an iPad for every teacher

by santoki

Say what you want about an iPad.  Sure, it’s a little bourgeois.  It’s a play thing for wealthy people with too much time on planes sporting a big honking Y chromosome.  Whatever. I decided to get me one of these bad boys because it a light, portable, and pretty useful device.

Oh who am I kidding.  Dr. Icepick left it in my car, and I babysat for a few hours.  I fell in love.  I decided I really needed to have one.  The thing is, when you get such an extravagant object, there is a need to justify it as useful.  You can’t just have things because you want them anymore.  So for all of you teachers toying with the idea, let me give you the justification.

In this next series of posts, I will be going over the tools that I have been using.  I have done some trial and error with different ones, so my mistake amounts to your solution.  Okee doke?

A little 411 about Robotron (that’s its name):

Size:

32 GB.  I figured, do I really need to put all of my music on something that I really don’t want to take out on the el?  [Aside: There seems to have been a rash of thefts on the el involving the snatching of iProducts. If it’s out, apparently it’s up for grabs. Long story short, keep it under wraps.] As it turns out, I have a treeeeemendous amount of space on this thing, so I put somewhere in the neighborhood of a bazillion songs on it, with room to spare.  If you are going to be loading a lot of movies and the like onto it, you may need to get the larger one.  If you are only going to load a few for the occasional trip, the 32 is more than enough space.

As for putting every book you own on it?  I cannot read on this thing.  It strains my eyes, and has too many bells and whistles to distract me.  It’s fine to throw a few textbooks on it, but for an ebook reader, get an ebook reader.

3G or not 3G:

I toyed with this one for a while.  It’s a bit of a tricky thing.  Do I really want to pay the extra hundred something and then have to pay for the 3G on top of it?  Short answer, nope.  I have wifi at home, school, in coffee shops, and at most of my friends’ places.  No need to be connected every five minutes.  After all, that’s what my Android is for.

Though, I will say this:  there was one point that it would have come in incredibly handy.  I was at school and I was trying to connect to the system.  Apparently, I needed to install some kind of key.  They emailed it to me and said that all I needed to do was install it and follow the directions.  Do you see where I am going with this?  To install the key, you need to get into your email which needs to be connected to the system that you are trying to get connected to in the first place.  3G would have come in handy.  Then again, I just went downstairs to Cosi, made a little use of the free interweb, got the stuff running and stepped back in the building to make sure it worked.  Inelegant, but a workable solution.

Accessories:

I got the apple branded case.  Like Mr. Solo said, she might not look like much but she’s got it where it counts, kid.  This thing has the thinnest profile, is light, and extremely protective.  I really haven’t seen one with a better design for the weight.  It also picks up dirt as quickly as the shiny iPad screen it’s charged with protecting.  I swear, it looks like I was putting up sheet rock.  They really should make this thing in a dirt repellent color, like beige or something.

I also picked up the VGA adaptor.  This thing is very deceptive in its usefulness.  I won’t get into the details now, but let’s just say that if you plug in an external monitor, you are not necessarily going to see the same thing that is on your iPad.  In the infinite wisdom of Apple, they decided that the individual software designer was going to need to determine if their software is VGA compatible.  WTF, right?  So the plug and play thing that you have grown accustomed to?  GONE.  The plugging in of a projector to show a demonstration on the Mandelbrot set?  Out the window.  So the adapter is kind of necessary, but not as useful as you would hope.

I got a stylus.  I lost it in the first two days of ownership, though it felt like I was writing with an eye shadow applicator, and kind of felt flimsy.  If  I didn’t lose it, I would probably have mashed the tip within two weeks.

Did I get a keyboard?  Nope.  I have 2 laptops and a netbook (all from different jobs, not from deep pockets) so what do I need another keyboard for?  Besides, you can only look at the screen in the portrait format.  Who wants that?  I type on my computer, throw things into dropbox, and get on with my life.

And that was the initial purchase, my friends.  Next time, I think that we are going to have to discuss the Office type apps.  How exciting.

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