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iPad – 10 Things

May 18, 2010

I could hardly contain my excitement over getting my new iPad…. it seemed like forever for the end of April and my new toy to arrive.  Now that it’s here and I’ve had some time to play here are my initial thoughts from a classroom teacher’s perspective.

1.  Love the instant on. When we use the computers in the classroom, we lose precious time in signing out computers and waiting for them to boot up. Being able to turn it on and put it in sleep mode instantly is a great time saver.

2.  Hate that I can’t edit in google docs.  I use google docs frequently and I was very disappointed

that the editing capability was not available on the iPad’s Safari app.  The Office2 HD app does enables limited editing.  However,  I frequently use the comment feature on google docs to grade and edit student work. This remains missing.

3. Love the size. I can tote it in my purse or pack it in my bag – no worries at the airport or in the Barnes & Noble – its always with me at the ready… oh wait… the bookstore?  What?  Will I still be going to the bookstore?

4.  Like the reader – but where are the books? I suppose I’ll still be rummaging around the bookstore after all.  If all I read were bestsellers or classic literature, I’d be happy with ibooks, but I like some books off-the-beaten-path about say, Buddhism or gardening or education… and where are they?  Amazon doesn’t have them either.  I want ALL books to be available electronically.  Why is this so hard?  They must already be in electronic form somewhere so… what am I missing? – Oh, and I like the bookmarking and annotating but some things seem to take a few seconds to load (my CK12 books) and I want it to move to position instantly like opening a bookmarked page in a physical book.

5.  Like that the ‘flash issue’ is a non-issue – for me at least.  There are few things I’ve come across and actually needed that I was unable to view.  So far this is not an issue and I can’t see it being one for my students (well maybe for the physics animations… boo)

6. Love the beautiful resolution – Yeah, so I’m no tech wizard and maybe I’m not saying this right but… wow! the images look awesome! I love watching my missed Lost or Modern Family episodes on such a wonderful display.

7.  Dislike the way we buy apps –  I’m perpetually broke (especially when I spend my hard-earned cash on gadgets like these) so when I go to buy an app, I really would love to see what I’m getting before plunking down the money.  I would love to see a short video of the app in action before I buy… I’d also like to be able to sort apps in the iTunes store by their ratings.  Given the thousands of apps, maybe a better search function would help too.  Amazon does a great job in providing search, sort and review capabilities and I think Apple could take a lesson.

8.  Ambivalent about the camera – I know lots of people are disappointed that no camera is installed.  I don’t do much videoconferencing or use video on skype much so I’m perfectly fine without the webcam feature.  If I really want to connect video – the adapters will be fine for me.  At this point,  I do most of my video work on the iMac  and I can share my work onto the the iPad in any number of ways if I need it.

9.  Dislike that even with the VGA adapter I can’t mirror the screen. The VGA capability only works with some applications…it’s not like the adapter on a regular computer.  I’m not certain that this is a huge problem for me but when training students it sure would be nice to be able to at least emulate the app on the projector.

10.  Love the touch screen – it has an organic feel and is more fun than using a mouse. It will take some getting used to particularly with the typing as I definitely use the feel of the keyboard to tell me where my fingers are… can’t get that with the ipad… It’s also weird to go from ipad typing where words are finished for you (like contractions) then moving back to the keyboard where they’re not.

Working with the ipad has forced me to think about how I work and what I really want in a mobile computing device.  I’m getting used to flipping between apps, but the app environment is still awkward to me.  I used to say that I was a multitasker but, truth be told, I’m really just easily distracted.  Maybe I would be better off not having six programs open at once.  I rarely use more than one or two at a time.  However, I like the drag and drop of a desktop and miss that in the iPad.  I also want a fully functional  internet and ‘cloud computing’ capabilities.  I miss my toolbar addons like Diigo and Evernote.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having a mobile device that I can see clearly and use for access to information but I will need to do something with the information too.   iPad is a great start with tons of potential.  I look forward to seeing how others will be using these in their classrooms.

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