At colleges, tech isolation predates the iPad and has been growing at a steady clip. A college square used to be a social Mecca buzzing with activity and conversation. Today, students listen to iPods or have their noses buried in laptops, a kind of self-imposed solitary confinement not unlike cubicle work life.
Then there are the mind-boggling reasons for buying your kid an iPad. In the iYogi survey, 57 percent of parents with two children or more would be happy to use the iPad to keep their kids out of their hair. Who would have thought the iPad makes a good babysitter?
In the professional world, the iPad has gained a kind of heightened status. A salesperson whipping out his iPad looks a lot cooler than his competitor lugging around a two-inch thick binder. Perhaps prideful parents get iPads to improve their kid's social status.
To be fair, the App Store offers many great learning apps.
Almost all of the parents in the iYogi survey who were willing to buy their child an iPad approved of its use as a homework tool. The iPad has been heralded as nothing less than a miracle for helping autistic students and disabled adults like Kevin Berg communicate. Multimedia e-textbooks created on iBooks Author and running on the iPad may one day revolutionize teaching at high schools.
Let's not forget that children of all ages can learn from basic reading, too, and the iPad has been billed as a great reading device: "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Anderson ($7), a read-aloud picture book for children, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle ($10) for elementary students, and Shakespeare in Bits: "Macbeth" iPad Edition by the Bard ($15) app are all examples of classic books reimagined on the iPad.
There's just one problem: Of all the kids and young adults I've seen with iPads, including the boy on the train, not one was reading an e-book.
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