A new report published today by The Atlantic acknowledged that Apple's iPads have thus far been the gadget of choice at both ends of the economic spectrum: in wealthier schools with ample resources and demand from parents, and in low-income schools that receive federal grants to improve student success rates. However, the iPad trend is being challenged in many school districts and new Common Core requirements may hinder the iPad's growth in education going forward.
Every story published on a topic as big as education in the class room could be seen as a propaganda tool for hardware manufacturers. The market for educational technology is huge and competitive: During 2014, American K-12 schools will spend an estimated $9.94 billion on educational technology. And with Apple's iPad being the number one tool for students, the war is beginning to heat up to dislodge Apple's grip on the education market.
While most of the report is about a couple of schools departing from using the iPad for their students to the use of Google's Chromebook, there's good reason. Reportedly there's been a change in student testing where "Common Core online testing will require a keyboard." A full keyboard, not a virtual keyboard apparently.
That single requirement is having more schools look to both Chromebooks and 2-in-1 hybrid laptop-tablets. The report noted that "In September, Baltimore County, Maryland, will pilot a new hybrid laptop-tablet in 10 elementary schools. Over the last year, teachers and students there have had the chance to experiment with more than a dozen different devices, said Lloyd Brown, director of the information technology department. When Baltimore leaders asked if teachers wanted a tablet or a laptop, the answer was, 'Both.'"
Best Buy's CEO Hubert Joly noted last week that he's seeing this trend as well by stating that tablets boomed and are now crashing. The trend that is moving back to notebooks that are hybrids is beginning to get the nod from consumers. We noted in last week's report that Apple has a hybrid product on the drawing board. They also have an iPad protective cover-keyboard hybrid product that is patent pending.
The new Common Core standard demanding a full keyboard is going to push Apple into having to provide schools with a solution that meets their new requirements.
On another front, some schools want to adopt the business model for schools known as BYOD. In Miami-Dade County, Florida, a large urban district with 320,000 students, schools are promoting a "bring your own device" model. Paul Smith, supervisor of network services stated that "We can't keep up with the trends in personal devices."
The Atlantic report, if anything, allows us to see how the iPad is being challenged in many school programs across the US. How Apple intends to address this massive market and its shifting demands remains unknown at this time.
Also Education Related: Apple TV may Challenge SMART Boards in Education Market