A small survey of 25 education technology directors conducted by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggests the iPad may become a staple of the classroom in the next three years. Apple will be pleased as it's the iPad and not Android tablets that are attracting the most attention. All the technology directors surveyed are testing or deploying iPads in their schools, but none of them are doing the same with Android.
Those that are using computers in the classroom have one computer for every ten students, but that ratio is expected to improve now that tablets are mainstream. According to those surveyed, 36% of these directors expect to have one tablet for every student and 44% expect to achieve this goal within three to five years. Overall, the ratio of students to tablets is expected to be 6:1 which is better than the 10:1 student to computer ratio school systems have today.
Tablets may be useful for schools, but there are significant administrative hurdles that must be overcome before they see widespread usage. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of the directors believe a tablet is important as an information gathering tool, but 64% see device management as a significant hurdle to deploying these tablets in a school setting. Also a factor is cost, which is a smaller (20%), but still a significant hurdle schools need to overcome.
Despite these challenges, some schools are embracing the iPad as a valuable teaching tool. In a controversial program, kindergartners in Auburn, Maine are using the iPad in the classroom for learning their basic phonic and math skills. Similarly, the Webb School in Knoxville, Tennessee is requiring all incoming fourth to 12th grade students to have an iPad.