The iPad is not considered an educational tool?!

“Hi… I went to the apple store and asked for an educator’s discount on the iPad and they told me that they do not give a discount on iPads because they are not considered an educational tool.  After you picked me up off the floor and I went through my … are you kidding…… Is that unbelievable!  I didn’t buy it.” – close friend

That was an email I got from a close friend after they went to an Apple Store in the local mall and tried to get an iPad with an educational discount (available on most hardware).

I was baffled by the fact that this was the answer they were given.

I know things like the iPhone doesn’t have an educational discount, but a better answer to their question would have been, “Apple doesn’t discount the iPad for individual purchase.”

I would be fairly surprised if Apple didn’t have tight control over what their employees say in situations like this as they would want their messaging to be consistent.  Is this the message they want out there?

Let’s look at that statement one more time:

“…because they (iPads) are not considered an educational tool.”

Now on my blog I have 5 posts on the iPad in education (this being the sixth).  If you do a Google search for – iPad educational tool – you get 2,160,000 results.  People like Fraser Speirs (@fraserspeirs) have been using iPads in school since they’ve been available.  You can’t go to an educational conference with seeing a number of sessions devoted to the iPad.  Apple has an entire section of their web site devoted to “Learning with iPad” and a volume purchasing program set up to make apps more affordable.

How could this be Apple message?

There is a slight discount provided to school when you purchase 10-packs of iPads ($20 off each) but this isn’t about the cost to me it’s more about the messaging.

Maybe this what Apple wants…

It’s been clear that the iPad has been designed as an individual’s device. By saying that the iPad IS an educational tool would mean that Apple might have to support it like an educational tool.  Changes to the ways accounts and the device as a whole is managed would be expected by educators… and that’s just not going to happen.

There’s a saying that you “don’t shoot the messenger”, which may be true, but Apple needs to change the message coming out of their stores as it is contradicting a lot of the work that is going on in schools to prove the iPad IS considered an educational tool.

He’s to all of us working to prove them wrong!



About William Stites

Currently the Director of Technology for Montclair Kimberley Academy, "Blogger in Chief" for, husband and father to two crazy kids who make me smile everyday.
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  • The iPad isn’t an educational device. Look at the setup options, the way it’s marketed and sold, and the way that it is, more than any educational device, a single-user piece of hardware. Add to that the lack of any way to save files to remote shares in an easy way or even printing easily, and I think it’s pretty clear that we’re not Apple’s target market.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t amazing applications written for it that open up amazing possibilities, but the device itself is definitely a consumer device. Maybe in time, and maybe after the new announcement they’re making (if the rumors are true, it might impact educational publishing in a big way), but not now.

  • Alkisler

    If the iPad is not considered an education tool, why is Apple marketing it as such?!

    • That’s the rub… when my friend went t the store they were told one thing and when you try to administer them in a school you have to deal with another set of issues.  The iPad was designed for the individual and not with school issues and concerns in mind.

  • Gordonmahung

    Please correct your post.  You’ve used “and” many places where what you meant to write was “an”.

    • Thanks… usually my mistake is with you, your and you’re.

  • frustrated student

    I think it’s ridiculous that the iPad is not considered an educational device and yet my school is requiring anyone in the field of education to have one.