Reflections: How I use my iPad for academic practices

iPad screen

This research project focuses on how academics use their iPads for academic practices. I am turning the spotlight on myself on how I use my institutional-issued iPad for academic practices and also which apps I use.

(1) Teaching and Learning: I don’t teach at the moment so I don’t use my iPad for the design and delivery of teaching. I have however just bought the Keynote app for my iPad (£6.99) and the Keynote remote app for my iPhone (£0.69) with the intention of designing and delivering future presentations using the iPad. I also had to buy the iPad VGA adapter (£25) to connect the device with any projector. I plan to watch some Youtube videos for best practice tips on using the two keynote apps. I am aware you can transfer your PowerPoint slides via iTunes into your Keynote app for the iPad which is handy so I don’t have to start the design process from scratch. I have been to a few recent presentations where the presenters used their iPads to deliver their presentations and it looked good.

I do use the Timer+ app on my iPad during conference presentations as a presentation timer. I set up my iPad facing me so that I can keep track of how much time I have left on the clock. I have not exceeded my allocated presentation time since I started using the Timer+ app on my iPad.

(2) Research – Most of the survey respondents so far state that they use their iPads for research and administrative purposes more than teaching and learning. I have to say that I do as well but then again I don’t teach. The iPad is a great e-reader. I use it to read most of my iPad research journal articles which are stored in my Dropbox. I have bought and tried several annotation iPad apps like Goodreader, neu.Annotate+, and DocAS with mixed results. My favourite app for reading and gathering content is Notability. I import the journal articles from Dropbox in Notability and use my stylus to highlight key sections in the journal article using the app’s different highlighter colours. The use of the iPad and the two apps (Dropbox and Notability) for journal reading and highlighting has enabled me to go 90% paperless with regards to this activity as I don’t have to print the PDF journal articles to read them.

Other apps that I use for research purposes are Flipboard, Zite, Pocket and Google. I plan to do a separate post in the future on how I use these specific apps for research.

(3) Administrative practices – Majority of academics and knowledge workers who use the iPad state that one of the device’s strengths is the fact that it is great for administrative productivity. The iPad’s size and quick boot-time means that it is a great portable device to take to meetings. The key apps I use for admin tasks are Mail (which is great and convenient for when I are outside the office), Calendar (to check where next I need to be when also on the move), Dropbox (to access key meeting documents which ensures I am paperless most of the time) and Notability or Notes (I use either one for note taking at meetings).

Apps I just acquired to test over the next few weeks:

  • Google Drive for iPad (Free) – for additional cloud storage in addition to Dropbox.
  • Flickr for iPhone (Free) – to capture and store my own copyright owned images I can use for presentations and blog posts.
  • Action Notes (£1.99) – for note taking and goal setting purposes. This was recommended by a colleague
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