Do teachers need a truck, or will a car do?

Steve Jobs said the following in an interview back in 2010:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy… because the PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it changes. Vested interests are going to change. And, I think we’ve embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years? … We like to talk about the post-PC era, but when it really starts to happen, it’s uncomfortable.”

The traditional desktop/laptop PC (whether that’s a PC or Mac) is likened to truck, whereas mobile devices (iPads/tablet or even just smartphones) are the car. The argument is that, eventually, the ‘car’ will be enough for most people, with the ‘truck’ reserved for more specialist use.

In my school, every teacher has an iPad but also access to a Mac too. Teachers carry their iPads with them everywhere, using them to teach with (mirrored Explain Everything), check email/Slack, take and view photos, access web-based resources including our registers and data on Pupil Asset, as well as increasingly creating all manner of documents using iWork as well as other iPad educational apps such as Showbie/Seesaw/Tapestry. The question is, to what extent do they really need a Mac?

Admittedly, the embedded Mac workflow is to do planning on (horrific) Word documents overflowing with multi-cell tables that are then saved to the SMB shared drive. Plus, quite a few educational resources are doggedly stuck in the technological dark ages because they still require Flash (looking at you Mathletics!). Plus, people feel familiar and comfortable on a desktop, most not knowing or utilising the increasingly powerful productivity features of iPad.

But with Brexit 20% price hikes on Macs, and newest iPads nearly overtaking older Macs in terms of speed, have we reached that ‘Post-PC’ moment? Do teachers need a ‘truck’ to teach with, or can they be persuaded that a ‘car’ will more than do?

I have been #ipadonly since the beginning of this year, and kids at school since September, so it is certainly possible. With some training, some faster iPads, a switch to Google Drive, a few Smart Keyboards and some judicially placed Office365 licences, some teachers could be pusuaded to join me?

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