-Created by Andrew Murray in February, 2011
-Revised and updated by Craig Chubb and Jaime Tong in February, 2012
-Revised and updated by Amanda Bourdon in February, 2013
-Revised and updated by Rocky Lam in March, 2014
-Revised and updated by Trevor Price in February, 2015
The first generation iPad was released by Apple in April 2010. Apple continues to release newer models of the iPad, where in 2011, the iPad 2 was released. The addition of the retina display was introduced in 2012. The iPad mini was a smaller version of the iPad for increased flexibility and size. The newest addition is the iPad Air in October 2013. 
In the first quarter of 2014, the company posted a revenue of $57.6 billion and a net profit of $13.1 billion. 63% of the total revenue came from international sales. 
The iPad has quickly become the next must-have technological device and it is transforming the way we communicate and use technology in the classroom. It is important to understand how we can effectively use the iPad to differentiate and increase engagement in education.
What is an iPad?
The Apple iPad is a mobile computing device that allows users to consume and produce media, as well as communicate and collaborate with others through its touch screen . The iPad is based on iOS, the iPhone and iPod Touch operating system. The iPad has several features which present opportunities for the device to be integrated into educational settings in a variety of ways. For example, the iPad can browse the internet, load and stream media, and install software using a Wi-Fi and 3G wireless data connection. The device can also connect to a range of networks and other devices, like a personal computer, using a USB cable. Some unique elements include its multi-touch interface, and the immense variety of applications and content (such as magazines, newspapers, and e-textbooks) available free or for purchase in Apple’s App Store or through iTunes. Features such as Video Mirroring and Airplay and Apple TV are relevant for use in educational settings because they allow for the iPad’s display to be broadcast to an external monitor or projector.
Multi-Touch Interface (Affordances)
The multi-touch interface built into iOS 7 is fundamentally changing the way individuals interact with mobile devices. The 9.4 inch screen on Apple's iPad Air allows for a true multi-touch experience. Leveraging the power of Apple's custom mobile chips and intuitively designed interface, application developers now have virtually no limit in terms of creating a truly immersive and interactive experience. 
The multi-touch experience is so profound that professors at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, for example, have noticed in their research that despite that “tablet PCs foster more interactivity” between professor and pupil, students still overwhelmingly prefer to use the multi-touch iPad. A new phenomenological relationship is taking shape in education in which students are beginning to migrate away from traditional computing and towards these devices because of their "simple convenience" and "outstanding image resolution".
The iPad multi-touch interface is re-imagining the way people interact with their devices. There is no mouse and physical keyboard. The perceived affordances of the iPad are different than from traditional personal computing and could be considered a more "natural" or intuitive interaction. Objects on the screen can be manipulated in ways that are to be expected. For example, images can be increased or decreased in size by pinching the image with two fingers. Pages turn with the swipe of a finger as is expected with paper books. These design elements or design affordances are largely intended by Apple. However, some design elements are not so intuitive and the perceived affordances are not apparent. For example, by pressing on the image of an app for a few seconds, all app icons begin to rapidly shake. If not accustomed to this then one might be confused by this design response. Overall, however, with each subsequent iteration of iOS the functionality grows and so too does usability.
Portability, Connectivity, and Interactivity
The iPad’s weight and size makes it ideal as a portable learning device. The touchscreen keyboard appears when necessary and eliminates the need for a separate keyboard or mouse. The device can be taken almost anywhere with the ease of connectivity to other devices, a network, and data collection services.
The dimensions of the latest iPad, the iPad Air are 240 mm in length, 169.5 mm wide, and 7.5 mm deep, while its weight is 469 g. The screen size is 9.7 inches (diagonal) with 264 pixels per inch. The battery life is approximately 10 hours on one charge. The device is available with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage .
There are a variety of accessories available for the iPad which allow the device to be adaptable to user preferences. Accessories include but are not limited to soft and hard cases, screen protector, stands and charging docks, wireless keyboards and other App-enabled accessories .
