No, the iPad will not fix education. And, no, it is not the right device for all settings. But here are a few reasons why I think the iPad has already had a significant impact in schools.
1. I believe that the iPad is encouraging schools to fast track infrastructure projects involving wireless access and to increase bandwidth.
2. I have encountered more conversations about "going 1:1" and "bring your own device" in the past year than ever before.
3. The iPad can't truly be locked down. I think that this is pushing educators to look at "digital citizenship" more closely and to revise their AUP's from what you "can't" do to what you "should" do. It also encourages meaningful and authentic learning over "you need to learn this just because". If we can't answer the question, "Why do I need to learn this?" then our students will turn elsewhere. Honestly, why shouldn't they?
4. It's mobile. That's right folks. This thing can move to any part of the room, can leave the room, can "gasp!" even go outside. The 4 walls and a stage with tidy desks in a row is not working. Our learning spaces can and should be more dynamic. If the iPad helps, Fantastic!
For me, it's not about the apps, the swipes, or cool. It's about shifting our focus toward student centered learning. If the iPad is pushing our conversations and practice toward this goal then I'm excited.