Using the iPad in lectures, and on the train…

Quickoffice 

The more I try new things with the iPad the more useful it seems to be. For example, after downloading Quickoffice I have used this application many times to write documents and presentations. This has allowed me to utilise my time better; I have recently spent a lot of time on the train and the iPad has allowed me to carry my work with me, providing much needed flexibility. Utilising time on the train has been the most beneficial aspect of the iPad for me and I am now considering buying one after the trial in order to still benefit from this. 
Last week I wrote the Debates and Controversies 400 word assignment on the iPad with ease. I then was able to upload the document onto theVLE, and I actually had less difficulty doing this on the iPad than my laptop! Whilst others have found that the Quickoffice application does not frequently save work automatically, I have not found this to be an issue. It saves the document every 5  minutes or so which I have found sufficient.

Goodreader

I have used a variety of methods of using the iPad in lectures, such as the Notes application and Quickoffice. However, I have found that the best way of using the iPad in lectures is to annotate the handouts using Goodreader. I was amazed at the simplicity of this application and how much you can do with it! I tend to write a lot of notes so I have benefitted most from the yellow boxes where you can write text. I do still however try and pick up a paper handout for revision purposes. I think it could start to get confusing having some lectures annotated on the iPad and others annotated on the paper copies so I am planning to print out all of my annotated lectures from Goodreader. Although this isn’t perhaps the best option for the environment, I do find revising from paper handouts to be easier.

 

Other useful applications

Evernote has proved to be a useful tool as I tag different news articles according to the particular module which they relate to. This will be very helpful when it comes to writing assignments as I already have a wealth of relevant information ready and waiting.
I also have been using a voice recording tool called Audio Memos to record evening presentations and investment seminars as these do not have handouts available online to annotate. The quality of the recordings are very good so I have been impressed with this application.

Conclusions

As I steadily begin to get used to the iPad, I feel that now I have started to uncover the wealth of useful applications which it has to offer. I’m sure as the term goes on I will find even more tools which may help with both my studies and my career.

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Getting to grips with the iPad 2

After initially finding the iPad very exciting, I have become slightly less enthusiastic over the past week for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I find the battery life of the iPad to be unsatisfactory. If I use it daily for both professional and personal purposes, I have to charge it each evening. I realise that this may also be due to the fact that I never really power the device off. The reasoning behind this is that if I did power it off I would not be alerted to new emails and messages which is an important function of the device.

A second irritation which has developed relates to the size of the device. Previously I have been accustomed to going to university for lectures without taking much more than a pen or a small bag. Whilst I did not mind in the first week of the trial, the continued requirement to take a larger bag into university every day has been frustrating. I feel that I can no longer leave my house for lectures without taking a bag large enough to carry it.

I have found that the uses of the iPad are perhaps more limited than I first thought. A couple of times in the library I have wanted to create a PowerPoint presentation as part of my seminar preparation. I cannot, or perhaps do not know how to, do this on the iPad. Therefore I have not been able to prepare properly for seminars when I have not got access to my laptop or to an IT cluster. The ‘Notes’ application is also insufficient as you cannot highlight sections or change colours etc. I will download the Microsoft Office application soon as I believe that this might rectify a few of my complaints.

These complaints have made me come to the conclusion that the iPad does not offer more than simply being a fairly portable device which accomodates access to a number of Internet-based features. As I am not really interested in gaming, I have not found many applications which I would actually want to use in my personal time. Both having access to emails and a calender is helpful, however I have the same tools on my smartphone which is obviously much more portable.

The initial excitement of reading the news and accessing online information has also began to wear off. I have started picking up a daily copy of the Financial Times again, which further suggests my disinterest in using the iPad to access the news online.

Whilst my enthusiasm for the device has therefore declined, I have found the iPad very useful for my activities as Fund Manager in the Leeds Trading and Investment Society. Using Bloomberg and trading stocks in an online portfolio is much easier in meetings as I can bring the iPad and make trades instantly. The iPad is also much easier than a laptop to pass around the fund team so we can all view graphs and information easily.

I will endeavour to continue using the iPad on a daily basis to see how far it may help me in activities such as revising for the upcoming midterm exams.

Until next time…

First Impressions using the iPad2

As a person who knows relatively little about techology, I have found the iPad 2 surprisingly easy to use. Within a week I have downloaded a multitude of applications which have been both interesting and useful to my studies. For example, the ‘iTunes U’ app enables you to download podcasts and videos of lectures from universities around the world. Many universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, have their own pages featuring collections of lectures and information from various schools. Perhaps this could be something for the Leeds University Business School to consider as it seems to make learning material increasingly accessible.

Other applications which I have come to rely on include news apps, for example Bloomberg and Zite (a bespoke newspaper). I was also impressed with the vast content which can be accessed freely from ‘iBooks’. The calender application has been useful, however it would be beneficial if the personal iPad calender could link with the university system so that any timetable updates, such as an additional dissertation briefing, could be added directly to the calender. Hence it seems that over time tablets could possibly provide increasingly innovative methods of interacting with students.

Whilst I have benefitted from the constant access to news and information, the iPad has not proved to be of much use in lectures so far. I find it much easier to take notes on paper, however I am looking to buy a stylus for the iPad so that I can test if this may be more practical.

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