Without a doubt the iPad has proven itself to be a great educational tool for teacher and student alike. I use the iPad as a teacher and I want my students using it as well. If the rumors are true the second generation iPad could make it an even greater educational player.

What do teachers and students need out of the second generation iPad? What do the rumors spell for classroom use? Wired Educator makes a few speculations:

Front Facing Camera: By now it is almost agreed upon by everyone that the next generation iPad will have a front facing camera. Many educators, including myself, saw this as huge omission from the first iPad. Why?  We want students to be able to capture video and photographs for projects. We want to be able to use FaceTime and Skype? Students can capture pictures for their science projects, capture text for translator apps, and other augmented reality applications. We need a better method for getting video and photographs into the iPad. From the reports coming from iPad case makers, a front-facing camera seems certain.  Good.

Rear Facing Camera: For all of the same reasons as the front facing camera and more, but I have not read much about a rear facing camera. Will it happen?

Price Drop & Educational Discount: Teachers and students need a price drop.  While the iPad is a great bargain for what you get, it is still out of reach in terms of price for mainstream integration. Students, teachers, students, and schools are facing the toughest of budget difficulties at the present. The iPad has been exempt from the educational discount.  I think that is going to change. Typically new Apple devices to not see an educator discount within the first year. Well, the first year is up. I say, educators will get a $50 discount.  Also, the device itself may see a  price drop by $50. We know that Apple has control of 60% of the needed supplies for this touchscreen wonder. They can afford to manipulate prices. The history of Apple products points to a decrease in price after each new generation release.  For instance, the iPod touch iPad Price history: 1st gen iPod touch 8gb – $399 2nd gen iPod touch 8gb – $329 3rd gen iPod touch 8gb – $268
4th gen iPod touch 8gb – $289. The fourth generation saw an increase, but Big new features prevented this. The biggest hurdle of the price drop is the almost guaranteed inclusion of cameras, which may make the 2nd generation iPad more expensive. Tough one. What do you think?

Sim Card: I really don’t see this happening. Some are reporting that their may be a slim card slot on the next iPad, but that just doesn’t seem to be a direction Apple would go. With the introduction of the 2010 MacBook Air we can see Apple’s intent is the cloud.

Thinner & Lighter: A thinner and lighter iPad is almost guaranteed. This is Apple’s specialty and goal. Both qualities are great for the demands of commuting teachers and students.

Textbooks: Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all of those heavy textbooks into our iBooks app? This could be closer than you think. In a recent article we described a deal Apple proposed to a middle school in Georgia in which they promised to include all of the needed texts on the iPad for a combined total price of $500 for both the device and all texts. Wow! Is Apple working with textbook publishers? Sounds likely.

More Educational Apps: Done. The Educational applications for the iPad is expanding at an astounding rate and there are some great ones out there. Programmers will be focusing on how to utilized those new cameras for education. Hang on.

Other Rumors all benefit education too: Unlikely, but there are rumors of an even more high resolution screen that resists smudges even more.  More likely are improvements to speed and a better speaker, both rumored and both likely. Some have suggested a flat back. No one knows, but something seems to be happening to the iPad2’s shape.

When will this happen? Apple has not released a date but March is looking probable.  I believe an iPad Back to School Program, like we have seen with the iPod Touch and iPods before it in the early Fall may even be a time where students and teachers might be able to get a $250 credit or free iPad with the purchase of the Mac. This year it was a free iPod Touch with a Mac purchase.

I know. I know.  This post had a lot of speculation in it, but it is always fun to dream.

Regardless of what happens, the iPad 2 will be great for education.

What do you think will happen?

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