Hi folks, I work in Chicago Public Schools for a grant project and we were considering a late stage purchase of netbook/laptops for some of our schools.  I mostly ruled out the idea of a notebook being that they're a bit slow/weak.  Following this, I have to purchase from a strategic vendor; Lenovo, Dell or Apple.  I met with a Lenovo rep and found that after adding all of the necessary software, our cheapest option was around $600/computer.
At this point, we have entered into the realm of iPad pricing.  Does anyone have any ACTUAL experience with using these in the classroom?   I'm thinking of purchasing around 10 for each room (3 or 4 rooms per building).  I know obviously the kids would like it (middle school) but what about the teachers?
With no options to print, is it easy for them to use options like Dropbox or Google Docs?
Can multiple users be set up?  Is this even necessary?
I've looked around but haven't really seen much solid information, only a handful of random responses.  Has anyone purchased these for the classroom or seen them in action?  Thanks!

Rob

Tags: ipad, ipads, middle, school

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From the limited experience I have with an iPad (owned by my Vice Principal) your needs as far as using the iPad might be a challenge. Google Docs does not work well on the iPad since it does not have the ability to create new documents or edit them. The reason for this is due to the Safari mobile browser being interpreted by the Google server as an iPhone. I have set up dropbox for my VP on his iPad, and it is somewhat useful but not in the same way as it is useful on a desktop.

I have no idea about how multiple users works on the iPad. It probably functions the same way as the iPhone.
We were able to get a Dell latitude 2100 (netbook) for about $350 that included a 6 cell battery and 3 year coverage. I love the ipad but is too limited at this point for a classroom setting.
We were able to get a Dell latitude 2100 (netbook) for about $350 that included a 6 cell battery and 3 year coverage. I love the ipad but is too limited at this point for a classroom setting.
Can probably get a Dell Latitude and then scale up to iPad. iPad is great if you need a great visual output and interaction, but Dell Latitude is good for the price otherwise.
Unfortunately, the lowest priced model from Dell that we are "allowed" to get begins in the over-$1000 range...This is the problem in working in a large school district with their pre-set contract pricing :(
Wait, your district signed a contract locking it into purcasing products ABOVE a certain price? Where to being with this? Well, it is Chicago. Seriously, you can't buy a sub $1k laptop? That's criminal. I assume the other vendors have the same deal.
Dropbox is a useful tool, even on the iPad. I would look at Works when it is released rather than GoogleDocs though. Instead of multiple users (which isn't possible on the iPad - AFAIK) you could setup a website with multiple users. This would enable your students to login using the iPad browser. On the website you'd be able to offer video, audio etc. Another possibility is to use a tool such as WordPress for iPad for students to submit answers / coursework... to a blog. A blog per class perhaps?

There are already many educational apps available (cross-ported) from the iPhone, that the iPad seems like a possibility. Who knows, your council might even consider developing for iPad?

Martin

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