iPad Pro vs MacBook Air M1

HOT TAKE ALERT!!!!!! The iPad Pro is not a good deal and schools should stay away from it!

I guess that’s not really a hot take but more of an obvious opinion. Let me explain where this is coming from.

My school assigns MacBooks to our staff. We like the build quality, the ease to use and manage MacOS and the fact that it has good battery life and updates don’t seem to break the OS (side glancing at you Microsoft). In short, they are good value for the money and when there are issues, Apple is quick to help us resolve them.

Three years ago, Apple started marketing their iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. You can check out their ad below.

The ad is a little cringey but the message was clear. Tablets are the future and the iPad Pro is the tablet of choice to take you there. It is more like a laptop than ever before! They touted that it is more powerful than most laptops out there, has way better battery life, a great screen and it’s super portable. None of these claims are untrue but it runs iPad OS. Which means it only runs apps that have been built specifically for that operating system. But then . . .

Enter M1

Last November, Apple unveiled its own silicon called the M1. This put the entire system of the computer into one chip and allowed Apple to fully optimize it for Mac OS. This means, great performance, great battery life and since it is their own architecture it had one more trick up its sleeve. It could run most iPad OS apps. That means if you have an app on your iPhone or iPad you could run that app on your new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Whoa.

Many people started talking if their laptop can do almost everything an iPad Pro can do, why would (or should) you shell out the money for a tablet when laptops are far more productive and users can be just as creative with it?

Apple’s Spring Event

On April 20th, 2021 Apple held their annual spring event and unveiled many things. One of them was a new iPad Pro. They spent a lot of time on it and I think they really tried to answer the question I just posed.

Here is the thing, outside of better cameras and a better screen it wasn’t a huge update. Then the price was announced. Rather than explain it with words, let’s let Apple show us. Let’s buy an iPad with the same specs as a MacBook Air and compare.

To be fair, I picked the 13″ iPad Pro (which is more expensive than the 11″ version) so the user will have similar screen size. Even without a keyboard, Apple Pencil or mouse/trackpad it still manages to be $200 more money with the same processor, same amount of RAM! WHY?!

Just to be fair here is the cost of the 11″ is cheaper than the MacBook Air, but again, no keyboard, no Apple Pencil, mouse or trackpad and it’s only $100 less. You can check out it’s price below.

I am sure it is great, but you can’t run full Photoshop (the iPad has its own special app), you can’t edit video with Final Cut (again, a special app) and only a single port to charge or plug connect it to an external hard drive. If you want more ports, you need a dongle or a hub.

You have a laptop, and a tablet and they both have the same processing power. The laptop has a keyboard, has a trackpad can run most of the apps that the other can and a huge selection of apps that the other cannot run, and is nearly the same price and in many cases cheaper – why would a school consider an iPad Pro at all?

The iPad Air starts at $600 and is almost as powerful. The base level iPad starts at $320 and while not as powerful still very capable and it runs all (I’m pretty sure) the same apps as its more expensive Air and Pro variant.

Summing it up

Spend your money wisely. If you buy iPad Pros for your school they’ll work wonderfully, but then again so would the base model iPads. If you’re thinking of getting them for your teachers, don’t. Just buy the MacBook Air’s. They have great performance and battery life.

There are a lot of rumors that touch will be coming to MacBooks or that iPad OS and Mac OS will merge into one super OS to rule the world. These are just rumors and we will see what Apple has planned, but right now – the iPad Pro is just no match for the MacBook Air in a daily educational setting.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below! We are happy to hear other people’s hot takes! 🙂

Forky – A review

Yes it is 🙂

I like mind mapping tools. I use it every now and again to brainstorm solutions to complex issues. It helps get a good view of everything I need to consider and to prioritize which areas to focus on and how.

Forky.io is another in a long line of online options out there for mind mapping. The idea behind this is that it is a simple and collaborative tool that keeps the mind map front and center. No clunky windows, not a lot of unnecessary menus – just your mind map.

Continue reading “Forky – A review”

Episode 184 – HIFLEX

This is a different type of episode.

Today, Patrick interviews Tony DePrato about his HIFLEX set up in the classroom. HIFLEX is a term that refers to students who are in the classroom and also at home and both are learning synchronously. Tony utilizes iPads and a few other items and tools to bring this affordable solution to life.

As always be sure to find us on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting app.

Episode 183 – Damn Fine Cans

Tony and Patrick are back! It has been long overdue too. It’s a longer than normal episode but there is a lot to talk about! As always, subscribe to us on Apple Music or your favorite podcasting app.

1) Back at school in a COVID world
a) Tony’s motto: “You have to think of every student as a virtual student that occasionally comes to school and if you do that your planning will fit every scenario.”
b) GoGuardian: https://www.goguardian.com
c) Cisco Umbrella: https://security.umbrella.com

2) Why your online streaming is bad and mine is good
a) iPad solution
b) Euro Mic Stand with Klip
c) Disable iPad audio
d) DJ Podiums
e) iPad is a “person” in the meeting

3) Virtual Parent Conferences
a) Zoom
Waiting rooms
b) Prep with teachers and parents
c) Google Meet deadline – Sept
ember 20, 2020

4) Streaming in the Classroom – Final verdict!
a) Windows schools – Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
b) Mac schools – Apple TV
c) BYOD schools – BenQ Instashow/Barco WePresent

You can download the episode HERE!

