Thursday, October 7, 2010
Connie and Her iPad
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!