Saturday, November 12, 2011

Has anyone seen my iPad?

Seriously......I was carrying my iPad back and forth to work every day, but realized that it was never coming out of its overly large zippered case that someone noted resembles an Inuit parka. I decided that this made as much sense as carrying all those ungraded papers back and forth every day without putting any red ink on them. Thus the iPad was relegated to a convenient half wall I have inside the back door of my house where I pile all my ignored work materials - to the dismay of my wife.

She was once excited by the prospect of getting an iPad, but has yet to touch the darn thing. My daughter, who spends two thirds of her waking hours texting and Facebooking, is barely aware the thing exists. When it disappeared, no one noticed for a week or more. Not even me. Every member of my family has an iPhone. If one of those disappeared I wouldn’t hear the end of it. All that testing of the IRIS alert system this past week was a personal favor.

I used to be a slow adopter of technology. But now the more technology I use the more I want. And the more I use the further I want to push the limits of their capabilities. I now know how to make an Angel LMS scream for mercy. My iPhone can do tricks, it fits smartly into my pants pocket, it wirelessly syncs all my audio books through the iCloud with my iPad (even if iLost it, iAssume), and it has my GroupWise email and schedule! Now I never miss anything – except for 8 a.m. meetings.

A few weeks ago, before I lost the iPad, I lost the charger. But that was not an immediate problem because of the incestuous nature of Apple devices, which are becoming so common and specialized that there will soon be a 5.827 inch iPalm to fill that all important niche of paperless bathroom reading. Seriously! Apple already has the second largest market capitalization of any public company in the world – behind Exxon Mobil, of course, although probably not for long. How did this happen?! Oh yeah – the Wilsons own four iPhones.

My personal laptop has a huge monitor; maybe bigger than the monitor on our desktop. Despite that it’s also thin and very portable and fits neatly on my lap. I use it for a variety of reasons including browsing the internet, word processing, and email. This is truly a great tool for all the evening and weekend grading and email that I do for my online course. No red ink. No Safari. No fingerprints all over the monitor.

Oh wait. I know where it is. I put it in my computer bag with my laptop when I went to my workshop last week. Not sure why. I guess I thought it might come in handy – but alas.

So, how exactly am I supposed to fit this tablet device into my life with all the other devices that already do what I need very well? Perhaps I should trick it out with one of those Bluetooth keyboards. That strikes me as an odd confluence of portability and complexity. Perhaps a clever paperweight? Nah, I already have a Wacom tablet device occupying that niche. Maybe a paperless bathroom reader? No, I’d have to cancel my iPalm on preorder.

I guess I’ll just have to figure out some clever educational strategy to convince my students that learning science is much easier and more fun if you do it while sliding your greasy fingers across the screen where a chemical reaction is being simulated. This shouldn’t be too hard; especially if I can convince them that there will be less red ink in their future. Perhaps the iPad can wirelessly transmit critical information to their brains during an exam through a cerebral iCloud interface device. I’m sure someday Dave Bock’s class will have a mini-app for that.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Dave,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It is beautifully written. I, too, am no longer in love with my iPad. I can do lots of neat things with it—watching TV episodes is the best. However, the appeal of the iPad has worn off. There are not any good apps for students taking writing/composition courses. There are plenty of grammar builders, but none that really stand out.

    I, too, have an iPhone and my love for this device grows more and more each day. My iPhone is my alarm clock; it reminds me of meeting and appointments, it buzzes when I get a new email in my Parkland email account, and it sends me news updates from the Associated Press. It is my constant companion and resource. If I don’t know how to spell a word, I look it up on the dictionary app; when I want to know what’s on TV or when Law and Order is coming on, I look it up on the TV Guide app; when I want to research an actor in the movie I’m watching, I look it up on the IMDb app (Internet Movie Database). Heck, I track my monthly cycle on my iPhone. (Yes, there’s an app for that.)

    What I’m trying to say is that the iPad is not better than the iPhone. Also, the iPad is not better than a laptop. It seems the things I can do on the iPad and would want to do on an iPad are very minimal. Until there are better apps and more e-textbooks available for the iPad, I will not be making the investment.