Is the iPad Mini the Next Big Thing for Online Education?

ipad mini

Yes, the iPad mimi is smaller and easier to carry. Yes, the camera is nice. And yes, there are hundreds of thousands of apps available. But, is it what you need for distance learning? Will it change online education? Let’s look at some key factors for those who plan use it as their mobile classroom.


The iPad mini starts at $329 and goes up from there. If you have the coin and are a Mac lover, you should probably shell out the bucks. If not, look at the Nexus 7 and save over $100+ dollars. That money could be used on coffee when studying!

Operating System

iOS is great, but you lose a little control on your tablet. You are restricted to the apps available and working inside of those. However, your online university should offer education apps that give you everything you need, right? If not, plan on spending a few more dollars on apps to complete your online degree (or switching to a school that offer education and technology).

Battery Power

This factor is key for any electronic device and should always be considered. The iPad mini didn’t improve from previous iPads, but it’s also pretty strong from the beginning. Ten hours of active use, and it appears that it can beat that timeframe with simple apps for posting in discussions, attending class, and checking grades. Nice!

The Screen and Camera

These are actually throwbacks. The iPad mini resolution matches that of the iPad 2 (1024 x 768) and falls short of the new Retina display (2048 x 1536) on the iPad 4. The camera also doesn’t match up to what the iPhone 5 offers, but matches other iPads in quality. Would the average Joe notice? Probably not, but keep it in mind if you’re looking for details in your online course materials.

The Other Stuff

Let’s be honest, you likely won’t use this for your online education exclusively (it’s okay, we won’t tell). So, what do you like? Games? News? Email? Social Media? Recipes? Sports? Other? The apps are endless and will run quickly on the iPad mini. Plus, with its size, you can carry it basically anywhere.

So, Will it Change Online Education?

Probably not. Is it still really cool, portable, and fun? You bet. So the choice comes down to you. Does distance learning and budget come first? Or are you an early adopter of the cool new tech toys? I don’t drink coffee and I love Macs, so I’m spending the extra dough.


Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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