Here’s some more stuff:
AP Euro: We looked at a map, and took some notes.
Band: Percussionists played games while wind players warmed up; at the end of class, she told us how to e-mail a playing quiz to her.
STEM I: After brainstorming locker designs, we looked up a few sample designs, and took pictures of potential areas for the lockers.
Chemistry: We took a quiz on the Metric system, and e-mailed it to the teacher.
So we didn’t do anything totally awesome. It’ll take time to transition to paperless; the teachers have been using paper all their lives.
I like the multitasking system the iPad has; you can double-tap the Home button to bring up a list of all the apps currently loaded. So I can leave the game I’m playing (cue World of Goo), glance at my e-mail, then go back without having to load the whole thing again, or even restart the level. I wish you could split the screen into two. Or perhaps if they sold a second screen you could just connect with Bluetooth or a cable. It could even have a bit of extra RAM to offset the extra screenspace and support the additional data.
As a tablet, it’s extremely convenient. It’s very light and compact, and it’s masterfully simple design (though personally I’d sacrifice that for more versatility). The drawbacks are that it’s very fragile and has a short battery life (depending on what you’re doing).
I think that an iPad would be a better choice for most classroom settings, excluding any but the most basic technology courses. Those need a PC or a Mac.
For my personal use, I still haven’t decided yet. It IS extremely convenient, and every app launches very quickly. As far as games go, if I’m playing a 3D game, give me a mouse & keyboard or a controller over a touch screen any day. That said, there are many, many creative apps out there that are incredibly innovative, and would not work as well on any other type of interface.
I forgot to mention, the iPad came with a case. It’s the ‘smart’ case, meaning the front cover can fold into three plates that can, in turn, form a triangle which is used to prop the iPad up.
And yes, we are allowed to install apps onto it. I’ve already put a few games on it, each of which run a lot faster on the iPad than on my 2nd-gen iTouch. We just can’t play them at school.
Also, they’re iPad 2s.
Here’s a little more info about how we’re using the iPads:
English II: We downloaded ‘Bullfinch’s Mythology’ and started reading it in iBooks. So far, it’s a good read.
Latin I: Nothing specifically. She did mention that we were going to get a Latin dictionary soon, also in iBooks. And she let us take notes on it if we wanted to.
US Gov/Contemporary Issues: We looked up certain parts of the Constitution and it’s amendments to answer questions. For homework, we wrote up a paragraph for each of a few Founding Fathers then e-mailed it to her.
Algebra II: We had the option to use a whiteboard app for our work.
That’s all for now; I’ll have four different classes tomorrow. We’re supposed to be going almost totally paperless soon. That’ll be a relief- then I can stop carrying around eight folders and a binder.
Today, the teachers at the STEM school distributed iPads to all the students. It really is very nice, but I’ll reserve final judgement until I’ve used it for longer than half a day.
I’m writing this up on my iPad. The keyboard is essentially the same, but I can’t hit one key then drag my finger onto another key like I do with my Netbook. (That may not be how I was told to do it, but hey, it works. Pretty quick, too.) To be fair, I sometimes can. It’s not as regular, though. Other than that… Not many problems so far. The screen’s actually bigger than the Netbook’s, which is kinda pathetic. Score one for the iPad.
However, Apple won’t let someone make a Python (or for that matter, any programming language) terminal app. Their coding will let it be done; you can have one if you jailbreak your iPad. They just don’t want it. Maybe legal reasons? Maybe it’s an attempt to prevent someone from screwing their machine up? I’d say they just don’t want it. (It could be legal jargon. That seems less likely, though.)
I felt the need to document this historic moment. It could be the start of a fantastic new school that revolutionizes Knoxville’s education system. I certainly hope so. As far as I can tell, KCS just needs to realize that not all kids learn the same way. A lot of my teachers from years past didn’t seem to get that; fortunately, however, the teachers at the STEM Academy are doing very well with it so far. Especially the math teacher. She came flat out with it, saying she actually enjoyed thinking of new ways to teach the same stuff.
So yeah, I’m hopeful.