iOS Apps on Linux: Imitation, Flattery and The Apple Way

Imagine running Explain Everything on Linux, or 30 Hands. Wouldn’t that be neat? The exciting point is that iOS apps could be made to run on a variety of platforms, given enough free open source community brain power and money!

That’s the potential in the idea explored by Darling, a free open source type of emulator that may, in time, enable iOS apps to run on Linux:

Darling is a new open source project like Wine, which is capable of running Mac OS X apps on your Linux machine, opening up a whole new level of possibilities for the Linux users. Source: Karthikk

What will happen when you combine Ubuntu mobile with Darling on a mobile device?

At Cageless Thinking, Adam shares how he’s attended an education conference trying to figure out what’s the best device for his school. His question is one I’ve struggled with as well, especially when planning ahead.

Which device fits the needs of my school? 

Is this the question people ask though? Do they simply look at the Surface and think, great, it has Windows and a USB port, i knowhow to work that, it is what I want. Or do they look at the iPad and think, great, I’ve got an iPhone, Apple is cool, the kids will love this. 

It’s important to be as clear about your needs as possible before you go to an event like BETT because it’s so easy to be jollied along by a good salesman, or turned off by a bad one. Which mobile learning device to buy is probably one of the most important decisions anyone in your school is going to make in the next few years, with regards to teaching and learning. Not because the device itself will make students more or less clever, but because if you get it right, everything you do could change for the better. 

If you choose the right device, students will be more engaged, attendance improves, learning is recognizably more independent and more thorough. Choose wrong and things won’t get worse, they will simply stay the same.

In the last paragraph above, Adam pins a lot of hope on choosing the right device, that it will involve more students, engage them. And, while I do see iPads as the device to pick now–Android doesn’t even come close, although I have to resist the urge to get one and probably will when my 1st generation Nook dies–what happens when we all choose the right device?

Think about the interesting statistic Jennifer Spille (Apple sales) points out in a Google + post, As of today, every major mobile competitor… also makes apps for iOS:

…every single one of Apple’s major mobile competitors now makes apps for iOS.

Apple is approaching world domination, isn’t it? It’s become THE device to create for, THE device to use in schools. Does that bother you at all?

It obviously bothers folks like David Phillips who, in a twitter conversation I ran out of time to respond to some time ago, points out:

@mguhlin @unklar funny…the irony is that laptops req contortions u r familiar with. No learnibg is wthout wrinkles 😉 (pun intnded)Well . . . laptops come with keyboards, and you don’t have to install them or search for blue-tooth to make them work. With Windows 7 and later the laptop finds the projector when you plug it in, no dongle necessary. Printer installation on a laptop is pretty easy, even with a network printer–and you don’t have to buy an app. Google Drive works really well with laptops and submitting student work is really easy. Laptops have lots of hard drive for backing up files, and it’s at least as easy to use Dropbox or Sugar Sync on a laptop as on an iPad. 
And with reference to @mrhooker‘s comment on creativity, my yearbook staff would be surprised to hear that their creativity has been limited all this time on PCs.

I often reflect on my own technology practices and shudder a bit. I typically embrace new technologies, then reject them when they fail to live up to my ideals. The list is growing of technologies and solutions I’ve tried and rejected over time. While that may improve my brain’s effectiveness, it’s also taught me to be skeptical of technology as a solution. Unfortunately, it’s also taught me to embrace the more accepted technologies rather than go off into the bushes searching for something less known but better aligned to my needs. Schools need to go with what works; limited funding, state/federal mandates limit the level of experimentation that can be performed.

Dan McGuire’s quote of Matt Montagne’s comment is particularly relevant:

“Schools need an exit strategy for getting out of the computer business. Barbara Bareda wrote about this in a recent leadertalk post. Let kids bring in their own stuff and provide stipends for students/families who can’t afford a device. I’ll take it a few steps further. In the next 5 years, the relevance of the LAN and school owned networks will shrink as wide area broadband continues to proliferate, improve and become a commodity. Are schools prepared for this? Do they have an exit plan to get out of the computer and ISP business? December 20, 2009 6:39 PM

In the end, I hope we’ll have device agnostic tools that pack a punch like the ones currently on the iPad, pushing our thinking on what is creative and novel. We need to develop learning activities and house content in places that aren’t dependent on any one technology, and should encourage free open source projects like Darling that make device agnostic use of apps the way to go.


Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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