I got the best birthday gift ever this year. My husband bought me a 32GB wireless Apple iPad! I was floored when I opened the box. Just a few days earlier I had finally started to consider getting an e-reader. (I love my paper books. I was very anti-e-reader. Still prefer my paper books). I had watched many of my students start using e-readers in school and I was attracted to the ease of carrying more than one book when I travel. I read very quickly and when I travel I need to bring a huge pile of books. The airlines are not a big fan of that. I had decided on a Nook (which I still highly recommend!) so I did not expect to get an iPad!
It’s been about two months now, and I know some people are interested in my thoughts. I absolutely love, love, love my iPad. It’s been a life changer for me. First, I use it a lot as an e-reader. I still prefer to read paper and ink books, but the iPad is awfully convenient. While I can’t add the books in my iPad to my classroom library (like I do with all my paper and ink books), it has been a great way to read more adult books. I tend to buy all YA and middle grade books because I can use them in my classroom library. Otherwise, I would have so many books that I would end up living in a house made of books, and that would probably be dangerous. I can just see myself grabbing a book that catches my eye and just knocking everything down. Bye bye kitchen! Anyway, back on the subject- it’s great to have an e-reader because I can read adult books and not worry about what to do with them afterwards.
I can also carry lots of books around at once. When I finish one book I can immediately begin another one. This is very convenient. As I said before, I read quickly and I hate getting stuck without another book after I finish one. I also love that I can carry books around everywhere I go. I find myself reading at the dog park, at lunch, waiting to meet up with friends, at the beach, in the car, and in waiting rooms. I am reading even more than I already was.
Now, the iPad isn’t perfect as an e-reader. The biggest issue I have is the glare. The screen has a big glare whenever I read outside. I make sure I read in the shade, and I use the Apple iPad case (that protects the iPad) as a sort-of shield and that helps a lot. I also changed the iPad’s settings so that the screen isn’t as bright and the background of the pages is a yellowish color instead of bright white. I haven’t had a single situation where I haven’t been able to read due to glare. It just takes some juggling sometimes.
I don’t just use the iPad as an e-reader, though. That’s the beauty of the iPad- you can do so much with it! I find myself downloading new apps everyday. I have an amazing Astronomy app that helps me locate constellations and planets. I love downloading the newspaper and my pictures. Most recently I downloaded Flipboard after hearing an interview with the developer on NPR. Flipboard is a personalized magazine using your social networking contacts. It takes links, photos, and updates that your friends post on Twitter and Facebook and puts them into a magazine layout. It’s clean, crisp, and looks just like an issue of your favorite magazine. I can’t recommend it enough!
I have been doing some research into using the iPad in the classroom and I am brainstorming ways I might use it. One idea I have is to use it during conferencing to take notes (with a stylus). The iPad could serve as my notebook with notes uploaded every time I sync. Do you have an iPad? How do you use (or plan to use it) in the classroom?