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The future of schools?

How were my holidays?  Pretty good!  On the first Thursday I got a text message from my partner who was in the States: Do you want an iPad? Are you kidding!? That’s like asking ‘Do you want chocolate?’  Of course I want an iPad!  What do I want it for?  Nothing – it just looks good, that’s why I want/need it.

But actually, it’s pretty useful too. After surfing for recommended apps (applications), the ones ‘you have to download ASAP’, according to Internet sources, I decided to plunge into the New Zealand iTunes apps store.  Unfortunately, all the recommended apps aren’t available here.  I looked at some apps for word processing and other similar functionality (Word, Excel, PowerPoint type things) and found iWorks, but I have to wait till it’s released here, who knows when?

In the end, the two most useful items that I downloaded were Kindle and iAnnotations.  The first one is a no-brainer for someone like me.  I’ve already got books from the public domain on my phone and tend to read them at lunch or over coffee or while waiting in doctors’ offices.  And, of course, on planes.  I have books for my study and ones I want to keep forever (the hardback UK first edition of Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood, for example).  But then there are the numerous books I buy, read once and want to throw away, but they’re BOOKS!  How can you throw them away?  These types of books are perfect for the Kindle.  One slim, black item on your shelf, instead of loads of paper. Beautiful.

The second app that I’ve found useful is iAnnotations PDF.  This allows you download pdfs onto the iPad and not just read them, but also annotate them.  The tools available are notes (which pops up a little area in which you can type), pencil (for circling or drawing), ruler (for drawing straight lines), highlighter, underlining tool, crossing out tool and bookmarking.  Since I have readings for uni that are given to me in pdf format, this is an incredibly useful tool for me.  I tried it out last night and it was superb.  I can see this being used in a future school in just this sort of way.

I’ve also managed to download videos, music and podcasts onto it.  For me, these are helpful tools for language learning, so if teachers created lesson items that were in these formats, then students would be able to download them and use them for learning.  Additionally, I could see students presenting their work in these ways, as well as the traditional written formats.  I know another person who’s been using all the drawing tools to create website mockups and design brochures for Tech Hui.

What is the biggest problem with it?  Sharing it.

My partner uses it while watching TV, in order to surf the Internet and do banking, etc.  I can’t get it away from him!  For the last two nights, I’ve hidden it in my ‘school’ bag, so he can’t find it.

Next time he goes to the States, he’ll have to get his own.

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment