We’ve arrived at that annual time of the year when school budgets are determined for the next fiscal year. Perhaps you are planning to request iPod Touches or iPads for your school. Which should you purchase?
If you need a smaller device (such as for a portable tuner like Cleartune or for Guitar Toolkit), and video capability (in place of purchasing a Flip video camera), the iPod Touch is hard to beat. For parents who want to give their children an iPhone experience without the iPhone, an iPod Touch is hard to beat (Consider TextNow, a free app that allows text messaging over wi-fi). And of course, there are over 100,000 applications available in the AppStore. I suggest buying the 32 GB iPod Touch, which sells for $279 instead of the $229 8 GB model. In education, most of the time the iPad will be the better fit, unless you need the video option as a primary consideration (even if the iPad 2 gets video…more about that the next section). The iPod Touch is probably better for gaming, as it fits in your hands…but that isn’t a major consideration for education. If you are going to buy an iPod Touch now, it is a safe time to do so as new models are usually released in September. Do check the Apple Store for refurbished models, which come with the same warranty as new iPod Touches. Just make sure you are buying current generation devices (with video recording capability), and again, buy (at least) the 32 GB model.
If you need a larger screen area for any number of educational uses (books, music, writing, etc.), the iPad is a better option than the iPod Touch or many of the competitor tablets that are 7″. The iPad is better for typing, although the iPad external keyboard can be purchased (or any Bluetooth keyboard used). There are over 40,000 iPad optimized applications that look better on the larger screen, but all of the apps in the AppStore will run on the iPad. The iPad has an extremely long battery life, but it will not fit in your pocket nor does it easily fit in your hands for gaming. There are rumors of when the iPad 2 will be released, but it is clear that the new iPad will have cameras. However, if video will be your main reason for buying an iPad, consider the iPod Touch instead…it is less expensive and easier to hold for filming. iPads also come in 3G + wi-fi and wi-fi only versions, for education, wi-fi iPads are best, unless the device is being purchased for an administrator who needs to be connected to the Internet at all times. If you are purchasing for a school, I would suggest ordering 32 GB iPads with the caveat that you will buy the iPad 2 when it is released, or, if the iPad 2 doesn’t offer anything significant for you, you can also purchase refurbished iPads from the Apple Store with a significant discount (Requesting 32 GB units would allow for wiggle room if the price of the iPad 2 increases). For a teacher unit, a 32 GB unit would be a minimum unit, and for students, a 16 GB unit should suffice.
As an educator, it is hard to envision many situations where the iPad would not be the better option for the educational environment, unless the device is going to be primarily used for video or needs to be carried in a pocket.. For the personal purchase of students, the iPod Touch is probably the better option, for the gaming aspect alone.