>iPads are just really cool!

>I went to this iPad seminar this afternoon and am totally flabbergasted by how powerful it really is. Yeah, I knew you could use it to read books, play Angry Birds, take notes, watch netflix, keep your calendars, listen to music, watch YouTube, etc… I learned a lot in this seminar but am trying to figure out what would be best to take back to my work peeps. I’m supposed to present what I learned.

It was mostly about using iPads in education. How colleges and schools are using it in their classrooms now and how they believe this is going to change the way kids learn. Instead of forbidding the devices in the classroom, give them one and allow them to use it. A totally new concept. The speaker, Keith Mountin, had a graph that showed 52% of the kids who had iPads in class were actually using them to take notes. That was higher than the percent of kids who were playing games. (We were supposed to laugh here.)

The main point I think the library would be interested in was the accessibility features. Keith showed us how a college kid who was deaf used his iPad to communicate with people. There are apps that can translate spoken words into text and even an app for sign language. There are swipe features you can use to zoom in on the screen for people who are visual impaired. It really reminded me of our Adaptive Workstation except instead of it being so desktoppy huge, it was all in the iPad. I wonder how much difference in cost they are?

I can definitely see some great potential of using the iPad in the library setting. They can be used for research (there was an app that featured interactive textbooks, historical timelines, maps, art, etc), periodicals (there are apps that aggregate news feeds from various news sites), the adaptive workstation as I mentioned above, they could even be used for our computer classes (there were presentation apps that you could be roving around the room and use the iPad to show your presentation instead of being locked behind the laptop). I know we mentioned the prospect of having roving librarians. Armed with an iPad, this would be totally possible. They wouldn’t have to go to the nearest computer to look something up, or they wouldn’t have to carry around a heavy laptop.

Marketing could also be done by using the iPad using social media. It’s now easier than ever to take a quick photo (with the iPad2) and post it on facebook right away. No more running back to the computer every time to post something. It’s easier to type on the iPad than it is a smart phone, just because of the size of it. The portability, ease of use, and functionality really make the iPad a huge asset in anyone’s hands.

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