Dear iPad Owners,
I hope you had a great first day with your new purchase. Did you stay up late last night reading a novel? Was it sitting there on your night stand, tuned to your favorite newspaper when you woke up this morning? Any chance there is a “Make Coffee” app?
Okay, I must admit that I am a little jealous of you. Given all the negative press, it was a bold move to stand in line at the Apple Store or at your front door waiting for the UPS guy. I was tempted to join you but kept telling myself I must resist… No camera… Price needs to be lower… Is the Apple Store still open?… No 3G yet (forget 3G, I’m waiting for 4G)… Too many proprietary peripherals… Are there any left?… Just a big iPhone… No multitasking… Where are my car keys?
Well, I made it through my first full day without buying an iPad. Good for my bank account but not so good for my mind as it is racing with lots of questions for you. As an instructional technologist, my first questions revolve around how the iPad can benefit education. Specifically, I am interested in the iPad’s ability to replace textbooks. What are your first impressions about the iPad’s ability to address major issues other eReaders have encountered when attempting to replace traditional texts?
(I am expanding on three issues Weili Dai raised in a recent eSchoolNews article.)
- Currency – Will it be easy to update an eText, allowing content to maintain currency? How will readers know if an an update has been made?
- Cost – Will eTexts be reasonably priced? Are open texts and existing PDF-formatted articles easy to access?
- Weight – Do you quickly get tired holding the iPad in common reading positions?
- Reliability – Does the eReader app respond in a consistent manner during common electronic reading activities? (e.g. turning pages, jumping to the table of contents, searching for key words, looking up definitions)
- Notes-worthy – How easy is it to take notes? Are there options to embed notes within texts or export notes to a word processing document?
- Accessibility – Can a text be read to you? Are there learning disabilities affordances such as highlighting words or groups of words as they are being read? How easy is it to change font sizes? Are there options for users with limited use of their fingers?
Well that’s all for now. Hopefully you can respond to this message using WordPress’s new iPad app. I appreciate any help you can provide as I wait for the perfect tablet computing device… Do you think BestBuy has any left?
Here’s a short video of Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh computer to the world 25 years ago. The crowd goes crazy over a word processor, a paint program, and a synthesized voice. Fun stuff. My first sustained exposure to Macintosh was in 1986 as a student teacher in St. Joseph, Missouri. I was fasinated by the WYSIWYG editor and mouse. No more Ctrl KG to save a document.
Here’s a presentation I gave at the 2008 MERLOT conference about Seattle Pacific University’s experience with iTunes U over the last two years. MERLOT 2008: iTunes U – Lessons Learned after 2 Years on the Trail
Note: I don’t start talking until about 20 seconds into the video.