From a cost perspective, the iPad falls between mobile devices such as the iPod Touch and larger devices such as laptops. The iPod Touch can offer educators synchronous communication at a lower price than an iPad, but an iPad does offer more computing power at a price that is less than the cheapest Mac laptop . In addition, the iPad can save money by reducing printing and textbook costs in the long run .
Below is a price comparison of the current models of iPads available for purchase as of March 2014 .
|iPad Air||iPad 2||iPad mini with Retina display||iPad mini|
|16GB $499||16GB $399||16GB $399||16GB $299|
|32GB $599||32GB $499|
|64GB $699||64GB $599|
|128GB $799||128GB $699|
- Prices of competing products as of March 2014:
- iPod Touch: $229
- Blackberry Playbook: $169
- HP Mini 110: $329
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 3: $179
- Latitude 10 Windows 8 Tablet: $553
- Apple Macbook Pro: $1199
An advantage of choosing the iPad is having access to Apple’s App Store and iTunes, where the bulk of educational and productivity apps are sold. Prices for iPad apps and software are generally lower than the cost of purchasing software for computers. For example, iWork, Apple's software suite containing Pages, Numbers and Keynote is $79 for desktop and laptop computers, but $9.99 each for iPad. However, educators must also understand that there are limitations to the iPad, where the use of these applications on an Apple Macbook Pro provide more flexibility.
The iPad may help to lower costs by reducing textbook expenses with Apple's entry into the e-textbook market . Schools have the option of creating their own in-house textbooks or purchasing e-textbooks, both for use on the iPad. Electronic versions of texts are more durable than paper versions, and less likely to be misplaced since they are stored in iPad. However, schools may need to purchase iPads with larger amounts of memory, to accommodate future e-textbooks.
In addition to e-textbooks, the iPad is compatible with large e-book stores such as Amazon and Chapters. E-reader software such as those installed on the Kindle and Kobo are available for free download on the iPad. This allows for schools to purchase fiction for use in Language Art and ESL classes. E-reader software also allows users to annotate text, add bookmarks and share comments with other users through social media integration.
Increasing numbers of public libraries are also making books available for free electronic download. OverDrive is an example of an app which allows public library users in Canada to download books onto iPad.
eBooks and eTextbooks
eBooks have become very popular. The ease at which one can instantly download a book from the internet and store thousands of them on one device makes the iPad very enticing. While some might find reading off a screen for long periods of time difficult, many enjoy the experience because eBooks present advantages that traditional book cannot match. For example, books can be heavy. The iPad doesn't feel heavy when resting on your lap. One can easily change the orientation of the iPad by angling it vertically or horizontally. The screen brightness level can be adapted to the current ambient light. As well, one doesn't need another light on in the room because the screen itself is lit. While many eBook reading apps exist, most allow for "night reading" or give "sepia" options for those who have difficulty adapting to reading from a screen.
eBooks also have built-in dictionaries which allow for the reader to "select" the word and have it defined. As well, eBooks can be annotated or sentences can be highlighted and retrieving these is easy because a list is automatically created. Search features also exist which allows for readers to scour the entire book quickly and easily.
eTextbooks are gaining momentum in education. Traditionally, textbooks were produced by major publishers and little change took place in terms of leveraging the power of electronic textbooks on mobile devices. But now Apple's partnership with leading K-12 publishers such as McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Nelson Education, Oxford University Press, Pearson Education and Solaro eTextbooks allows schools to purchase e-textbooks that incorporate Multi-Touch components - designed for the 21st century learner. Learners can view images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, highlight text, take notes, search for content and definitions and much more .
Apps like eTextbooks for the iPad (developed by CourseSmart) are free and allow students to access the CourseSmart website to open and use their etextbooks. Students do require to log into CourseSmart and rent etextbooks online . With Apple's iBooks Author for the Mac, anyone can produce their own textbook. This may fundamentally change the way students participate in education and change the way in which educators rely on these major publishers. Critics, however, while impressed with the design elements of iBooks Author, are concerned of the proprietary nature of published material. For example, material produced using iBooks Author must be published to iBooks 2 if the author wants the user to have the full interactive experience. While one can export their creation to pdf or txt, the full eText experience is simplified. On the whole, Apple is a proponent of standards-based, OpenSource technology, but this recent move concerns many because its perceived to restrict flexibility.
