In this week’s English Breakfast, I am going to focus on something more technical. I will be discussing if any device running iOS is suitable for the pedagogical setting. Lately, Android is offering much cheaper alternatives and the price is always a valid point when it comes to education. Also, offering an open platform might be the key argument going forward. Today, I am going to reflect on iOS and why I think that it is the better choice. To be fair, I am going to write the same kind of article about Android.
Not being open a good thing?
There is a reason, I put a question mark behind that phrase. Some would argue that a system has got to be open when it comes to using it in educational settings. By that logic, any Windows computer needs to be banned from class and people should be switching to Linux. So, I am going to refute that argument. Instead, let’s focus on something even more important - security. The oil of the 21st century, for sure, is going to be data, personal data to be exact. And it is Google’s business to make money out of data.
Also, when talking about security, it should be mentioned, that Android devices still are the easiest ones to hack. Of course, that depends on the device being used because, as I mentioned, Android is an open source platform. Therefore, some devices are fine-tuned by the manufacturer in terms of security. Speaking as a father, I would like my child to use a secure device which cannot be hacked easily. I know, some argue that iOS is not fully secure either, but more secure.
A closed ecosystem and its advantages
Apple is famous for providing an end-to-end solution, which means that the hardware is very well integrated within the software. But that applies to applications as well. It sure is nice to know that whenever I download an app from the AppStore, the quality is up there. The application does not crash and the personal data is treated transparently, so I am in control of it at any time. In class, that is very important as any delay due to technical problems costs valid time. Time that could have been spent productively.
Choosing a device
Lastly, one positive thing about iOS-devices is that anything can be used across the devices as the software and the apps run perfectly in sync. The same application can be opened on an iPhone, an iPad or an iPod. It even works on a Mac most of the time. Comparing it to Android, there are far more versions available, depending on the device. So, educational apps are not guaranteed to run the same way on every device.
Choice depending on the budget
The biggest reason not to use an Apple device is the budget required. In education, I strongly believe that all means need to be free of charge or should be very affordable. Like everything in life, quality costs money. And Apple is a public company that is profit-orientated. The biggest difference to Google, which is also profit-orientated, is that Apple’s business is not based on selling data. In my humble opinion, Apple should be the lesser of the two evils, but then again, there is the money question ...