Musing on my first week with an iPad

Mainly I’ve downloaded a lot of Apps.

Evernote, iBooks, Google+, Drive, Gmail, Youtube, Green Screen FX, iMovie, Morfo, Hootsuite, Explain Everything, Skitch, Popplet, Garage Band, Puppet Pals, TED, Khan Academy, Edmodo, Paper, Chrome and Incerts Snap.

I’ve tried to use some of these apps. I was pleased to get my mail and twitter feeds syncing, but then swiftly became overwhelmed by another device that is syncing all my feeds. That’s not the iPads problem though, it’s my problem for being “over-teched”.

Most of the Apps still have the blue New band across them because, despite the fact that they look ace, it does take time to get into them. I’ve signed into Evernote and got it working, but I’m not entirely sure what it offers me over Google Apps. I think that in terms of the documents I have to produce and manage for work, my laptop and my Chromebook are still going to be the devices of choice. I tend to use the Chromebook to take the notes from any meeting, share them with colleagues, manage data in spreadsheets and events on school calendars. If I need to print something for a staff notice board or a classroom display, I’m still likely to use Microsoft Word on my laptop, or Publisher if I’m working beyond A4 paper size. Microsoft still has the upper hand for me when things need printing.

The great success with the iPad has been in experimenting with images, video and audio. I haven’t done anything productive with it yet, but I love Garage Band. I’m especially looking forward to plugging my real guitar into it and trying out some of the different amps on there – I can feel a renaissance in my song writing about to dawn. I’ve also managed to make iMovie and GreenScreen FX work nicely today. I saw an ADE present on them earlier in the year and like he said, they are really easy to use. The GreenScreen app did crash a couple of times, but a quick restart of the iPad sorted that out.

Today I recorded some video into iMovie and then edited it down to a reasonable length. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t make devices have to edit, compress and process any more video than they need to – edit first is my preferred option. I then took the green screen bit of the video and ran it through Green Screen FX. Then I put that back into iMovie and made a finished version of it.¬†Here it is:¬†Why I like Rising Stars

I have found myself doing a lot of comparing with the other devices I have, thinking things like “that’s really neat” or “that could work better”. For example, the normal video editor I use on my laptop is Techsmith’s Camtasia – so of course in my head I’ve been comparing how iMovie works with that. What I really should be doing is thinking about what my students will be doing with these iPads if and when they get them. I like the idea that they can do amazing multi-media story telling, but I’m not sure if that’s they thing they most need to do. The teaching of basic English and maths is important in my school and I’m not yet convinced that iPads are the best use of money to meet that need.

I have one main frustration with the iPad. The wifi receiver seems to be more sensitive to walls than any of my other wifi devices. I can upload a video to Youtube from my phone whilst standing in my kitchen, but I can’t do the same on the iPad because the signal isn’t strong enough. I don’t know if this is a problem in schools or when 30 iPads all try to connect through the same access point, but it is a worry at the back of mind at the moment.

Next week I’m going to teach some children how to make some iMovies. It will be interesting to see how they get on with doing all the movie making on one device – previously we have used flip cameras and a video editor to do that.

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