In the darkest days of February, when the sun shone not on the frozen tundra of Wisconsin but for a handful of hours, I made a request of the mighty, turtle-necked lord of Cupertino. The request was a humble one: A 16GB iPad with a camera. Many moons did pass, and lo, plagues of consumer shortages, recalls, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, and an explosion in the factory stood in the way of deliverance. My faith was shaken that I would ever receive this glowing tablet. Last Wednesday my faith was rewarded, my iPad arrived with my name etched on the back.
If I sound like this is a big deal for me, it is. Since the first iPad came out I have had my doubts about how the iPad could be used in the classroom. Mostly having to do with schools that shell out good money buying them for every student. That said, I wanted one soooo bad. Since getting my iPod Touch I realized how much I enjoyed having my documents, email, calendars, and notes all in one place. I wanted that kind of organization an convenience in my classroom. I wanted to streamline my professional work the same way that my SmartBoard streamlined my instruction.
I will have to wait a little longer before I can use it to its full potential. First, because it is a school iPad, I need to work with others to install the apps in order to share them with Scott, my partner in this iPad trial. Secondly, my students don’t show up for another few months. Only then, when my students are in the classroom and I am once again exposed to the pressures of running my classroom, will I know what works in the field and what does not. Which apps are useful, which are toys, and which are wastes of time?
I am developing a list of the apps that I will use in the coming school year. Any ideas on what should make the cut?