Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Kate’s Weekly iPad reflection

Let me start by saying I can’t believe I haven’t been using this more! My prior experience with most new technologies is that I wait until I have enough reasons that it will contribute to my daily life in a positive way before getting it.  That was the way I got my iPad mini last spring. At the time I needed a simple way to handle all my course materials for a class in Manhattan. The Mini seemed like the perfect match for the task and it was! I never had to fear not having my papers, reading assignments, and notes. It was also perfect for reading these texts or doing a rough draft of a email while on the train. However it’s major downfall for me was its small size though great for carrying was a problem for typing and I have considered remedying it with a separate keyboard. That inconvenience coupled with not commuting to Manhattan as much meant that the mini drifted back to my desk drawer. I never had the chance or the push to explore its capabilities.

Enter the  new iPad, which I am using to type this post. I have been using for 90 percent of my work load for the last week as well as in conjunction with my laptop. Since my main course this semester is teaching an introductory class it has been great for making notes of what I want to mention in class, write lesson plans and assignments. I use blackboard for the communications with the class and the app worked very well except when I lost Wifi connection it would freeze and have to be restarted. I needed to scan documents for their assignment and my scanner happened to break as I was scanning. I used the Scannable app instead. While I did not care for the quality of scanned images, it worked excellently on text and was a welcome relief from my broken scanner. I also liked the drive app so I could quickly share class documents and work between devices.

I also tried a number of apps related to my art interests. I liked taking pictures with it and using its camera however it’s size and lack of grip made it difficult to take some pictures  and made me rather nervous it would drop (cameras used to have those handy cords to keep them tethered to the user’s neck).  I didn’t feel too comfortable having it out in the snow in case it got wet. It just felt too clunky though the quality was good.

I also gave the sketchbookx app a try and was very pleased with it. The iPad is the right size for me to do quick sketches and though it will never replace my paper and watercolors or photoshop, it has a lot of unique qualities and textures I’d like to explore further. I downloaded an app for animating that I will be experimenting with soon. I hope I can try a little astrophotographers as well by attaching the camera to my telescope. I had some luck with the mini last year in capturing the moon so we will see how it goes.

my weekly conclusion: this greatly streamlined my work for the week and made me feel more productive since it was easy to setback anywhere and get something done.


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  1. This is an interesting quote:

    “this greatly streamlined my work for the week and made me feel more productive since it was easy to setback anywhere and get something done.”

    When I think about that I wonder how that will evolve and change over the course of the semester? Is that a by product of the “newness” of the iPad or will that feeling be enhanced as you find more and more ways to use the device? Another thing you mentioned — wifi. I find when I don’t have connectivity I’m not sure what to do with my iPad, largely because I’ve moved most of my work to the cloud — I use google docs instead of Word, for example. If more and more students have iPads it will put an additional strain on our networks, so as an Institution we better be prepared!

    • I agree. I was aware of the word “feeling” when I was writing it and it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Currently, I think the sense of newness in many basic ways wore off when I had the mini and that probably contributed to why I gave it up. I’m approaching this device a little differently because it is easier for me to write on than my laptop so it fits with my life and work load better.

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