iPad 4: How It Could Revolutionize the Education System, Along with the Mini

At first, the iPad just seemed like a fun new toy. Something that looked cool and had a high novelty factor.

Well, times have changed and as usual, Apple knew what we needed before we did.

iPads are now not just for the traveling business executive or the tech savvy blogger. They are becoming increasingly popular among teachers and administrators as effective learning tools in the classroom.

Recently, Apple unveiled a new, smaller and less expensive version of the iPad at an event in San Jose, California. With the tagline, “We’ve got a little more to show you,” Apple revealed the iPad mini which has a smaller screen (under 8 inches), a slimmer frame (23% slimmer than the last generation), and a cheaper price tag of “just” $329 for the 16 GB model, instead of the usual $499 and $829 for the current iPad.

For those of you who are still skeptical about iPads making their way into your child’s classroom, check out this list outlining the benefits of iPads in schools:

Cost: The new iPad mini costs just $329. That’s $171 cheaper than the original iPad and significantly cheaper than purchasing new laptops or desktops. The smaller the price tag, the more iPads schools can purchase to provide even more students with access to top of the line technology, learning tools, and textbooks.

Textbooks: Apple’s iBooks readers were specifically designed to bring textbooks to iPads in classrooms nationwide for around $15 a pop. (iBook's textbooks are available for 80% of the core curriculum and their publishing partners make 90% of the textbooks available in the U.S.) With its Author feature, teachers and educators can publish their own textbooks, incorporating interactive widgets and social sharing. The iBook Author's update lets publishers update their textbooks with new or revised information so students don’t have to go out and buy the newest editions each year.

Building relationships: Apple has an entire sales staff assigned specifically to work with schools, meeting regularly with administrators across the country. The company even pays for district officials to visit Apple’s California headquarters, to learn about new products and to establish the brand as a big supporter in education.

This is not only a clever branding strategy, but it’s a great way for schools to develop relationships with Apple, and possibly offer advice and consultations down the line for ways Apple can make advancements in education.

Touch screens: Students of this generation are becoming more and more accustomed to using touch screens to navigate phones and computers. And teachers and administrators alike have seen positive results from introducing touch screen technology in the classroom. Touch screens have been shown to be especially helpful for students with disabilities.

Coolness factor: Apple has established itself as the go-to brand for innovative, trendy technology. And if you throw in their sleek design and clever advertising campaigns, there is no denying that Apple is just freakin’ cool. So why not leverage Apple’s appeal in the classroom, and encourage students to get excited about learning?

This article originally appeared on Noodle.

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Carolyn Englar

Carolyn Englar is the Community Manager for Noodle Education. She graduated from Emory University with a BA in French and Journalism and recently received her Master's in Global Communications at the American University of Paris. In addition to running Noodle's Noodlings blog, which focuses on issues of education and technology, Carolyn is also a freelance writer for The Vivant, and writes for her own blog Ma Vie en Franglais. Feel free to chat with her on Twitter @cenglar.

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