When UC Davis professor Dr. Andy Jones showed up to give a poetry presentation at Marguerite Montgomery School Tuesday morning he was able to travel light – courtesy his iPad.
The iPad could be an important aspect of the classroom in the near future, Jones said.
“At least as a reading device, the iPad is an important aspect of the future of learning,” he said.
The iPad, a cross between a laptop and an iPod touch, is 7.5 by 9.6 inches, half an inch thick and operates via touchscreen.
Jones, an early adapter of teaching technology at UC Davis, said he was convinced to buy an iPad while on a recent trip to the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Nara, Japan. When speaking with the faculty at NAIST, Jones raised the idea of the iPad as an important development in terms of future learning trends.
“I brought up the iPad as a device students could upload all their textbooks to and annotate their notes,” he said. Jones returned from his trip and bought an iPad, which he has used in the classroom several times.
“That’s the fifth presentation I’ve given partially on an iPad since I got mine two weeks ago,” said Jones, speaking about his poetry presentation at Marguerite Montgomery School. Jones’ presentation on poetry featured a dice-rolling program that Jones incorporated with handouts he gave the students in addition to a musical slideshow he played while the children worked.
“For these really young kids there was a ‘gee-whiz’ factor,” he said. “Also I didn’t have to worry about losing dice. That program also lets you shake the iPad to make the dice roll, so the kids enjoyed that.”
While Jones was able to use the iPad in his poetry presentation in addition to two of his UC Davis classes, the device is not without limitations.
“It works pretty well, but works for only a limited number of programs,” he said.
The iPad has had documented troubles with complex mulitasking similar to what someone would expect from a laptop. Jones, while noting how the iPad in its current incarnation could be useful as an electronic book-reading device for English majors, said that currently he thinks the iPad “functions best as a recreation device.”
Despite the problems with first generation iPads, the device has flown off the shelves.
Sales have been so heavy, in fact, that demand in the U.S. for the device has forced Apple to push back the international release date of the iPad until late May. Consumers outside the U.S. still want an iPad, however, which has created a secondary market for the device for smaller electronic stores and websites like eBay.com, often at inflated prices. iPads available on eBay can go for as much as $2,000.
The iPad is currently sold at Apple retail stores and certain Best Buy locations. According to Best Buy representatives, the Woodland location is currently out of stock and did not know when a new shipment would arrive.
While Jones got his iPad through the TechHub at the UC Davis bookstore, the outlet is currently only able to sell iPads to school departments due to a contract with Apple.
UC Davis students and Davis residents interested in purchasing an iPad are best off trying their luck at the Apple Store in the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, where 16 gigabyte iPads are still in stock.
A new iPad model, which features both Wi-Fi wireless connectivity and 3G cellular connectivity, will hit store shelves on Apr. 30.
RICHARD PROCTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.