Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Getting to Know the iPad

I have been a fan of my netbooks since I got one a year ago. This summer I am learning to use the iPad. Which one is better?

Yesterday, on my photo blog, I posted a photo of my Acer Netbook and the iPad, with excerpts of this post. I immediately received responses on Twitter, so I decided it’s time to finish pulling this piece together and get on with it. 

My school purchased a ten pack of iPads to be used in the classroom, and we received them just days before school was dismissed for summer vacation.  I checked one out for the summer, and I have been trying to work with it as much as possible.  A friend told me that I would fall in love with it the moment I touched it, and I want to love it, but I just don’t yet. Frustration has prevented that from happening. 

I love the ease of carrying it with me. It is thinner and even more lightweight than my little Acer netbooks, so it can easily slip into my bag.  At this point in time, however, I still find my netbooks much easier to negotiate. The familiar is always easier, so I have forced myself to use the iPad, and through use, things are definitely getting easier.  I still have some serious concerns, however, about its adaptability to the academic tasks I need it to do

For classroom projects, I often place shortcuts on the desktop to make things easier for the kids and myself. You can put shortcuts on the desktop with the iPad, and it appears that we could use it to write on our blogs at Kidblog.org.  Some of the websites we like to use, however, like Storybird, require flash and do not work on the iPad. The Animotos on our class wiki do not show up or work, and neither do some videos, however I have discovered that if you use the app for Animoto, you can view an Animoto.

I am struggling with logistics of making the iPads work with our other available equipment. How do you print from iPad if you don’t have a wireless printer?  We have Pages installed on them, which is a word processing app, and I wrote most of this blogpost using the iPad.  While this app does not have the number of options that more sophisticated word processing programs offer, my students would be unlikely to utilize those anyway.  I was able to e-mail the document to myself in a word format, and then open and save it to one of my other computers, where I can print it.  This isn’t, however,  an easy or practical way to handle documents written by 29 students.  I’m also concerned that It does seem kind of sensitive, and I found myself ending up places that I hadn’t intended.  I am worried about students losing the work that they have spent time writing.

I thought that maybe using Google Docs would be a better idea, but I discovered that while you can open and view a Google doc, you cannot edit it or create a new one.  

If I put a Word document in dropbox, will I be able to work on it on the iPad?  I am excited that I can download an app for dropbox.com on it. That would enable me to make photos and other documents available for kids to use.   But first I have to convince my school district to unblock dropbox.

I do think additional apps will add to the usability. Since it does not belong to me, I have to have permission to add apps and download books onto it.  I am trying to select apps that support our academic goals.  I am planning to add the following:

  1. Multiplication by Sierra Skyware, Inc
  2. Math Master by Tapware
  3. Math Quizzer
  4. School Notes Pro
  5. Textropolis
  6. Spell & Listen
  7. Popmath Basic Math by popsoft
  8. Monster Mix and Match, by Critical Matter
  9. Things for Ipad

 

You can read more about these apps by reading: 

FREE iPad Apps for Educators and Parents

40 Amazing Ipad Apps for Kids

20 Amazing Ipad Apps for Educators

And thank you very much to Joe Fahs,( @Mpondo on Twitter) and other members of my PLN who shared these with me.

I do enjoy reading my Google Reader on the iPad, and if I had any good books downloaded to it, I’m sure I would enjoy that.  One thing I can tell you.  Even though I may have mixed feelings about the iPad, the kids will love it.  Twice now I have had people approach me at Caribou Coffee, my favorite hangout, and ask about my iPad.  I put it in the hands of a fifth grade girl who came over with her mom, and she absolutely lit up.

I’m writing at Caribou Coffee right now.  When I was deciding which computer to bring with me, I settled on my Acer Netbook.  I knew it would be easier to write, edit, and add photos and links.  So I’m still not in love with the iPad.  I’m having fun with it, and it’s okay as a supplemental computer, but it certainly isn’t the most versatile one that I own.

In the photo above, the design you see on the iPad was made using the Glow Doodle app.  This is one that I know the kids will like.

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June 30, 2010 - Posted by | Education, Uncategorized | , , ,

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