What a Tablet Does, and Doesn't, Do…

I’ve been using my iDevice almost exclusively since I got it back in March 2012, and I’m not sure I’m thrilled with the results. Here is my take on using an iDevice (insert your tablet of choice… the issues are similar with each of them)…

Pros:

  • More reading. I’ve read tons more books. I check them out from the library, purchase them from Amazon, and generally consume lots of information. I read the news regularly now on the device.
  • More connection with family. My extended family uses FaceTime extensively to keep in touch. I can wash dishes and talk with my mom at the same time. #sweet
  • More connection with local people. I tend to use the device to extend conversations, take notes, etc. for face to face meetings. And there are really great multiplayer family games that we use at a moments notice.
  • Less paper clutter. Now that I have trained myself, receipts and notes and everything just goes straight in… I love Notability especially for drawing out garden ideas and taking notes at meetings.
  • Less email time. I find it’s pretty easy to junk my mail on a device. I think it’s because of some of the cons I list below.
  • Better focus. I’m not jumping all over the place… which leads me to the cons…

Cons:

  • Less writing. My blogging has pretty much come to a screeching halt. It’s too hard to write quickly, edit, add pictures, etc. on the device. I have a keyboard, but having to punch the home button repeatedly to scroll through applications, copy/paste etc. just makes writing a pain. So I haven’t done that. And I miss it.
  • Less typing. Anywhere. Email, blog posts, comments, Facebook… I don’t like typing on the iDevice. I don’t like the way it goes back and autocorrects in the strangest of ways, making me sound like an illiterate, grammatically stunted person. I use less words when I do actually type, which generally means less communication.
  • Fewer online connections. It’s just more difficult to keep up with Twitter and everything else. No quick tabbing from one thing to the next, or seeing notifications pop up while writing a post.
  • Less production in general. I play with the Pages app, but there are definite limitations. Which means that checklist I started back in August still hasn’t been perfected and we are limping along with something much less than I would have produced on a laptop with much more time.
  • Less creativity. It’s not a creation device in any way… yes, I can make cool cards, or scrapbooky things, but in general, it’s hard and time consuming to create.

Lessons Learned:

  1. It is not a laptop replacement. Period. I really wanted it to be.
  2. It is a great way to read and learn and use in a group setting without the ‘screen wall’ that goes up with laptops.
  3. I need to work with both devices regularly. I need to use the iDevice as a book and the laptop as my pen and paper.

Ramifications for Education?

See #3 above. Students need to have access to a way to easily connect, create and explore…. not just read, consume, and play. Can the iDevice do that? Ja. Is it easy? No. Will students find it hard to do if they are only used to using an iDevice? I don’t know. Right now, I think they still need both. Or access to both.

What about you?

(A funny aside…. I can’t tell you how many times recently I have touched the screen on my laptop to click or move something…)