Click here to see Apple's iBooks Author video.
The iPad has several features to enable communication between users. In an educational setting, teachers and students can correspond with each other and submit or share assignments  Its built-in cameras present opportunities for video conferencing through the pre-installed Facetime app. Other tools, such as Skype, are also available on iPad. With the iOS 7 operating system, Messages is a new communication tool, which allows users to send instant text messages to others with the app. These types of tools allow for greater options in communication. As well, file sharing and collaboration is possible through the use of tools such as DropBox, Box.net, and Google Docs. The iPad also changes how students can complete assignments, for example, a student could tag and annotate their photo evidence gathered for a project on Flickr, while another student writes a synthesis of this evidence on their class blog .
The iPad has also created a market for touch-based meta-textual tools that allow users to annotate items for personal reference or sharing to social networks . Users can use apps such as Goodreader or PDF Notes to highlight and add notes to documents, books, and other electronic texts. For example, students can mark-up textbooks on iBooks, just as they would with a traditional text, except that the electronic notes also present options for searching and collating work.
Another communication-related aspect of the iPad is the integration with social media tools. Users can create content, comment, and easily share items with social media networks. In terms of classroom use, this particular feature allows for students to create content for authentic audiences such as peers, parents, other teachers, and even the rest of the world .
The iPad contains several features which allow users to personalize the device, based on needs.There is a full-screen zoom, a voice-over screen reader (which describes and reads the display to users who are visually impaired), and even support for wireless braille peripherals. In addition to the built-in features, apps such as Dragon Dictation enable users to use voice-recognition instead of typing. Educators can leverage these personalizations to tailor to the student's special needs, allowing for greater accessibility to communicate more effectively.  Users can also organize apps and links into folders, and shortcuts to frequently used apps can be pinned to the dock.
Mobile Learning, which is now more commonly referred to as, mLearning, is a "form of e-learning that specifically employs wireless communications devices to deliver content and learning support". This is very similar to eLearning, which is the use of "web-enabled technology to develop skills of an individual, group or organisation at a fast pace. It integrates the use of electronic text, images, emails, video conferencing, audio conferencing, web-based training (WBT), computer-based training (CBT) and mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, and Android devices)".
Mobile technologies, like the iPad, have the capacity to eliminate the constraints of fixed time and place and encourage a whole new mode of learning. mLearning is currently in its infancy and many are currently researching its potential as a tool for learning. Irrespective of the outcome of the research, mLearning is here to stay. The ease with which individuals can learn without the traditional constraints of time and place, has not only altered the way in which people learn, but the way in which they want to learn. Why sit in an uncomfortable classroom when one can be at home or at a coffee shop learning at one's own pace, under one's own conditions. People's relationship to learning is changing because it is no longer tied to a particular institution or individual. mLearning has democratized learning in general and many are beginning to question traditional learning methods and its associated accreditation.
How Schools are Using iPads
The integration of iPads into education systems is significantly altering the way governments, educators, parents, and students view learning, and how students receive and explore content. Research indicates that using iPads in the classroom increases student and teacher engagement. IPads also improve teacher’s ability to meet a variety of learning needs . Many schools ranging from kindergarten to post secondary education have invested in iPads for their teachers and students. The iPad is commonly used as an instructor station, a student work station, or as a group collaboration device .
The iPad offers educators and students a great deal of versatility because of the breadth of Apps available for the device .
There are thousands of education specific iPad applications available for download from the App Store, ranging from interactive lessons to study aids and productivity tools.
iBooks Author, iBooks 2, and iTunes U App are ebook tools released by Apple were developed to enhance the experience of reading textbooks on iPads by making it more dynamic and engaging. Further, teachers can now develop their own eTextbooks with the free iBooks Author software for the Mac. As more schools are using iPads, we need to consider how to accommodate more mobile devices onto current infrastructures in schools. We also need to consider how teachers and students are responding to iPad teaching and learning, providing adequate technical support and professional development to successfully integrate iPads into schools to enhance learning.
