Through some careful work combined with serendipitous luck, I have managed to get a 32GB iPad ahead of the UK launch. I understand from a friend that in New York, stocks were limited per store, and that the staff were also insisting on US passports to purchase them, such is the demand/control of launch by Apple.
These are my first thoughts, and based on me using it, rather than any pupils, which links neatly to my first point:
It needs a case
It is lovely to hold, look at and touch. It’s not too weighty, and is incredibly responsive, more so than my iPod Touch. It does howver feel quite vulnerable, and so I have ordered a silicon case to protect it for the moment.
It does look like an oversized iphone
In fact, that is exactly how some of the children at school described it.
The UK iPad store is lacking
It is turned off at the moment, ahead of the launch. The apps you cannot get are iBooks, Pages and Keynote (among others). iPhone apps do look pretty, well, rubbish on it, if I’m honest. I use the Guardian App a lot on the Touch, but on the iPad it looks very Kindergarten and blocky.
The iPad apps that are available are very, very good, and almost all make great use of the size to play with. I have bought or downloaded: Dropbox (genius and really handy to have preview facility), Evernote (not figured it out yet), Paperdesk (a note-taking app that also has VGA output for interactive slideshowness) and GoodReader, a document viewer that has a lot of crossover functionality with Dropbox (which is free).
How would I use it when teaching
Right now, I can see immediate potential in using it as an interactive slate in group or carpet work, in the way that you might use a laptop on your lap if it wasn’t so, well, cumbersome. It can be held up, moved forward or covered up, and I think that PaperDesk alone would produce great work with it here.
How I would use it as a teacher
There are several Apps that are teacher-directed, in terms of marking schemes etc, but the ability to have a proper notepad, diary and access to my files in one device means that I am one step closer to being paper-free. If I store my plans in Dropbox, I can access them anywhere, as well as being able to see them on the iPad. Added to that, Google Docs works just fine, so I can keep up with other work quite easily. In short, it won’t transform my life as a teacher, but it will cut down on clutter, paper and things to carry.
How the children will use it
I can’t wait to see how the children will use it, and am fascinated to see what ideas they will come up with, but one of the first would be an activity with a strong strain on collaboration – all suggestions gratefully received!
Why I got it
This is a tricky one, as you can always somehow justify a want as a need, given enough time or pressure from your wife! I got it because I could see the potential in making my life easier – I aim to be more even more productive and organised, and can see that this will help me to do that. The access to my files anywhere, not just on any computer now, will make even more of a difference. As I said to a friend, it does 90% of what I would use a laptop for, yet seems to be more ‘handy’ to use. He wasn’t convinced!
- It is hard to type flat
- Watching a filmclip on screen is tricky – weight wise and reflection wise
- The speaker isn’t the best, and I worry that I will blow them if I’m not careful
As I said at the start, it is VERY early days, but I am already starting to cut down on the number of pieces of paper my diary seems filled with, and definitely feel that this is bridging the gap between a paper life and a computer life.
I am keen to share my experiences, and hear your thoughts. Please do let me know!