Web 2.0 = iPad fail?

One of the biggest moves we made in the 5/6 level last year was the integration of “Web 2.0” tools into our teaching and learning practices. Many of the tools entered the classroom psyche through tech savvy students bringing in presentations made at home that wowed adult and child alike. Other tools were introduced by teachers after discovering them on the Net themselves or through my recommendations on our Edmodo page.

Once the students were introduced to them, the ‘digital natives’ took them on board and before we had a chance to ‘check the site policies’, we had projects presented through Glogster, Xtranormal, Prezi, YouTube as well as iMovies from the “Mac Kids”. And the quality and depth of their work was outstanding and engaging! So the last thing we want to do is take these tools away ( although once the dust settled and I had the chance to check the site policies, some of these tools were supposed to be out of bounds for our “Under 13s”. This is something we will have to deal with this year with some deft policy/user agreement and parent permission note writing!)

Which once again brings us to Part 2 of “Do we NEED iPads?” titled “Web 2.0=iPad Fail?”.

Probably the single biggest criticism of the iPad since its birth has been its inability to work with Adobe’s Flash technology. So many interactive websites use it for their animation, video and content creation tools. While a new standard known as HTML5 is slowly being embraced on many major sites like YouTube and many big news websites so iOS users don’t miss out, in the Education Website world which we live in, Flash dominates. Javascript is also an issue.

The problem is that so many sites that the children started using last year for their projects and presentations DON’T work on the iPad. Glogster? Useless. Prezi? No go ( the iPad has a Prezi viewer app but students need to create them first ). Xtranormal? Nope. On top of that, popular sites like NLMV for Math Manipulatives and Jenny Eather’s Maths Dictionary for Kids are also non-functional on an iPad because of Flash and Javascript incompatibilities. Lots of sites the students find with Google for research or online Maths and Literacy games end up having a ton of Flash based animations that bring up blank pages and expressions when visited on iOS devices.Even sites that just offer file uploading options don’t work with the iOS file system.  It might be OK for Steve Jobs RIP and my fellow Apple disciples  to tell us “Flash Sucks” and they hardly notice it missing in their world but in the educational world, it is quite pervasive.

That being the case then, is the iPad too crippled a device to invest in when so much of what is on the WWW for education is out of reach? Short answer – No. Long Answer – No with a bit of Yes and Maybe thrown in the mix.

What the iPad lacks in Web 2.0 access it easily makes up in alternatives through its Apps. To begin with, some Web 2.0 tools have now released their on iPad apps so that they can be used anyway. VoiceThread is a good example of this; Popplet and Coveritlive are others. Any unqualified to speak, anti-iPad blogger who is still pushing the “iPad is for media consumption, not creation” line is completely unaware of the huge array of apps that children can use for content creation. Apple’s own iWork apps ( Pages, Numbers, Keynote) as well as iMovie and Garageband are great, easy to use tools that produce fantastic results for students. There are now ebook creating apps like Book Creator, Demi Books Composer,and Creative Book Builder and other creative options like StoryPatch that make great books for others to explore. Creative visual story/animation/comic apps abound that give children great scope in presenting their learning. Try out some of the following:

ToonTastic  SockPuppets  iStopMotion ( yes its on the iPad)  iMotion HD  Animation Desk
PhotoPuppets  Comic Life  Strip Designer  ScrapPad

Then there are the photo editing apps like Snapseed, Iris and Pixlromatic that are so easy to use and produce great results and Screencasting apps like ShowMe and Explain Everything that can be use to demonstrate their learning in so many ways. Not to mention all the Maths and Literacy apps that easily match the stuff on the Flash Web.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Web apps like Glogster, Prezi and Xtranormal. So do the students. I want them to use them. Eventually, many of them will convert from Flash to HTML5. Rumour has it that Glogster is close to doing so. Others will follow. We hope.
From what I hear from others on PLNs I’m part of, a lot of these sites are blocked by a lot of schools anyway. That’s a shame but helps my argument. At our school, iPads or not, they still can still use the web tools with the access to laptops and desktops they have anyway. So we can have the best of both worlds. My point is though that the iPad can offer plenty without the Flash dependent world of Online Ed sites. My argument in my last post was that the iPad had to be a different experience to warrant the cost anyway.With the app model instead of Web 2.0, they are.  So does No Web 2.0 = iPad fail? I don’t think so. But what do you think? Is no Flash a no iPad for you?
Next up: my biggest challenge. Can we share iPads?

9 thoughts on “Web 2.0 = iPad fail?

  1. Excellent points! Thanks for sharing your expertise by comparing web 2.0 and the iPad. I’ve used the app Rover to help me view some Flash sites.

    • Thanks Jeanne. I’ve got Rover too. It’s good for what it does but mostly games not web tools. I’d still like to access the sites natively though. There a couple of iPad browsers (Photon is one ) that assert they can play flash through server streaming. They only sort of work. I’ll stick to iPad apps and use my laptop for flash sites.

  2. Within the DEC we do have access to Prezi (from Year 7 on) and Glogster Edu. We can access flash activities such as those on the BBC website (fab) and SpellingCity etc. It is mainly website creation tools and youtube/fb/twitter that are blocked. So yes, I am not unhappy about having some great new desktop computers in the school that run flash. On the other hand there are some fabulous apps available for the iPad, and as you mentioned on your last blog they are faster to access and the AV is much better. Hence I would like to see both in our school.
    I have myself just purchased a 64GB wifi + 3G iPad 🙂 so will have a lot of questions for you Mark!! Very excited

    • Yes, I’m happy to have a balance between laptop accessed Flash apps and unique educational apps made easier with the AV capabilities of the iPad. Still hope HTML5 comes to the Web tools soon.

  3. Thanks so much for letting us know about this blog. I have not only subscribed to the blog, but I have also sent it to my School Education Director to have a look at, as your exploration of the issues is comprehensive and practical. Well done and thanks!

    • Thanks Ms Giddins. Glad that it’s being useful to people. I’m enjoying the blogging experience. Check out my next post on iPad sharing. Bit more critical towards my favourite tech tool in this installment. Fair and balanced.

  4. You bring up some great points and I think you are absolutely correct, there are great alternatives to web 2.0 tools for the ipad. I think the problem begins when you have half the class using ipads and the other part of the class using pc’s. It becomes a management nightmare! How are students going to turn in their projects that are created on an app…(an email from every student could become overwhelming)? Web 2.0 tools are great because they give you an embeded code that can be pasted into an LMS, which is very easy to view and grade. It seems that web 2.0 and ipad are really two completely different tools that each have there place in the classroom, but very difficult when trying to use them at the same time. I guess my question would be how can you manage 40-100 kids using pc’s and ipads? How would you manage or grade the projects that the students are creating?

    Thanks for your great insight!

    • Link the iPads to a Dropbox account and you can save them there in many apps. You can also use sendtodropbox to email the file to Dropbox but it appears in a folder not as an email.

      We have an app called Filebrowser that links the iPad to our school network. You can copy anything in the camera roll ( many apps create picture/movie based files that are saved there) to your network. Many apps can also open files in this app which then allows you to save to network.

      I’ve also been getting students recently to submit written work on Edmodo which I can access online.

  5. Hello world, Glogster.com have all Glogs in HTML5 view! Yes finally done, start your smartphones, tablets and smartTVs and check by yourself. Next-gen Glog is coming to Glogster EDU from september too 🙂

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