I have been asked to assess the iPad and reflect on its usefulness as a tool for students and teachers. I liked @cogdog 's rational assessment on the CogDogBlog and I agree that it's way too early to see what the iPad can really do. I took it on a book buying trip today and loved that I was able to quickly check the school library's online catalogue. Sure beats lugging in the big binder of library holdings and flipping through the pages. The only downside, spending 15 minutes of my limited shopping time showing the book store clerks how it worked. :)
Any student taking Chemistry will love The Elements, an ebook of the original book by Theodore Gray.
It offers rotating graphics, a link to the pertinent page on WolframAlpha and a fact page. They even included the song by Tom Lehrer. Note: this is one of the 'pay for' apps that I thought was worth a look. I generally go with the free stuff.
There are news apps in a variety of flavors for current events classes. I've been sampling The New York Times, USA Today, NPR and The Globe & Mail. The iPad is especially good for viewing any videos attached to news articles. The Thomson Reuters Galleries offer stunning photographs and videos. Fluent News gathers stories from a range of sources, letting you browse by Top News or section, search and save.
The iPad app for Dictionary.com is useful for hearing how a word is pronounced. In addition to the definition it offers word origins, a thesaurus and Word of the Day.
What appeals to me the most is that students can have just in time learning at their fingertips, a quick place to learn or access basic information on a topic. I'm happy with what I've seen so far and look forward to the many more apps that will be released. Yes, I'm unhappy that I can't edit Google Docs only Google Spreadsheets and I'm frustrated that iWorks is not yet available in Canada but I can wait. There are lots of other ways to be productive like Evernote, Dragon Dictation and iTalk Lite. So far, on balance I am liking what I see.
Dianne Goes to the White House!
11 months ago