This morning, the iPad vs laptop debate appeared again on my Twitter stream. The case in point was Anastasis Academy, a 1:1 iPad school in Colorado. Alec Couros and Jon Becker questioned whether a laptop wouldn’t be a more broadly capable device. Several interesting comments ensued.
Kelly Tenkely mentioned “…all an I-pad will let you do that laptop won’t (for same price)” and then clarified that she was thinking about software when she wrote “…not as many free software options on laptops.” That one made me do a double take, and I’m sure somewhere Richard Stallman’s ears are burning. Jon Becker then mentioned Linux laptop projects. Before Kelly mentioned software, I was guessing that she was making the argument, which I’ve seen before, that iPads are more useful than laptops because their UI makes it easier to actually get work done since you don’t have to spend as much time learning how to do things.
Michelle Baldwin made the quite valid point that different tools meet different needs. I think, however, that the 1:1 model implies that one tool will be a focal point of technology use. I would argue that if you are going to put a single tool at the “center of the show”, that tool should be as flexible and open a tool as you can find.
I hope Anastasis Academy’s iPad approach works for them. I also hope they’ll consider adding a Raspberry Pi, or something like it, to the supply list for older students once the device ships later this year. I’d love to see what the creative students they are cultivating could do if given a device they could program.