Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Teacher's iPad

My laptop had been showing signs of aging over the past few months. It no longer connected to projectors properly, glitched while playing DVDs, and it would occasionally show me the dreaded blue screen of death. It was on it's last legs to say the least.
For the average person, having to fork out hundreds of dollars for a new laptop is disappointing. But for geeks like me, it's a great excuse to get the latest and the greatest.
I faced a tough choice between a high-end laptop or a newly released tablet. I thought about my work needs and personal needs and decided to go with a tablet. Although I've traditionally used PC, Apple's iPad dominates the tablet market so I took the plunge.
As anticipated, the tablet doesn't replace my laptop. So, here's the rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of using an iPad as a teacher.

  • Speed: The speed and accessibility of the tablet is amazing. I've never surfed the internet so fast. This past May I was able to show a melanoma awareness video to four classes in record time. The process was quick because the iPad had a quick startup, it flawlessly connected to the projector and speakers, and it loaded the video without hesitation.
  • Apps: There are a number of apps that can be very useful. I have made use of a number of word games in my class including Scrabble, Boggle, and crosswords. Check out for a very extensive collection of reviews on educational apps.
  • An inexpensive buzzer system: Rather than investing in an elaborate buzzer system, install a buzzer app on the ipad and a few ipads/iphones. One such app is called PickMe Buzzer and it works great for quiz games played in class.
  • Prezi: I'm a Prezi user and the iPad helps me deliver great presentations in class and at conferences ( The iPad also runs other popular presentation software.
  • Lesson plans: I switched to a digital planner a few years ago and have never looked back. The iPad makes my schedule available nearly everywhere. What's more is that my schedule is synched to my desktop for more convenience.
  • Apple stuff: The iPad doesn't have flash. I don't know why Apple can't make a deal with Adobe but the result is an incomplete internet. The occasional web page simply doesn't work.
  • Networks: I'm not able to connect to my workplace network because they don't permit Apple products on the network. They claim this is because of security, but I'm not too sure.
  • Smartboard compatibility: The iPad is not compatible with the Smart Board. If you're a teacher that uses a Smart Board or another interactive white board product, then a tablet cannot replace a laptop.
  • Can't replace all of your computers: For those who thought a desktop and laptop were unneeded after a tablet purchase will be sorely disappointed. I still use my desktop daily. I need the desktop to create large presentations, input my marks, manage my files, and to access sites and programs I can't on the iPad.

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