isn't the right tool, tell us why a laptop is.
On the other hand, Mr. Brenner tells us what they do on the iPad. Paperless workflows, email, textbooks, these are some of the things they do on the tablets. I didn't see anything in the list that you can't also do on laptops. In fact, he ends the column with "P.S. I wrote this article on my laptop computer at work. It seemed like the right tool for the job!".
The final decision in these discussions usually boil down to:
- What can we afford?
- What can we support?
- What supports our teaching?
How did your district decide?