Here’s the story.
I hate laptops. I don’t need to explain. But I hate them, and I have enough experience using them to know that I hate them. Nuff said.
I love touch screens. I found my iPod touch to be a wonderful thing. But my son Billy basically stole it. OK, I could have resisted, I suppose. But anyone with kids knows how difficult it is to deny one’s children something that they find so useful.
But that means I needed a replacement for web surfing when someone is using the computer.
Meanwhile, I need my own laptop for classroom use. I’ve borrowed one up till now, and that has so many disadvantages that it isn’t even worth the bother to list them.
Then I visited my parents in Hong Kong in August. My mother has an iPad. I fell in love with the iPad. The concept addresses many of the things I dislike about laptops. Not only that: it addresses some of the things I hate about laptops in the classroom. I absolutely despise Powerpoint. (Hate it, hate it, hate it, HATE IT!) And I hate someone making a presentation fiddling with a keyboard, too. I hate someone looking at their laptop screen rather than me. I hate just about everything when it comes to using laptops in the classroom. And the iPad seemed to address some of these points. It couldn’t mitigate all the difficulties of using a computer when presenting material, but conceptually it is far superior to a laptop.
I can hold it in my hand while moving around the room. I don’t have to break eye contact for more than a second while I simply touch “videos” and then touch the video I want to play. Simple, clean, minimal time lost—no fiddling with a mouse on a desk while the class waits, bored.
So I set about researching whether I could do this.
First answer: no.
The iPad doesn’t have all the regular ports that a laptop would have. That’s OK. I can respect that. It doesn’t have a VGA-out, for example. But I found an HDMI to VGA adapter online, and respected a blog account of using it, so that problem wasn’t the biggest deal. Of course, in order to be wireless I would have to purchase Apple TV. Again, not a big deal. At this point I would be spending at least TWICE the money as I would spend on a suitable laptop, but—hey!, I’m getting what I want, and I’m getting those advantages of using a tablet.
So second answer: yes.
I just need to buy an iPad, Apple TV, and a Kanex ATV Pro HDMI/VGA adapter.
So I went out and bought it.
But does it work?
The iPad works.
The Kanex adapter works.
BUT: Apple TV doesn’t work in a classroom.
It comes down to this: for Apple TV to actually boot up, it must be logged on to a Wi-Fi network. To log into a Wi-Fi network is problematic, because Apple TV doesn’t have a browser. (Of course not.) But Apple TV ought to have a way to set up secure Wi-Fi accounts BEFORE it boots up. But it won’t do that unless you do this: you MUST download an APP called “Apple Configurator”, and you MUST use it on a MAC (not an iPod or iPhone or iPad), and you MUST plug in the Apple TV with a micro-USB cable (which I didn’t have; I have some mini’s, but didn’t have a micro), and THEN (supposedly—I don’t know, since I don’t own an Apple computer (I only own an expensive iPad and Apple TV and a Kanex adapter))—you could set up Apple TV to work on my university’s Wi-Fi network.
Did you catch that? I MUST OWN an Apple computer to SET UP EQUIPMENT I’VE ALREADY BOUGHT!
It’s basically like this: what Apple wants is for you to make a religious conversion. You should confess your sins, throw away all your non-Apple stuff, and buy everything new again.
Except that wouldn’t actually work, either. Because I STILL would have to have the Kanex adapter to get from HDMI to VGA.
And that’s not even the end of the story.
Sound? Speakers? Bluetooth?
The story goes on and on. The iPad doesn’t work in a classroom unless you spend a ton of money and completely re-equip those classrooms to be Apple-friendly.
Nice fantasy, Apple.
Like I can do that.