Apr 9, 2011
nookMuch has been made of the value of the iPad as an education device. Some believe it to be the salvation of education, while others are taking a more balanced perspective. While I have already made my opinion well known, I do believe that tablet devices in general hold particular promise for special needs students. Expensive, highly specialized, single purpose devices have long been in use in this space, in an effort to overcome issues with fine motor skills and other cognitive challenges for which traditional computing interfaces are simply ineffective. When compared to those devices, I believe the low cost and high flexibility of a tablet device brings with it the potential to bring significant benefits to special needs students.

Until recently, the only choice for such an application has been the iPad. While the iPad is an excellent tool, it is still big, expensive, and brings with it a raft of associated costs, restrictions, and management headaches that can be challenging for an already over-burdened special education teacher. Size and costs lead to fewer devices being deployed and less than continuous access for students.
Apr 3, 2011
I've been thinking a lot about innovation lately, especially as it relates to education, and perhaps more importantly how the crushing force of hype often stifles it. Corporation X comes out with innovative product Y, sells that product to the world as the future, convinces a few naive but influential writers/bloggers/reporters with a tendency towards utopianism to write/speak favorably about it, and suddenly the world believes that this one thing is the only path to world peace, an end to hunger, and happiness for all. This then leads to the belief among educators that if we can just get product Y into our classrooms, knowledge will flourish and all of our problems will be solved. Of course, there is no depth to these assertions, which are based entirely on assumptions driven by a shallow view of education as a series of activities, rather than an environment or ecosystem for learning.