At one point last week I had to set up our dozen laptops in my class to use a website that required Flash, Shockwave and Java (name and shame: SCHOLAR). It cut 15 minutes out of my lesson and felt like the most ridiculous hassle. It felt like a relic of the past.
Last week, our Primary 1 teacher told me that she had recharged her iPads for the first time since opening day - two and a half weeks ago.
Of all the great things that the iPad has brought to our classrooms, the one thing that we don’t appreciate is that it has completely eliminated the need to think about charging our computing devices. We don’t think about how great that is because we no longer think about charging at all until we’re reminded of the old ways.
Our take-home program helps. Kids who take the iPad home also take the charger home and it’s their responsibility to bring it to school with at least 50% battery life in the device. We suggest not recharging if over 50% remains so that we exercise the battery occasionally. That’s another mark of how great the iPad’s battery is - it’s genuinely hard to even get into the upper 40s in a day’s use without the backlight blazing at 100%.
The benefits to classroom management of long-lived devices are incredible. You never interrupt your lesson for someone to go and get a charger. Kids never have to move seats to get near a socket.
Simply put: if your device doesn’t last for 10 real-world hours of use, your device is no longer competitive in education. I can’t imagine ever going back to using 4-hour devices like laptops on a regular basis.