Within the Last Fortnight

Almost a month ago, I received an email from my employer who let me know that they were going to purchase the “new” ipad for me……with the stipulation that I then learn as much as I can in order to teach others on my campus if and when they needed help.

To be honest, I have WANTED an ipad since they first came out….but it was always a WANT and not a need….so a big THANK YOU is necessary to my employer because without their generosity, I would still be living in the world of my ipodtouch.   (and quite content to be sure!)

The Tuesday AFTER the big launch, my new ipad (16gb with WIFI +4g – my internet at home was super slow, so this would help) was delivered to me – and since then I have explored!

Now, I could not, in any way, say that this is a game-changer….nor would I ever state that EVERY STUDENT should have one of these…..but I will share, with you, a bit, how in less than 14 days, things are a bit different in Jen’s little part of the world.

#1 – I am reading more
To be honest, I have a very substantial group of blogs I follow via my Google Reader.   But I had never dabbled with having “topics” RSSed to me.
I started to explore this option on the ipad, and downloaded both Flipboard and Zite.
While both of these apps are worth having on your ipad….I chose to stick with Zite.
Almost 100% due to the cosmetics and nothing more.  I like the layout much better.   I have chosen 12 topics that send information to me – from Christianity to Disneyland, from Election 2012 to Crafts, from Internet Safety to iPads, and more.   Just waiting there, on the right side of my ipad, waiting for me to click and learn!
–Still looking to learn:   how to read RSSed blog posts on the ipad, access Google Docs.

#2 – I am playing more
I was very happy with my ipodtouch – VERY.   But am finding the larger screen much more conducive to my aging eyes.   They have said that the Retina screen is much better…I cannot prove or disprove that….I will just say that pretty much every app I have looks nice.   And I will admit that I have had to turn down the brightness because often it is too bright.  But “OH, how I am enjoying playing on a larger screen.”
Silly perhaps, but true.
–Still looking to learn:  There is an importance educational factor to gaming but I continually get lost in the fun.  Need to explore this more.

#3 – I am learning more
Between my ZITE section ipad and an app magazine called App Advice – I am conquering the ipad and learning new ways to use it daily.
I had not known that if you double click on the home button it will NOT only show you the apps that are running in the background, but if you scroll to the left, you can adjust brightness, rotation, and sound.
I read “One Less Button — http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/does-the-ipad-have-one-button-too-many/ ) via Zite and have started to use 4 fingers to pinch to the home screen and swipe left or right to move between apps.
I am watching youtubes daily at lunch (with my friend who is going to Haiti) to learn Creole. 
–Still looking to learn:
  Working my way through:  http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iPad_User_Guide.pdf

#4 – I am surfing faster and in a variety of places
When I recently moved…the question I did not ask was “how is the internet”?  and because of where my new rental is….DSL is the only option (wired in).  So having the Data plan, I am not searching the internet at speeds back up to normal (when I was in my apartment.)  And I also now have a “free” hotspot.  Which I look forward to sharing with others at the next conference.
Just last weekend, I became lost while out driving.  I was able to fire up the ipad and find my destination quickly.  Perhaps not a big “aha” to those of you who have a smart phone…but since I don’t, this really was very very helpful!
–Still looking to learn
:  I am looking forward to seeing how this all plays at ISTE.

#5 – I have become data conscious.
With great power (2gb of data) comes great responsibility (oh no, I don’t want to be fined if I go over my data plan.)
And I have become a GRINCH at watching my data.  And also a wifi bandit whenever I can turn off my cellular plan to use someone else’s wifi.
I don’t like this.  I personally believe this “data plan” is a catch 22 that we will forever been entangled within.   I cannot knock it 100% because it is coming in handy – but I do not like the constant nudge of data-overuse that lurks now in the back of my mind.
–Still looking to learn:
  Exactly how data is measured.  I think the more we question, the more the companies are going to have to reveal that this is a scheme where they are winning – for now.

None of these items listed above have changed my life, but to be honest, they have impacted my life (or at least bumped it a bit!)

I must admit I have yet to add too many productivity tools to it yet – other than reading materials.

The apps I use daily are:
Just1Word  (http://www.just1word.com/mobile/about/ipad_bible_app)
Zite  (http://zite.com/)
Hanging With Friends  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hanging-with-friends-free/id440786655?mt=8)
Draw Something  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/draw-something-free/id488628250?mt=8)
Words W/ Friends  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-free/id321916506?mt=8)
App Advice  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/appadvice/id364906378?mt=8)
Twitter  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitter/id333903271?mt=8)

I have downloaded:
Skype  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skype/id304878510?mt=8)
Drop Box  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8)
Evernote  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8)
Pinboard  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pinboard/id301247069?mt=8)
Kindle  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kindle-read-books-magazines/id302584613?mt=8)
US Geography by Discovery Education  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/u.s.-geography-by-discovery/id374922243?mt=8)

And the games I downloaded:
Plants & Zombies  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies/id350642635?mt=8)
Five-O Lite  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/five-o-lite/id408157861?mt=8)
Banagrams  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bananagrams/id329521810?mt=8)
Seuss Band  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr.-seuss-band/id474940131?mt=8)
Hexbee  (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hexbee/id446822719?mt=8)

Is it a keeper??  Oh yes.   Is it a life-changer?  I think not – not in a huge way.  But it is a life-shifter.

Time will tell in the next months how exactly this gets involved in my life – but having only owned it for 14 days….yep, I can see a difference.

I would like to invite you to share with  me what apps are working for you – and how.   As part of the “stipulation”, I will be posting occasionally on what I am learning, how I am learning, and what I am doing with that learning.

Jen

6 Comments

  1. 1
    Erica Says:

    My favorite apps are Edmodo (, which I use with my students), live binders, posterous, brain pop, and pinterest.

  2. 2
    Pat Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. I have downloaded zite and will give it try.

  3. 3
    Jill Says:

    Jen,
    I just read your post on my school iPad in my Google Reader. I just recently learned how to do that. When you are on a website, there is a little icon that is a box with an arrow in it near the address box. If you click on that it will give you the option to ” Add page to your home screen”. This will create a little picture of the site (it looks like an app) on your home page that will take you directly to the site. I have added my Google Reader, Pinterest, Kidblog dashboard, Blogger dashboard, library site and several other frequently visited sites to my iPad this way. Now I rarely turn on my laptop at home. I can do everything I need to from my ipad. I still prefer to use my laptop for writing longer emails and other things because I can type faster on a regular keyboard. I am getting much better with typing on the iPad though. I did this comment on it. :)

  4. 4
    Jennifer Says:

    Hi Jill
    Oh thank you — I will try that in just a bit.
    I have to agree that I have not turned on my computer at home in the last week. I am using my ipad instead.
    However, I am typing this comment from my work computer. (grins)
    Let’s keep helping each other as we learn this new device, okay?
    Jen

  5. 5
    Jennifer Says:

    Thank you, Pat, for stopping by to comment.
    I did just put Flipboard back on my ipad…I hear I can RSS my blogs through it….but have not tried yet.
    ZITE is still my favorite.
    Jen

  6. 6
    Jennifer Says:

    Hello Erica
    I did add Edmodo — and we added Brain Pop to the preschool ipads. I did NOT know about livebinders…so will add that in just a bit.
    Thank you for sharing!!

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