As I had a conversation just this week with someone about the idea of working on a tablet, this cautionary tale at PC Pro immediately caught my eye. It’s a story of a school (unnamed) that adopted iPads in lieu of laptops for its staff and have come to regret it heavily. The reason is no doubt obvious, but generally speaking, it all boiled down to the number of work-arounds the school had to take advantage of just to get work done.
Whenever I think of working on a tablet, I simply cringe. When I see people tapping away on their tablets to type up e-mails or keep notes, I laugh. Maybe it’s the fact that I am totally inept at using a tablet, I’m not sure. But if I want to get work done, I want to get it done in the most efficient way possible, and that’s with a keyboard. For me, it’s 100 words-per-minute vs. 10.
Well, that might just be me, because that argument isn’t even what’s brought up here. On the iPad in particular, imagine editing a Microsoft Word document – it’s not that simple. Teachers found themselves having to remote into Windows PCs just to work on a document, and then experienced great frustration if the network connection was lost. It’s mentioned that the lack of USB support was a huge detriment as well.
There were also problems of trying to route an iPad to an Apple TV in order to show a presentation on a display, which doesn’t surprise me but does make me wonder what kind of school district picks up an Apple TV when adapters that cost 1/4th would serve their ultimate purpose.
I do wonder if the staff were equipped with a Windows tablet, such as the upcoming Microsoft Surface, if much of these issues could have been negated. As a full-blown OS, Windows would be easier to connect to an external display, and it would have allowed them to edit their Office documents without having to connect to a PC. On a similar note, did the staff ever consider an online option, which should work regardless of OS?