It is time to recapture efficiency and affordability
It has been very interesting discussing our newly announced option to offer the iPad as an alternative to the MacBook that we have given out for our laptop program in recent years to incoming freshman. Overall most people think it is great to offer choice and understand that it may offer a healthy change for higher education. That change may just be that a microcomputer offering Microsoft Office is not necessarily the de-facto standard for a successful college experience. I’m kind of excited about the possibilities. We are making a change to our laptop program because of market conditions, but it may turn out to be a liberation of a far to long stranglehold that has suppressed creativity in the American Higher Education system.
A few faculty members have jumped to conclusions that they will have to change their curriculum since some students may not have Microsoft Office, specifically Word, on the iPad. Say What? At that point I ask a few more questions which clarify that all they really require is that students turn in certain assignments in the common format typically MS Word. I understand that concern, a common format allows a professor to be assured that they can properly grade all assignments. Many have no idea that producing that format is not dependent upon using MS Word. They are still skeptical that Google Docs could actually be an option but when they realize that iWork Pages could be they start to realize that choices for word processing might be a good thing for a student.
Students don’t know that they have options. They use MS Word because we tell them to, but most admit that they don’t care. They do admit that all they need is a program that captures what they type and that spell checking is a good thing. I am not trying to bash MS Word here, I am bashing the suppression of their creativity that has been perpetrated by a belief that a successful career is based on proficiency in using MS Office. Good grief, we educated generations with slate and chalk or paper and pencil. It is time to recapture efficiency and affordability. If later a student discovers that it is important to use a program with format commands embedded inside format commands that link to a suite of applications to produce some incredible masterpiece so be it. But for now let’s just get back to writing and arithmetic with affordable flexibility.
OH yes, this post was seamlessly pasted into Blogger with a direct copy from the iWork Pages program. Just think how important that really is in this emerging world of open Internet publishing.