Thousands of apps are available that are targeted to elementary-aged learners. For young students, there are apps available for tracing letters, puzzles, phonics, and math, including apps influenced by Montessori theories. For older students, apps are available for creating products such as stories, comics, and videos using the built-in camera and microphone.
Students can use the device independently, in pairs and small groups without limiting the visibility of the screen for any group members. Teachers can also monitor student-use since there is a wider angle for viewing, compared to laptops and desktops. The other benefit of the iPad in a school setting is that the device can only run one application at a time, which can reduce distractions.
Since the iPad is still a new technology, anecdotal reports exist in news media, however, scholarly research is still fairly new . One study, which spanned the 2010-2011 school year concluded that one middle school which used Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing's iPad algebra app saw a 20% improvement in state test scores . The study was funded by the publisher and conducted by a third-party research firm. As more schools are implementing technological programs, we can understand how teachers use iPads as a tool and whether if it transform learning to increase student success.
Many websites discuss and review apps for elementary-aged students. Several are listed in the Related External Links and Additional Readings. below you will find some of some top educational Apps for elementary education:
Because iPads are a relatively new technology, the full capability of the iPad has not been leveraged. This is also true in education. While many teachers around the world are already piloting iPads in the classroom, and while they have the potential of becoming the de facto tool, they are still a nascent technology that hasn't quite reach mass appeal or use. Because of different needs and maturity levels, the use of iPads at the secondary level are going to be different than at elementary. The use of iPads at the Secondary level are virtually limitless. iPad apps are aplenty and this accounts, in part, for its growing popularity in schools. Education-specific applications are available now by the thousands. Teachers can build their own applications if there is a void in the education market. Students at Sentinel Secondary school in West Vancouver decided to create their own iOS application for students to use. This demonstrates the changing paradigm. Students and teachers are able to take an active role in literally developing their code to cater to their own needs in education. As a result, with each passing day the iPad becomes more usable and relevant in the field of education.
While thousands of applications exist only a few notables will be listed here:
Learners with Special Needs
As mentioned in previous sections, the iPad has several features particularly suited to users with special needs. It is portable in size and weight. The touchscreen also does not present as many difficulties to users with issues in fine motor control as a traditional computer with keyboard and mouse would.
As a communication device, there are many apps available for students with autism to support social skills and social integration with peers .
Compared to traditional augmentative and alternative communication devices that are used with special needs students, the iPad allows special needs students to blend into a classroom environment with a mainstream device, while supporting communication with apps such as those listed below :
Limitations for Learning
Although the touch-based navigation makes the iPad conducive to consuming media - for example, no keyboard or mouse is required to flip through a virtual newspaper, book or magazine, the multi-touch interface can also be a limiting factor. For creating written content, the touchscreen keyboard does not allow for traditional touch typing. Short documents, blog posts and emails can be easily written on the touchscreen keyboard. When composing lengthier documents, some users may prefer to use a bluetooth keyboard. To overcome the shortcomings of typing on a screen, Apple engineers in their laboratories have been working on implementing different technologies to bring back the sensation of a touch response. While some shortcomings still exist with the touch screen, it has however provided new opportunities in education. The touch interface and the apps that are available allow for struggling students to grasp concepts that have caused difficulties in the past.
Educational institutions must consider the long term financial costs and technical requirements of maintaining the devices, and sustaining broadband and Wi-Fi access .
Other considerations include the need to purchase secure carts for storing, synchronizing and charging iPads, as well as cases to protect individual iPads. In addition to maintaining the hardware, funds also need to be earmarked for software purchases. Currently, Apple does not offer a volume licensing program for the purchase of apps in Canada. Technical support time also needs to be allotted, as the devices will need maintenance and software updates.
