Another matter was my love of electronics. When it comes to technology, I am a natural born “early adopter,” so it took every bit of discipline I could muster not to “cave” and buy an original iPad. I looked upon my colleagues, and many of my students, with envy but promised myself that I would wait. Rumors that the iPad2 would have front and back facing cameras helped to ease my desire. However, I still felt a great sense of frustration.
I’m not ashamed to say that I counted down the days until the release of the iPad2. My MacBook Pro was serving me well, but I made certain I would be among the first to get the newer device.
As the proud owner an iPad2, I can report with confidence, “I get it.” Many people ask me, why the need for both a laptop and a tablet? Here are just 5 of my reasons, plain and simple:
1. User Experience - Notice that most of the ads for the iPad focus on its use in leisure settings. We tend to hunch over our laptops, while you can recline as you engage with iPad content in the same way you might read a book.
2. Shared Experience - Laptops are primarily single-user devices, while tablets are more suited for sharing. Watch students engage with content on tablets, and you’ll quickly notice how they pass new discoveries along to their peers.
3. Camera Features - The front and back facing cameras, along with Apple’s $9.95 iMovie app, add new levels of teaching and learning capabilities, including: video chatting, production, and editing. WIFI and 3G enabled devices open classrooms to a world of possibilities, using FaceTime or Skype video features to connect with experts or chat pals in classroom in distant locales.
4. Apps - The web browser experience and the app experience are miles apart. Webpages are fairly limited and static, in terms of engagement and user experience. Apps provide software developers with the ability to create unique, immersive and interactive information and learning environments.
5. PDF Annotation Software - Tablet devices save trees. I have a file cabinet full of printed journal articles and other reading assignments from my first year of graduate school. Multiply that times the number of my fellow doctoral program classmates and we could easily fill a room with paper. Apps like iAnnotate allow me to easily highlight, keyword search and reference an equivalent amount of documents on my iPad and still have room for my entire music library, movies, magazines, books and games.
Add these reasons to the fact that the iPad2 is thinner and has a faster processor than the original and it’s easy to see why school districts are rapidly embracing electronic tablets. They provide rich media learning experiences that can dazzle as well as inform.