Tuesday, June 14, 2016

iOS 10 Bites early adopters of iPads

iOS 10 will change the landscape of education technology dramatically. Many schools like my own jumped on the iPad bandwagon early. Because of that, I have 3 carts of iPads in my elementary school that are iPad 2s and 3s. The next operating system update from Apple will not support these iPads.

What does this mean? The iPad won't become a brick but as apps adapt to the newer iOS updates these iPads will not be able to do that. In my elementary school that will mean the usefulness of the device diminishes as the apps we have found to be useful in the classroom stop responding. It is my guess that they will always be a connection through the browser and therefore are not completely unusable. But as an instructional technologist that is worked hard to find solutions for my teachers to integrate technology well this is a discouraging fact. We have not budgeted to replace the iPads currently and therefore I am a wee bit nervous about what type of issues we will have this coming school year. As anyone who works in Ed Tech knows, if technology is cumbersome it is often laid to the side and I completely understand why.

In our upper school we are in a BYOT environment with over 90% of our students choosing to bring iPads thus far. Because we  became a BYOT required school when the iPad 2 hit the market, many of our parents are going to be faced with the same dilemma. Their children will have devices that are quirky and the teachers of these children will also become frustrated.

I don't blame Apple. All technology is pretty much obsolete as it rolls off the assembly line. The iOS 10 updates bring about some amazing new things. It just so happens the iPads that many schools have won't support those things due to the fact they are older models. The question becomes how do schools respond to this? As I look at options chromebooks are looking better and better due to their price point. I love the flexibility that a tablet gives to students regarding creativity and ease of annotation. I wish that the option of touchscreen laptops were more affordable than they are currently. I do believe we are just a few years out from that being an option. But the question remains what's my best solution for next year?