Jason’s Experience (as of 5 May)
Hello All. I am writing all of this on the iPad just today issued to me by Don Staub. I have been honored by being the first instructor selected for the purposes of trying to figure out how to apply this amazing technology to the purposes of instruction. Please bear with me as I fumble through this process.
To a certain degree I am witting some of this after the fact, meaning I have gone through several plateaus of learning before having the wherewithal to even make this post to this the Title III blog. Right now I am typing all of this on the iPad. I just tried copying and pasting these contents to the blog from the iPad but ran into a snag – still working on that. (I plan to email this to myself and then copy and paste it into the blog via my lap top… I know I’m cheating a bit but pragmatism and impatience runs through my veins. As I learn other methods I will apply them.)
First off: The calendar is great. If I were to use my Mobile Me account I would have a full featured Calendar everywhere I go. Aside from that however, the basic apps are essentially useless in terms of teaching. One MUST have a word processor if this this is to be worthwhile, I can’t believe it doesn’t come with one…
After a quick search on the App store I found Pages.
First try with the Pages App for the iPad
(I bought this from iTunes for $10.00 ). Just go to the iTunes App store an look for it. It has great reviews, as to me buying it, no worries, if this iPad needs to be wiped, which it may, I have the program on my own computer so if/when I get an iPad of my own I can upload the app to that future iPad.
Any way, as to the program itself, these are my thoughts so far:
WHOOPS! I just realized a pretty major issue. A lack of multiple computer syncing. ( I own an iPod touch, I should have known this would be the case.) However, when I first got the device I asked if it had already synced with another computer. I thought the answer was yes, at least it had been registered by someone else. Either way, we cautiously tried syncing a single App from my lap top. It seemed to work fine. However, using my home computer I just bought the Pages App and tried syncing it with the iPad and I couldn’t do it… No worries, I’ll hook it back up to the lap top, download the App again there and go forward.
Pages looks great. It seems to work like a full featured desk top app. As to the functionality of the iPad and Pages, there are a few things to get used to, the unconscious straying of fingers while you type can derail your sentence structure; let a finger slip and all of a sudden you are typing on the wrong line, frustrating… There are a lot of little things to get used to, but so far it seems worth it.
Hmm… The interface is a little disappointing – I can’t add images on the fly from the web, I have to first import them in my iPhoto Library and then sync them to the iPad. So, if I’m still tied to another computer, what is the point of having it?
Adding images took awhile to manage. The process is simple enough but the interface has a slight learning curve, just a matter of finding where the options are located. Moving the image around on the page with your fingers and having the pic immediate wrap to the text is a great feature!
Okay, I have my test document, now how do I get this file to another device?
Okay, Apple of course provides detailed explanations for how to export your files to the lap top using iTunes. That’s the easy part. What happens next is the FUN part…
I first tried exporting as a Pages document. I didn’t have the most current version of Pages so I couldn’t open it with that. I then tried opening it in Word, that didn’t work either. (I have Word ’04, maybe that’s the problem) Next I exported the document as a Word doc. That seemed to work, I could open it in Word but the image was grayed out and I couldn’t move it. Maybe my Word skills simply aren’t up to the task but as far as I can tell the image is non editable. Hmm, so it looks like I’ll have to download the free trial version of Pages ’09 just to be able to continue the experiments. I’ll keep you posted.
Jason’s experience continued…(posted May 7)
I just passed the iPad along back to Don :( It was an interesting experience. Here are my final thoughts…
It isn’t “Apple” enough. What I mean is that there aren’t as many bells and whistles as I had expected. It is a beautiful product but where is the camera? Why can’t I use it as my primary phone without having to go with AT&T? Why doesn’t it operate with the full Mac OS? The possibilities are endless for an Apple touch screen tablet, this is just a large iPod touch. And I know that Steve Jobbs has issues with Adobe, specifically their proprietary product Flash, but it would have been nice to have Flash on the iPad; it would have made surfing the web more a fluid and comprehensive experience. Whether Steve Jobbs likes it or not, Flash video is in wide spread use on the web and all of those sites using Flash are off limits for the iPad. Maybe HTML5 will grow in popularity and Flash will just go away… not likely any time soon.
As to teaching with the iPad, right out of the box it is almost useless. In order to even begin making use of it you need these programs: Pages (Word Processing), Numbers (Spread Sheets), and Key Note (Powerpoint like presentations). But even these Apps have issues. Exporting files to or from the iPad is fairly easy but from the reviews I read online the iPad Apps are scaled down versions of the desk top models. And the cost. Why aren’t they simple included with the device? Granted, they are only $10.00 each from the Apple App store, but to be able to view them on your desk top you have to buy the iWorks ’09 suite; about $80.00. So, for only $110.00, you can actually use the $499.00 to $829.00 iPad?
All in all, I do like the iPad and with the iWorks suite I can think of many possible uses for it in the class room. I still want to see if it can hook up to a digital projector for Keynote lectures. If it can, maybe with the 20 pin – USB connector, then that would make all the difference. To be able to give a presentation or a lecture without having to carry around a 17 inch lap top, ahhh, one can but dream… I’m still very curious to see how useful Numbers is; I know from my explorations that Pages is a great product. In the final analysis, the cost of the iWorks suite isn’t that big a hurdle.
In conclusion, I’m personally not going to run out and buy one for the home, not yet. I would need to play with one a little more and see if it can do some crucial functions, namely, it MUST be able to connect to a digital projector. I’m intrigued by the iPad but I’m going to hold out for one with a camera and the potential for a 3G or 4G phone package with someone other than AT&T. Ma Bell gets terrible reception in my area.