By: Veronica Goin
When Dr. Collins told our class that we would be using iPads for the semester, I couldn’t imagine a use for them (in or out of the classroom). I couldn’t conceive that I would learn to use one. And with my track record of clumsiness, I couldn’t imagine that I would make it through the semester without filing some awkward accident report for the device (still keeping my fingers crossed).
After a few weeks with the iPad, I have been quite pleasantly surprised. Though initially confusing, the iPad is generally straight-forward, and I have (slowly) learned to use it. The iPads are also very useful, not just in Creative Writing, but in other classes too (I plan essays, do research on the go, and even take notes using the iPad). I have also discovered that, despite my fear of not being able to keep the delicate technology alive all semester, so far the iPad and I remain unscathed. My boyfriend reminded me to “Just treat it the way you treat a book. Not the way other people treat books, the way YOU treat books.” He and I use the iPad to play Words with Friends together (and help each other cheat; we’re not very good opponents). We also watch Frasier, using the Netflix app, and look for good hiking trails with a terrain map app. I get a word sent to me daily (complete with the word’s etymology) using the Merriam-Webster Dictionary app.
The iPad has proved itself to be both charming and useful. When asked if I would be willing to buy one on my own, once the semester is finished and my loaner has been returned, I am tempted, but they are prohibitively expensive. A large part of the lent iPad’s charm for me, comes from its lack of a price-tag. If Pace does offer a large-scale iPad program, I would strongly recommend providing them at a discounted rate (and applying Financial Aid considerations to the cost as well).
Sent from my iPad
By Dr. Jane Collins
My iPad has become a part of my daily experience. It is so light that I bring it with me just about everywhere. I read books on it (although I admit that I prefer to read books on my Kindle; and I will admit that I prefer to read books on my Kindle than to read a book made of paper); I read the newspaper on my iPad; I do crossword puzzles on my iPad; I send emails to my students on it; I check their online work on it; I play Scrabble with people I’ve never met on it; I use it as a meditation timer; and my niece loves to draw pictures on it. The iPad is truly a full-service device, a lifestyle device. It serves up media, communication, education, fun, and pleasure in a physically manageable package that does not get in the way of human interaction. This comfort level, this feeling of connection to the device, is important for understanding how the iPad works in the classroom. It is pretty hard to find a student who will declare, “I love my textbook.” However, quite a few of my students have told me “I love my iPad” and I know just how they feel. This semester, Dyson College supported a pilot project with my ENG 308 Fiction Writing Workshop. Each student has an iPad for the semester to use for the class and also in any other way that they like.
When I first held my iPad, I thought, “This will change how computers work in the classroom.” I’ve been using laptops in my creative writing classes for several years now. Most of my students have one, so I have asked them to bring them to class and we use them to workshop student writing, with everyone looking at the same document and then giving feedback on it. When all students have not had a laptop, I’ve used the classroom computer and projector to project the student writing onto the screen at the front of the room. Each of these methods of looking at student writing seemed to create distance between the students in the classroom. Laptops in the classroom created a kind of physical division, with the upraised screen creating a kind of wall that protects but also isolates the student behind it. Projecting student work on the board creates a different kind of division between students. The writing became more impersonal, almost like looking at a bug under a microscope, magnified many times, with all students staring at the giant words floating across the screen. We were no longer looking at each other or the writer; our focus was the screen.
Enter the iPad. It lies on your desk not much bigger than a piece of paper; you hold it in your hand like a mid-sized notebook (not the computer kind!); you can make eye contact; you have no wall in front of you; you can read, write, talk, surf and interact with people with it in your hands. When we workshop using iPads, we write directly into an app that then emails our comments to the student we are workshopping. The technology creates a more human and more humane experience in the writing workshop. We use the iPads every class and at the end of each class, as I slide my little iPad into my backpack, I think, “Yep. This is the way a writing workshop is supposed to work.”
My students in ENG 308 Fiction Writing have agreed to share their ideas and feelings about their iPad experience in this pilot project sponsored by Dyson College.
**Posts written by Dr. Collins’ students will appear in the coming weeks.
The iPad meeting held on 11/25 went over the basics, when downloading the iOS 5. The meeting was very productive and we were left with some helpful advice as well as an introduction to some cool new features:
1) When updating to iOS 5 make sure to back up the data then upgrade or your information and apps will be lost
2) One new iOS 5 feature is imessage which lets you send unlimited text messages via Wi-Fi or 3G from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to anyone with an appleID.
3) Another new feature is notifications can now pop up as an alert, a banner or not at all (banner only last about 3 seconds)
4) iCloud is a new feature that is used to hold all your music, photos, videos, documents and more and wirelessly share them between all your apple devices. Every device you have set up on the iCloud automatically sync with each other. You can now also view and download your documents and Data from Numbers, Pages and Keynote in one convenient place iCloud.com.
5) New to the iCloud network is Photostream, which automatically takes your photos and shares them between all your devices. The pictures are stored on Photostream for 30 days and do not take up space on your device unless you transfer them to your iPhoto.
All in all there are a lot of new features to discover on the new iOS 5 and we will be sure to cover them.
Pace University was fortunate enough to have Devin McLaughlin, an Apple Rep join our iPad meeting on 10/25/11 to discuss a few questions that many faculty and staff share as well as discuss iOS 5, the latest software update for iPhone and iPad. Here is a recap…
Ipads in the class
More and more professors want to integrate iPads into their courses and curriculum for many reasons. iPads have proven to not only make courses more interesting, but offer a new technology that our generation is jumping into (social media, mobile software programming, apps, etc.) all with great ease. Pace is among many universities looking to make this transition easier by offering a limited supply of iPad carts to reserve for classrooms looking to take advantage of all they have to offer. (Availability TBA)
iOS 5 Update
As discussed during the meeting, in order to take advantage of many of the new features that Apple iPad have to offer, it is recommended updating your current device to the new iOS 5. If you don’t know how to update please click the following link for step by step directions. (http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20119358-285/how-to-install-ios-5/)
Important: always make sure to manually backup your information before performing the iOS 5 update. If not, there is a possibility that your information (music, apps, books, notes, etc)
Best of luck updating everyone! If you run into issues you may always submit a helpdesk ticket and someone will reach out to you as soon as possible. Here is a quick video from the Apple website that shows just what the new iOS can do for you. (http://www.apple.com/ios/gallery.html#video-ios)