A bit of a rambling post for a snow day:
I realized the other day that I almost never carry my laptop to school anymore. It's not particularly outdated, but I usually just leave it plugged in at home. I now treat my laptop the way I used to treat my desktop and I use my iPad the way I used to rely on my laptop. This is kind of funny as I'm often told people don't use iPads to get work done in the real world. I do it all the time, but then maybe being a high school teacher doesn't qualify me as working in the real world.
I've been teaching for 14 years now and until recently I carried a laptop to and from school everyday. This has become unnecessary for me with the advent of cloud services like DropBox and iCloud. If I need something more than my iPad at work I sit at a desktop computer in my classroom. But for the most part I get my work done on my iPad.
I think the lack of iPad use for "Real Work" is less about capability than about comfort. Most people in the workforce today grew up with the traditional keyboard-mouse paradigm. I wonder if we'll see a shift in the next decade as tablet use continues to rise. For me I've gotten so used to working with my iPad that when I sit at a computer I have to be really careful when I type lest I fail to use apostrophes or forget to capitalize the first word in a sentence or personal pronouns.
I would say more than 90% of my current computing needs are met by my iPad and it's hard to justify luging around a laptop for that remaining 10%. A couple years ago I decided I'd never buy a new desktop computer. Now I'm not so sure. When my current MacBook dies I will be very tempted to replace it with a desktop computer with more power and a bigger screen than a comparably priced laptop and rely on a tablet (probably an iPad) for my mobile computing needs.
What does this mean for education? I don't really know. But I get really tired of people telling me we need to teach our kids for the world as it looks today. I simply don't care if most of the world currently uses Microsoft Word. Before the June 2007 most people only carried flip phones and the only smartphones business executives carried were made by Balckberry. Less than seven years later it's almost impossible to buy a phone that isn't a smartphone and almost none of them are Blackberries. We need to focus more on teaching students to be adaptable rather than teach them skills and hope the world doesn't change.
Image Credits: ipad.02.png from Mourgefile.com