While the iPad can be shared rather easily, its potential is most maximized when the device is tied to one individual. Fundamentally, iOS was designed to work for the individual and not cater to multiple users. If it did it would have multiple user login options. Instead, one can download and arrange their apps into folders of their choice and download apps that suit their specific needs. For example, if the iPad were to be used simply for gathering information from a browser then the device could be shared rather easily. But the moment that one needs to share documents from one device to another it gets more complicated. The file system is completely different from traditional computing. Windows and Mac OS is designed around a directory of files and folders. These operating systems have the applications work around the file system. It is the opposite with iOS devices, where the files are centralized around the applications.
Presently, the iPad is not a device that teachers are using for tests. For one, it is very difficult to control access to content or just about anything while students are writing a test with an iPad or on an iPad. Even if access to WiFi were controlled, some students could still have access to cellular data networks if their iPads are equipped. As well, it would be virtually impossible to control what content pre-existed on the device. Having said that, it would be fair to assume, based on all the creativity in application development, that specialized test apps would be produced to counteract that dilemma of content access. In other words, test applications could restrict access to other apps on the device until the test has been completed. For example, it would be rather easy to produce a "test app" that would deny a student access back into it if he or she tried to exit the program to browse safari or something else to get information. In fact, this would be far less clumsy than the programs exist currently for traditional computing which block individuals from accessing other applications while writing a test. It is only a matter of time before plenty of test applications exist for this very purpose.
For research and scholarly writing, the iPad has limited capabilities compared to a laptop or desktop computer. The iPad has Safari browser installed for internet research. The iPad is also capable of handling electronic textbooks and course packages through iBooks 2, as well as other apps such as Bluefire Reader and Overdrive. The Papers for iPad App is a specialized app created for searching, reading and annotating scholarly scientific articles, but it can only access a few databases.
There is an App Endnote$9.99, has been introduced. It allows users to create, edit, and organize citations in a document.
Future Possibilities for Learning with iPads
Research indicates that both teachers and students perceive iPads as having the potential to positively impact student engagement and learning, and more specifically to increase on-task behaviour and improvements in the quality of work. While educators remain on the fence about whether or not iPads can and will revolutionize education systems, we must keep in mind that the device is still relatively new. In gearing curriculum towards 21st century learners we must develop 21st century methods of instructional delivery . Listed below are some of the ways the iPad can change education:
- A shift from stable classroom environments to more fluid environments.
- Authentic complex problems could be addressed in real-time environments
- In addition to traditional textbook study, the activities of acquiring, storing, reading, and annotating information can also be embedded with video and gaming elements
- Educators may need to focus more on integrating learning outside the context of curricular, institutions, and timetables, and to teach more constructivist, interest led, teaching with less systematic consistency
- To totally leverage the power and portability of these devices is to link them to an Learning Management System. Students would be able to login to their course, follow along, contribute digitally, but also enjoy the benefits of face to face in a traditional classroom. Eventually, it may be a requirement for all teachers to build and maintain their own LMS.
Affordances of iPad Apps:Personal and cultural expression on iPads
Article and video by Trevor Price, posted February 9th, 2015.
One design consideration, when we are looking at learning with iPads is the affordances of ipad applications. Affordances, in Don Norman’s language, are the features of artifacts that afford them being used by an agent in certain ways, as a bicycle affords opportunities for travel (although a stationary bike does not). Or, we can throw a chair and sit on a ball but the chair affords being sat on more easily than being thrown, just as the ball affords being thrown more easily than being sat on. Cite error: Invalid
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Do the apps we use on iPads have cultural bias? Does this bias affect how well our First Nations students can express themselves? Another way of expressing this question is what are the cultural affordances of the apps used on iPads? The short answer is some apps afford easier personal and cultural expression than others.
iMovie (Apple, 2014) is a very robust, complex app for creating “trailers” and movies. “Trailers” are short Hollywood-style movie trailer templates that allow minimal control over transitions, soundtrack and even length. Users can choose content and change titles, within certain parameters, but must opt into a stereotypical trailer style, such as “Indie,” “Bollywood,” “Romance,” or “Superhero.” When choosing the more open “movie” option, users must still choose a preset style (E.g.: “Simple,” “News,” “CNN iReport,” or “Modern”), which presents different transitions and soundtrack options in that style that can be overridden by the user. Overwhelmingly, intermediate students using the “Movie” option seem to accept and use only the presets they are offered. If we consider the clash between Hollywood sensationalism and possible attempts to express one’s culture in a genuine way, we realize that the student who wants to tell a story in her own way, in iMovie, will have to be determined to avoid these impositions.
