Category Archives: ipad

You can do what with the iPad?

Many people see the iPad as a BIG iPod touch, something that is used to view content on. Though it does have a microphone, unlike the iPhone is does not have a camera.

There is though one aspect of the iPad that Apple have announced that I think some people have missed and that will be the availability of iPad versions of the iWork applications. Apple will at the same time as they release the iPad, release iPad versions of their presentation software, Keynote, wordprocessing software, Pages and spreadsheet software, Numbers.

There are also rumours that Microsoft may be working on a version of Office for the iPad.

So what does this all mean?

Well is turns the iPad from a mainly content consumption device to a device that can allow the user to both consume and create content.

So what you may say, I have a laptop that does just that!

Well it’s pretty certain that the iPad is no laptop, even Steve Jobs in his iPad announcement says that the iPad sits between the iPhone and a laptop.

However I don’t see the iPad replacing my laptop all the time, but in some circumstances I can see it replacing it some of the time.

For example in meetings, the iPad is going to be more useful than a laptop for checking information, using Pages to make notes, etc…

Likewise in conferences (where there are in some sessions no tables), the iPad (with the long battery life) will make it easier to engage in the back channel, makes notes, check URLs, share thoughts and impressions, and all the other conference stuff that at the moment most people do with a notepad and a pencil.

For learners an iPad may be a better device to bring to lessons, with easy access to e-books (and these may be getting more engaging and interactive), internet access, web tools; the ability to also create notes using Pages, or enter notes using tools like Evernote more easily than on an iPod touch or iPhone, I can certainly see many learners preferring the lightweight feel of the iPad, over a heavier laptop. Then again they might want to buy a netbook!

I don’t use spreadsheets much so I don’t see much of a use for Numbers. However I do give a lot of presentations and having Keynote on the iPad makes a lot of sense to me.

I’ve always thought that Apple should have made a Keynote Presentation App for the iPhone; you would create your presentation on the Mac, sync to the iPhone and then on the iPhone would be a little App that allowed you to both view the App on the iPhone screen, or using the AV cable you can get, show the presentation through a projector or TV. One of the issues though with that is Apps can’t use the AV cable! I guess an Apple App could, but maybe not.

If Keynote on the iPad can use the AV Cable and hopefully then other applications will also be able to use the AV out.

Of course the Keynote App for the iPad allows you to create presentations, and I really do like using Keynote as my primary presentation tool.

Overall I think Keynote and Pages for the iPad, have turned the iPad into for me from a “maybe” purchase to a “more than likely” purchase.

So you were thinking that you wouldn’t buy an iPad!

So you were thinking that you wouldn’t buy an iPad!

Having watched the video, have you changed your mind?

So what of the future?

Can you predict the future?

Do you know what life will be like next year, in five years, in ten years?

Over the last year or so I have been doing a few keynotes and presentations entitled the future of learning. I do start with a caveat that I don’t know the future for sure and that no one can really predict the future…

Though as a reflective person I do look back at the work I have been doing on mobile learning and I think there are lessons to be learned about the journey I have travelled.

This is me in 2006 based on work I was doing in 2004 and 2005.


This work came from mobile stuff I was doing back in the late 1990s. Back then I worked for an organisation called at-Bristol, a hands-on science centre in the middle of Bristol.

One of the projects we started working on was with HP looking at how we could use an HP Jornada on our then fledgingly wireless network to allow visitors additional and enhanced information on webpages about the exhibits. One of the key questions at the time was how we got the URLs into the devices at the right place. Then we decided to use HP’s Jetsend IR technology to “squirt” the URL to the Jornada. Of course since then the technologies have moved on and importantly so have the public. Today you would probably let the visitors use their own devices and smartphones. You would use QR codes, Bluetooth or more probably in the future RFID to find out where the visitor was before sending them the information (or letting them access the information via QR codes). If the attraction was outside then GPS could be used. The key though was not the technology but the concept of enhancing a visitor’s experience with additional content through a mobile device.

After leaving at-Bristol and joining the Western Colleges Consortium, I continued to work on mobile learning; at that time there was no funding available.

When I was working on mobile learning all those years ago, the reason was that mobile phones and mobile devices were becoming more sophisticated and more useful to consumers and business. I knew then it would only be a matter of time before they become useful to education and importantly a focus for policy and funding.

And in 2007 along came MoLeNET, millions of pounds of capital funding with a focus on mobile learning in FE.

There is no way that I would call myself a futureologist, but from an FE perspective I am looking at how new technologies can enhance and enrich everyday life, as before long these technologies will enter education.

So the big question is what am I working on now? What do I think will have a real impact in education, not just for learners, but also for funding and projects.

Well I am not working on Second Life or MUVEs. These do have some great application to learning, however until consumers start to use these technologies a lot more, than we won’t see a big change in their use in education.

Social networking and Web 2.0 are very big in the consumer field at the moment, Facebook is everywhere and corporate and entertainment use of these tools is now much more widespread than it was just a year or two ago.

As a result policymakers will start to think about how these tools and services can be used in education. And where thinking starts, funding usually follows…

So what about next year or the year after?

Well for me the “next big thing” is e-Books and e-Book Readers. These will hit the consumer market big time over the next three years. We will see many more people reading books, magazines and newspapers via devices such as the Apple iPad, Microsoft Courier and other devices not yet on the market. More publishers and broadcasters will start to think about how they are going to use these devices and start offering content on them, think of BBC iPlayer and its availability on the iPhone.

As a result policymakers will start to think about how these new technologies can be used in education. And where thinking starts, funding usually follows…

You see at the end of the day, it will not be how these products are used by educators, it’s how they are taken up and used by consumers and business. Whether that is right or wrong, is not really the case, as more often this is how it happens now, and has happened over the last twenty to thirty years, with most technologies.

Will the iPad have a camera?

So will Apple’s new iPad have a camera?

The original announcement back in January, no mention was made of any kind of camera.

So what’s changed?

Well in the recently released (and very quickly removed) iPad SDK from Apple there is a photos App. Well nothing new there, the iPod touch that doesn’t have a camera also has a photos App. There is a mention in the photos App for a camera.

Now I am not sure if there will be a camera in the first generation iPad, we already know there’s going to be a camera attachment to allow you to plug in a camera via USB or read an SD Card.

I suspect that this is the reason for the camera tab.

I can’t see from the design of the iPad and how it will be held how a facing camera would work, it’s not like the iSight in an iMac or a MacBook Pro. I guess an iPhone camera on the “back” could work.

If the iPhone is anything to go by, we’ll probably in a year to eighteen months see a “new” revised iPad with new features. I don’t think we’ll see a camera in this first generation model.

Books that teachers can rewrite digitally

The New York Times reports on the introduction by Macmillan of DynamicBooks.

Macmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.

Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

I have in a previous blog post, just before the release of Apple’s iPad discussed Sports Illustrated’s concept of a digital magazine. Current e-Books are either very much plain text with simple diagrams (designed to be read on e-Book Readers) or can only be accessed through a browser (such as Ebrary).

Since seeing the iPad, and having talked about e-Books in the past, I can see future e-Books being more than text, with animated diagrams, video clips. DynamicBooks allows practitioners even more control in these new e-Books.

Interesting to note that:

The modifiable e-book editions will be much cheaper than traditional print textbooks.

This may mean that there will be a first choice for many practitioners and learners.