The Weakness of iPads in K-12 Education is Starting to Show Up

Apple believes that tablets are the future. And so, it's natural to push iPads for K-12 education. The idea is that these iPads are great educational devices because they're cheaper, more secure and easier to maintain than MacBooks. But what about the ability of teachers to invoke iPads for the kinds of skills training the curriculum calls for? And fit them into the budget? Signs are, it's not working thanks to smart competitors.

The ability of K-12 teachers to use iPads in the classroom depends on many things. First, it depends on how well the operation and capabilities of the iPad works with the curriculum. If the curriculum demands that students learn certain skills using certain tools that are not on the iPad, that's a problem.

Second, the teacher's expertise with the iPad is crucial. If the teacher isn't familiar enough with the technology of the iPad, through training or personal initiative, then exploiting the operational capabilities of the iPad to achieve educational goals will be a real challenge.

Finally, if the pricing and maintenance of the iPad doesn't fit in with the school's budget and infrastructure, then the school will tend to gravitate towards known, simple, and inexpensive solutions.

This could well explain why Apple is still having trouble competing with Chromebooks in education. I've mentioned this problem before, "What to Expect (and Not Expect) From Apple in 2016," and the problem isn't going away.

Here are two more articles that suggest the nature of the problem.

The emerging trouble Apple is having in education is a symptom. It's what happens when a big company is trying to grow quickly and relentlessly leaves the past behind. Sometimes, core markets can't keep up with that pace.

In addition, holes in the Apple's product line exist as it enters new markets or tries to push new products into old markets. Apple's product line has naturally gotten more complicated as it tries to plug those product holes that competitors have already discovered and are exploiting. But it's a never ending battle.

It doesn't help if Apple has specific, historical ideas about how its products should be designed and priced. The truth is, Apple is trying to sell iPads as K-12 educational devices because they're cheaper, more secure and easier to maintain than MacBooks Airs.

But given the constraints of iOS, are they really the best tools for students to learn the skills outlined in the curriculum? And can Apple balance the value of the iPads against educational budgets? Are educational apps in the App Store written with those common curriculum goals in mind? This is an ongoing challenge for Apple, and one that Apple must meet. After all, as Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has said, " is deep in Apple’s DNA."

Now it remains to be seen if it's also in Apple's resourcefulness, willpower, competitiveness and flexibility.

Page 2: The Tech News Debris for the Week of June 6th. A new internet is being designed.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of June 6th

A New Internet is Being Designed


In most ways, the internet is glorious and has been a boon to commerce, banking, publishing, education and social interactions. However, it is also a bit of a disappointment in many ways. The very structure of the internet that led to its phenomenal growth has also led to terrible security issues.

Is it even possible to reinvent the Internet? Would it be possible to combine all the fabulous hardware that's been built with a new architecture that would eliminate its weaknesses and return it to its original charter? It may not be, but the father of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, is thinking about it. "The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It."

...on Tuesday, Mr. Berners-Lee gathered in San Francisco with other top computer scientists — including Brewster Kahle, head of the nonprofit Internet Archive and an internet activist — to discuss a new phase for the web.

While governments and black hats have a vested interest in keeping the Web just as it is, the article above raises some interesting ideas. Perhaps, some day, we'll see some of them implemented. It would be a giant step in the right direction. But who would pay for it?

Moving on...

A curious thing is happening in 2016. People are:

I haven't seen any analysis on what's causing this. Could it be the rise of Peak TV that diverts and occupies? Could it be that the perfect world of movie & TV romance, adventure and superheroes, devoid of the daily struggle of technology, is more appealing? A pleasant retreat? After all, with Netflix, you just sit back, tap and enjoy. Shrill, creepy and offensive players are dealt with there in contrast to social media where they run amok.

Could it be that the middle class is finally done with trying to keep up the financial and technical pace and has found that the current level of tech is good enough? Could it be a feeling that rapid advances in technology are bringing on just too many new security and administration headaches and customers seek to moderate and stabilize? Have they bought so much content that backing it all up is just too much of a headache? After all, one way to deal with burdensome technical issues and too much social noise is to just shut down selected pieces of personal technology.

Tell me what you think.

One problem iOS has, related to the preamble on page one, is the requirement for backwards compatibility of iOS with older hardware, and that prevents major advances by Apple. This next, interesting article presents the thesis that when older hardware, way down on the performance curve, is no longer supported, Apple will be unleashed to make substantial iOS advances. I like it because it explores the link between how fast hardware advances and how fast commercial code can be written to exploit it. Maybe Apple needs more computers writing code. See: "The iPad Pro is hobbled by software, and why iOS 10 could knock it out of the park."

Finally, this article looks at several key issues related to cars: highways, congestion, construction costs, autonomous driving, car ownership, the efficiency of that ownership and the efficiency of transporting goods. They're all neatly tied together in: "Transportation technology will be the next Internet protocol."


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.