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The top 10 ed-tech stories of 2010: No. 1

The iPad has had a huge impact on educational technology in just its first year of existence.

With a large touch screen that can display electronic texts in color, Apple’s iPad was greeted with huge enthusiasm by many ed-tech advocates when it debuted earlier this year. The device also inspired a host of competitors and sparked an eReader price war as it threatened to shake up the eBook market.

“I think this changes the picture for eBooks considerably,” said Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January. “This has a lot of potential for … education. [Apple] has really seemed to think through the book experience.”

Johnson’s remarks were prophetic, as the iPad has had a huge impact on educational technology in just its first year of existence. Seton Hill University was among the many schools to give iPads to incoming students this fall, and Abilene Christian University made its students newspaper available for iPads. The device has even changed medical school, where first-year med students at Stanford University are finding several ways to use the iPad to help them learn.

In K-12 education, some Long Beach schools are teaching algebra with the iPad, and Virginia has launched a pilot program that uses iPads to teach social studies. The tablet design, meanwhile, has inspired the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child organization to refocus on issuing a tablet-style device for learning that reportedly would sell for just $99 by 2012.

Not everything has gone smoothly, as technology officials at a handful of universities warned that the iPad might not be compatible with school networks or could overwhelm campus bandwidth capabilities. Others expressed concerns about the iPad’s inability to print—a deficiency that Apple resolved in November with a new operating system for the device.

“Printing is a critical operation, as is editing,” said Jim Hirsch, associate superintendent for technology at the Plano Independent School District in Texas. “The printing is still weak, with only support for a single HP printer included, and Apple still is not providing [the ability] to allow full editing of web-based applications.”

Still, Hirsch said, the new software “is a definite move in the right direction for printing and holds good promise for the future of the iPad [and] iPhone” in schools.

Related links:

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Developers seek to link iPad with education

After ballyhooed debut, some schools see problems with iPad

One Laptop Per Child’s next move: $100 tablet

New assistive technology research focuses on iPad, communication skills

Are standalone eBook readers doomed?

Feds: Make eReaders accessible to all students

iPad pilots launching in higher ed this fall

Sony cuts eReader price to stay competitive

All-digital newsstand coming to college stores

Barnes & Noble launches eBook software for students

India unveils prototype of $35 tablet computer

In price war, new Kindle sells for $139

Do kids learn as well on iPads, eBooks?

Replacing a pile of textbooks with an iPad

How schools are putting the iPad to work

Supporters of eBooks say they make readers less isolated, more social

Early iPad adopter to use art application this fall

Samsung takes on Apple with iPad rival

iPad competitors lining up

Long Beach schools teaching algebra with iPads

How the iPad is changing med school

eTextbooks expected to grow with iPad on campus

Google tablets may pass iPad with more accessibility

Google promises Docs editing for iPad

RIM readies its answer to iPad

Kno announces single-screen tablet textbook

Survey: Children like eBooks, parents not so much

Virginia using iPads to teach social studies

Enhanced eBooks could entice a new generation of readers

Discovery Education launches iPad platform

University of Minnesota to provide free iPads for research

Blurring the line between apps and books

Multitasking, wireless printing come to iPad

Nearly 1 in 3 kids want an iPad for the holidays

Google’s new eBook store: One store, any device

How online reading habits have changed over 2010

Microsoft to announce new slates aimed at the iPad

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