Sneaky, sneaky kids and electronic tests

This week, is a good week. I learned a whole lot about something this week and I thought I’d share it with you my good reader.

So let me layout the scenario for you. It is the end of an grading period at my school and like many other school this is a time for tests and projects. One class giving quite a few tests is our Spanish class. The teacher there uses on an online assessment tool, Edulastic for this tests and the students use Chromebooks. Since it is a language test and it is offered online, there are some ways that kids can, shall we say, get some online assistance (AKA cheating).

We, the tech department, thought we had this locked down. With Edulastic we can make a “Scene” that only allows the Edulastic website to open and that is it. No new tabs or searches allowed. We also blocked Google Translate from the Google translate control panel so that site or the extension could not be used and we patted ourself on our backs.

So students took the test and when we looked at GoGuardian to make sure they weren’t able to open any webs we noticed something odd. Something didn’t make sense. Check out the image below of a timeline of two different students.

Problem #1

We are stupid, or at least I am. There are plenty of translation extensions that students can download and install.

Guess what, extensions don’t need a website, so they are invisible to GoGuardian, so at the beginning of the week we thought there were students who were installing the extension before the test and then uninstalling it afterwards.

So, we disabled students’ ability to install apps/extensions from Google control panel. Pretty easy and we set up a Google form for students to request apps/extensions to be allowed that we could vet.

OK – now we can really pat ourselves on the back . . . right?

Problem #2

Did I mention that I was stupid? During a test that we were monitoring on GoGuardian we saw this.

So the student on the bottom is what it should look like during a test. A solid green line showing a student consistently on the Edulastic test. The student above was odd. Why was it so fragmented? Those gray slivers are open and empty tabs. What was happening?

So we looked a little deeper and saw this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How could this be? I mean we plugged all the holes . . .didn’t we? Right?

The teacher spoke to this student and he was pretty forth coming. He said that if you type a question the Google Omnibar, it will give an answer without performing a search!

Of course he is absolutely correct.

What you are seeing here is what Google calls instant search and there is a way for us to turn that off in the Google. There was also a translate feature in Google that we turned off as well. I guess this is what offers a translation for sites in foreign language.

Now do I pat myself on the back? No because I am sure the students will find another way. Just like the Dutch Boy and the leaky dike. I am just plugging holes as students find new and inventive ways to . . . “gain assistance.”

What have I become

I always thought that being working in technology – I’d be the cool guy on campus. I’d be the person people would go to with problems and want to talk tech with. I am that person, but I have also become something else.

I’ve become . . . The Man.

I’m OK with that.

 

Cubit Robotics: Probably Better Than What You Are Doing

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By Tony DePrato | Follow Me on LinkedIn

I have been working with robotics since 2005. I have worked with students from US Grade 4 to students competing in university competitions.

As of late, I have been shocked by this trend: remote control.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=2082
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=2082

Remote control is not the future. The future is autonomous and AI-driven. So why are schools teaching robotics via remote control at all levels with very little autonomous programming?

The software that was once easy to access, often free, and allowed for fairly deep programming has reverted to big graphical blocks.

This is why I am very excited about Cubit Robotics/Electronics for STEM.

I asked Cubit for a sample kit, and they sent it along. My robot frame and build were simple because I wanted to focus on programming.

cubit-rover

The Cubit was loaded with sensor options, and the programming interface was Bluetooth.

For the record, I was using a Macbook, and I was very happy to get back into a programming environment that empowered real coding on an Apple. As of late, most of the robotics packages I have used on an Apple have removed the text-based coding options.

The flexibility was nice, and the educational scaffolding was clear.

You can start with the colorful blocks, and easily get things working.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 7.44.43 AM

Then, you can get into the code, and make things work the way you want.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 7.45.03 AM

Cubit uses Lua language. I found it to be an excellent primer for going in a variety of programming directions. I have always found that using robotics and electronics as a prerequisite for IB or AP computer science is a better primer than simply having an introductory course based solely in a language. Let’s be honest, robots are fun, and they can really help build the programming competency base.

If you are new to robotics and have no idea where to get started, Cubit is an excellent solution. Cubit provides a built-in curriculum with projects ranging from elementary to high school. The programming environment guides users through the initial steps.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 8.10.41 AM

Robotic’s education needs to move away from the obsession with remote control. I believe this obsession emerged from the ubiquity of mobile devices, and the realization that automation is usually a low scoring and frustrating endeavor. When students can use a remote control, they can get more points and do more in less time.

The process, stress, and failure should be the goal when using robotics for K-12 education. If a student can understand the complexities of automation before they leave high school, then they are better prepared for the AI-driven future and their place within it.

It is small, affordable, and easy to build, but Cubit is a step towards authentic learning and forward-thinking.

AI Research

  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/artificial-intelligence-ai-market
  2. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/artificial-intelligence-predictions-2019.html
  3. https://apnews.com/Business%20Wire/df8bdcfa4de84f6aa301d3683c2e1b55
  4. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/br/Documents/technology/DI_TechTrends2019.pdf