Thursday, October 7, 2010

Connie and Her iPad

i pad
Of what use is an iPad? That is what I asked myself when I pre-ordered mine so that I would get it immediately upon release. Of course my question did not deter my desire to have one on Day One. I am an Apple gadget freak.

What happened? Well, we decided to take a trip and since the first shipments had no G3 access, I had to order another one for travel. The same question applied then too, but was also ignored by me.

Meanwhile the first iPad was being used. In the kitchen. I had bought a keyboard/stand and tried that out on the kitchen counter where there are lots of empty plugs. Connie (my wife) immediately began looking up recipes and using the iPad on a stand. The iPad became an electronic cook book

Now a bit about Connie. Connie is NOT a computer person. Connie's number one passion is Golf. Computing is at the bottom, whatever number that would be. Connie does correspond by email. And she does search the internet. Three or four times a year she creates a document. I think she can change fonts and the size of fonts. But I know for sure that she does not use tabs. I have to show her every time how to align items on her handouts for the golf club. That's it.

So what has happened to the iPad? Well, since Connie had begun to use it, I showed her how to check her email. She liked this very much because she did not have to go upstairs, wait for the computer to boot, locate the correct icon to double-click, and reply to the sender.

So for several weeks the iPad was used for internet access and email. Connie also began removing the iPad from its keyboard stand and accessed golf scores when they were not being shown quickly enough for her on The Golf Channel. Then Connie began looking up movies, actors and actresses. (She has begun insisting that we watch a movie together most nights "so that you [me] will get off that xxxx computer"). And then Connie discovered Netflix on the iPad. She is starting to use the Netflix icon on the iPad, but still relies primarily on the disc in the mail. I have ordered an Apple TV. Streaming from Netflix controlled on the iPad is next I predict.

Two weeks ago Connie said she wanted some music downstairs. I told her my complete collection of over 4,000 songs was accessible on the iPad through iTunes. After a 30 second demonstration she declared that it was too much trouble and she wasn't interested in learning to use iTunes. So I showed her Pandora. She could not believe that she could, in essence, have her own radio station. For the first week and a half her only entry was The Carpenters. Now she says she has eight different artists in her Pandora list. Amazing!

And NPR News and Music are now a presence in the kitchen compliments of the iPad.

When I told Connie earlier this week that I was going to take the iPad to school for the lab, I was told it no uncertain terms that "you will not take my iPad to school."

What is interesting about this story?

Many people are like Connie. They dislike computers. My guess is that when they have a chance to use the iPad they will love it as much as Connie. As technology becomes more compact, easier to use, accessible instantly and from everywhere, even the resisters will be swept along.

Will this happen in schools where there continues to be resistance, or at least reluctance and unwillingness? I think so. I hope we are preparing our new teachers to take advantage of the opportunities they will have in this new world where all information is in all places at all times and where we can talk with and see everyone else. And all for free. With the spread of the new technologies maybe we will come to understand what changes in teaching techniques will be necessary. If we don't, schools won't last long.

I will address the many issues raised by this last paragraph in later posts.

What about my iPad you ask? Am I going to put my iPad in the lab for students to use? Absolutely NOT. It has become a necessary part of me. I can watch the required movies nightly with the internet in my lap!


  1. As you well know, John, I was an iPad skeptic from the get-go. As you also now know, my iPad has become indispensable in my classroom. I use it with students to create portfolios of artifacts I've collected. I also love it at home. The battery life is amazing. When iOS4 comes out and adds multitasking it'll be even better. When the next version of the hardware comes out and inevitably adds cameras it might be a better device for students than laptops. Might. It all depends on how it's used.

    It's definitely an exciting tool.

  2. Dr. Strange, I will freely admit that I also was an iPad skeptic when they were first announced. In fact, I remember remarking to my good friend Daryl that it looked like an over-grown iPhone (which Daryl carries). And I must also admit to jeering him when he purchased the iPad and was proudly flashing it about. I did this not because I thought my friend had an inferior piece of machinery in his hands (it's not), but because it was made by Apple. You see, there is a very dense, very hard core within me that has the letters "PC" etched upon it. I built my first computer by myself when I was 16 and continued to do so for several years after (until I realized that I needed a laptop). Regardless, after sneering and jeering at Daryl's iPad, I decided to cave-in to his offer of giving it a try. And, as hard as it is for a dyed-in-the-wool PC user to admit this -- I covet his iPad for all of the reasons that you have mentioned in your blog. It's fast, easy-to-use, and has tons of incredibly fun and useful features on it.

  3. Although I don't have an iPad, I have the IdeaPad tablet from Lenovo. I think that is is very convenient for my everyday life. It is light weight; so, I can take it to all of my classes with ease. I can keep all of my paperwork etc. on my IdeaPad. I have over three dozen eBooks (including those for my younger siblings ages 6-9. I can even use the notepad app to take notes in class. This is especially useful in my mathematics courses since it is difficult to type everything I need and keep a reasonable pace. The notepad app allows me to save and organize my notes with ease and make quick copies for anyone who misses class. Also, touching on the subject of technology that is attractive to even the most technologically illiterate, my grandparents always joke about wanting to kidnap my Ideapad due to its convenient size and user friendly apps.

  4. I think the ipad! is really an amazing way to show how fare technology has come/ Connie reminds me of my grandfather , I have to show him every time he gets on the computer how to open up new tabs and go back and forth. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and it is a shame that it is not being taken advantage of as much as possible. The ipad is a convent computer that seems to be able to do almost anything you want it to and can be personalized for each user. I don’t have an ipad but I do have an ipad touch and I love it, so I am looking forward to getting an ipad for Christmas.

  5. Apple converts another one! Not surprised. I really really want an iPad. At first I thought they were kind of silly, but after I played with my friend's iPad I changed my mind quickly. Also, streaming from Netflix is great! I use my Wii to stream movies.

  6. Honestly, what makes the iPad a great device is the fact that anyone can pick it up and figure it out in a few minutes. My five year old daughter can access the games and books that I have on my iPad without any help. She can figure out how to make them work too. The real question is will the android tablets make it in the marketplace. We need competition to drive innovation.