Like all IT devices, the iPad and the Surface were never invented for educational purposes, it is up to us as educators to tame the technology to suite our purposes, but with the trend of replacing the laptops with tablets in education institutions we have to reconsider these devices and see if they have what it takes to be in our students’ hands.
Owning both devices and using them heavily in an attempt to build a view or an understanding of how they can be used in our schools, what learning potential do they offer and what can act as an obstacle in the learning journey, something clicked in my mind ! What about the mouse? Can we use a mouth for the iPad and the Surface, well this is what i found out….
for a fair comparison, its a BlueTooth mouse that has been examined as the iPad doesn’t have a built in USB (and if you buy the detachable one it will cost the students a fortune)
For the Surface adding a Bluetooth mouse was just a Windows 8 setting that you can access from settings, change PC settings, PC and devices, Bluetooth, switch the Bluetooth on and find your device, like a regular computer, as for the iPad it is a little bit different (well alot different )you will have to install an App like WeBe bluetooth mouse, or Bluetooth stack mouse, they are free applications, but there is one trick thing, if you need to also use a blue tooth keyboard you will have to install a 1$ App but still you can not use both bluetooth devices at the same time as they don’t work side by side.
So now that i have a bluetooth mouse for both devices, i found out that scrolling doesn’t work for the iPad as you have to Click and Drag like the finger motion, a bit confusing at the beginning, but what annoyed me most was the haziness of the mouse pointer and especially when the text is quite small, as for the Surface it was like a regular laptop experience, one more thing that i have noticed that for the iPad the mouse doesn’t always respond correctly to everything you click on which leads to repeating the task many times.
We all know that Steve Jobs never mentioned anything as the iPad will replace the Mac Air or other Apple Laptops, but when you introduce a device for education and you expect it to be the only pedagogical learning tool( like the U.A.E federal colleges initiative), as an educator or even decision maker you have first to examine, experience and evaluate this device so you will know what to expect and how to tailor my needs and my students need using this device in their learning journey.
One last thing to mention, our special needs students should not be excluded from any initiative or decision that we make, and their need should always be considered when choosing a learning device they will have to use, and for this I really appreciate a small but crucial feature in the Surface (Windows in general) which is the Microsoft Active Accessibility, it was introduced as a platform add-on to Microsoft Windows 95 in 1997. It provides a better access for individuals who have physical or cognitive difficulties, impairments, or disabilities.
When it comes to education many factors has to be considered, time has to be given for research, investigation and application, any decision will affect the life of students and teachers, the impact can last for ages…. but what can we say, this is how people learn !