Wednesday, 9 June 2010

First reaction to the iPad

I've mixed feelings about the two iPads we've recently purchased.

As a Mac, iPod Mini, Nano, Touch and iPhone owner/user (and Apple fanboy) I obviously think it's a great addition: great-looking and really fast access to the web, email, Twitter etc..

However, my optimistic belief that we could order 6 + and use them in ed tech staff development workshops is beginning to waiver. Although in a workshop I ran yesterday it was well received - "Many thanks for a very interesting session and we all enjoyed it. We are also greatly in love with the I-Pad" - how long can the wow factor last?

Kingston University staff check out the iPad at recent Facebook session

I've argued elsewhere that it feels too limited in what it can do in spite of multiple apps which extend its capabilities. It offers more than an iPod Touch but much less than a cheaper netbook (Asus, Acer etc.) occupying a niche for which I hadn't realised there was any demand.

For example, the iPad doesn't allow me to upload local files to sites I use regularly from what I can see (notice the greyed-out choose file to upload buttons on Flickr screen shot below).

It's the same story with Facebook and with Blackboard and, I expect, other sites too.

Am I being naive and technologically inept in expecting it to be able to do this sort of stuff? After all, it is just a bigger iPod Touch. But I can take pictures on my iPhone and use apps to post them to Flickr or Twitter. Compared to the iPhone, the iPad feels like a massive step backwards into a world of content produced by others for us users to consume.

I'm not at all sure Apple's lean-back media consumption device is much good in education and I don't think I'll be ordering any more for work. However, I may well be unable to resist the temptation to buy one myself for personal couch computing.


Jo Badge said...

blimey - this is a problem. i had just assumed that as it browsed the web it would do everything that any other web browser would do.

Tony McNeill said...

Me too. I've got documents - videos, pictures etc. on the iPad but I've no way of uploading any file on the iPad to Blackboard, Elgg, Wordpress (to mention Kingston University hosted services) as well as third-party sites like Flickr and Facebook. Really annoying as the experience of using Safari on the iPad is Macbook-pro like and you expect to be able to do everything you can on a regular Mac. Hmmm ...

Jools said...

I would imagine some enterprising developer will come along with a solution for uploading files to Blackboard, Moodle etc? Don't know whether something like Goodreader or Dropbox might do the trick (with added functionality) but you seem to be right, unless I've missed something there is no way to upload files from Safari. Still, I think its also good to focus on what it CAN do for staff rather than focus too much on the (real and important) weaknesses.

Robert Campbell said...

Are we saying that the existing iPhone apps like Wordpress don't work on an iPad?

We're working on an iPhone/iPad application to distribute assessments and RLO's as well as allow students to post blogs and their assessment responses to an e-portfolio.

Nick Sharratt said...

You can certainly upload to Flickr, picasa and many other services - but need 3rd party apps to do so. I believe there's an iPhone app for blackboard (not checked) and more sure there's one for moodle (or being developed) - but no idea if either of these support uploading files.

Perhaps the answer is not to upload files to those services but use cloud services to host them (drop box, google docs etc) which definitely have many apps that support them and then provide links to these locations?

I have another issue with a strange psychological effect I'm fininding with the iPad - where as with an iPhone I would take lots of notes in meetings or presentations, with the iPad I find it sits on my lap and I forget to actually use it, so paradoxically I'm taking fewer and worse notes despite the improved tools! - I plan to blog about this soon once I've reflected on it further....if I get around to it on the iPad :)

Tony McNeill said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the comments. I've used a couple of Flickr apps - flickr sendr which only lets me choose from my 'Saved photos' (i.e. screen shots from the iPad) and not my 'Photo Library'(i.e. photos transferred onto the iPad) and also the Flickr app . use (which allows uploads from both). So, I'd recommend the latter ...

See for the two examples