I've been having interesting discussions with teachers and students from different schools in the district. Some people think the iPads (tablets in general, really) are perfect, others find them too limiting for what they need.
One thing that seems to get a lot of interest is the idea that people wouldn't carry devices around at all. Devices would be everywhere - built in to desks, tables, walls, etc. What would follow them around would be their profile. When they need to do a task the requires a keyboard or a digital stylus or a larger screen, they just go to that device and start working.
With everything in the cloud - from the data to the actual programs we use - it can change the idea that we need to lug around a physical object to access our data. The thought is that we could walk up to any device and be presented with all of our programs and files. The internet is already everywhere, all the time.
Yes, I know this kind of solution could blow the doors off of our budget and probably something that is realistically a few years down the road from actually being feasible. It's a very "Star Trek" idea, but now that we're seeing flexible displays it's hard not to imagine how easy it would be to put devices on any surface we want (http://www.cnet.com/news/what-you-should-know-about-flexible-displays-faq/
Despite the cutting edge nature and probable expense, there are even now situations where currently available fixed devices might be a benefit.
I talked to an art teacher at one of the elementary schools and she finds the iPads distracting and inhibits her instruction. When I brought up the idea of permanent devices in the classroom, she immediately latched on to the idea. Students could have their profile following them, but in the classroom the teacher could overlay something specific to their instruction that is managed by the teacher.
With roaming profiles and permanent devices, students could have their personalized information but teachers can temporarily or permanently merge instruction specific to what they're doing. When the students go home, they will still have access to their Eanes profile on their personal device.
Extrapolating even further, the software and data can be platform independent (maybe with virtual machines?) so that depending on what a person is trying to do, they can simply sit down at the device that works best for them at that moment.
Here are some links to devices that could be the forerunners of future solutions that can make this a reality.http://ideum.com/touch-tables/platform/http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/pixelsense/default.aspxhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_computer
As I said, this is probably more future thinking than something we can do for next year. I gotta say though, I like the idea of accessing my data anywhere at any time without need to carry around something to do it.
I think perhaps something more within our grasp is using a geofencing-style solution that can immediately configure existing devices when they enter a specific area. I'll save that for another discussion topic though.