There are several apps that present very simple workspaces, have limited functioning (limited tool palettes, for instance) and yet do very little to restrict the user, except by being dedicated to a particular medium. One simple app used frequently to tell stories is Book Creator (Red Jumper Limited, 2014). Although the book metaphor this app is based on imposes a certain Eurocentric culture – cover, title, author, pages – this app seems to offer significant freedom of expression. While book “pages” are restricted to certain proportions, colour, text and illustrations are under user control. Likewise, students can record a soundtrack for the book, frequently a reading of the book’s text. Students are free to tell any story without fighting off an imposing presentation style.
Two other apps that specialize in a particular medium are Animation Creator HD (miSoft, 2014) and Stop Motion Studio (CATEATER, 2014). Like Book Creator, the interface for these apps is fairly simple, and they have a very particular function. However, also like Book Creator, the content and style of the product depends on the wishes, skills and intentions of the students, rather than those of the programmer. So, while much simpler than iMovie, these applications provide far more accessible freedom than Apple’s very powerful, but very prescriptive application.
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Kazi, S. A. (2007). MILE: Mobile intelligent learning EnvironmentA conceptual framework for mLearning. International Journal of Engineering Education, 23(3), 468-468.
Lopresti, M. J. (2012). iPads in the classroom. EContent, 35(3), 6-7,10. Retrieved February 17, 2012, from http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1008148128?accountid=14656
Miguel Ángel Conde González. (2008). mLearning, the first step in learning process revolution. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 2(4), 62-64.
Norman, D. (2010). Affordances and Design. In jnd: Just noticeable difference. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/affordances_and_design.html
Paul B. Muyinda. (2007). MLearning: Pedagogical, technical and organisational hypes and realities. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 24(2), 97-104. doi:10.1108/10650740710742709
Rahman, S. (2012) Getting Started: iPads for Special Needs. Retrieved from March 7, 2014, from http://ipads4specialneedsbook.com/
Souppouris A. (2014). Apple breaks iPhone and iPad sale records in Q1 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014 from http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/27/5350106/apple-q1-2014-earnings
Tanmay Trivedi. (2011). Hop onto mLearning. Training and Development in Australia, 38(4), 28.
Walters, E. A., & Baum, M. (2011). Will the iPad Revolutionize Education? Learning & Leading With Technology, 38(7), 6-7. Retrieved February 17, 2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b3bc53fa-71b7-4d57-9be1-0c1fe09a114a%40sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=104
Wieder, B. (2011). iPads could hinder teaching, professors say. Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(28), A22-A23.
Related External Links and Additional Readings
Pratt, K. (2010). Netbook, eReader, or iPad? – that is the question. Computers in New Zealand Schools, 22(1/2). Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press. Retrieved Februaru 17 from http://education2x.otago.ac.nz/cinzs/mod/resource/view.php?id=74
Scarlett, A. (2011). SALINE: Taylor Parrish finds his voice using technology. Heritage Newspapers. Retrieved February 18 from http://www.heritage.com/articles/2011/02/15/saline_reporter/news/doc4d5aad4b13caf897564464.txt?viewmode=fullstory
Wodajo, F. M. (2010). Column: The iPad in the Hospital and Operating Room. Journal of Surgical Radiology. Retrieved February 18 from http://www.surgisphere.com/SurgRad/issues/volume-2/1-january-2011--pages-1-112/152-column-the-ipad-in-the-hospital-and-operating-room.html
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