Graduate School and the iPad

I have owned an iPad since last April, but never really used it to its fullest potential on campus.  Last semester, I took a picture of all the books and articles I read through out the semester.  The fact of the matter was I downloaded all the articles from BlackBoard and recycled them at the end of the semester since I had saved a digital copy on my computer.  This made me realize that I really needed to use the iPad for more than just email, web, and entertainment.  There had to be an app that would allow me to create a folder system for my classes, and there was.  I found the app GoodReader for $2.99.  I figured it would be worth it for an app that worked on the iPad and iPhone (since I have both).  I purchased the app last fall and began to work with it.  I decided it was the best candidate for this semester.

Steve Jobs Unveils the iPad, January 27, 2010

A week before classes began, I created a folder system within GoodReader which broke down the course by week.  This would allow me to download the PDF files from BlackBoard directly to GoodReader on the iPad and place it in the proper folder.  It may sound complicated, but it makes things much easier than keeping track of a paper version of the article.  After all, printing the articles seemed like a waste of paper when I could just as easily read them on the iPad.

When the semester began, I downloaded the readings for week two for my courses and placed them within the proper folders.  I always have my iPad with me on campus, and so now when I have a free moment, I can read articles for class while on campus.  With the paper versions, I would have to bring them with me if I wanted to do that, and there is no guarantee free time will present itself.

After working with the iPad for almost a year, and experimenting with reading PDF files on it for three weeks, I can honestly say it makes my life easier.  I could have just as easily purchased a laptop (or kept my MacBook), but the iPad is much thinner and a pound lighter than the lightest MacBook Air.  The touch interface also make the reading of articles easier as I can easily adjust the zoom using a pinching motion.  As a student, the iPad does everything I want it to do and more.

Screen shot of GoodReader’s Folder System

Apple’s Steve Jobs described the iPad last year as “magical.”  But he was not far off.  There is something more intimate about the iPad over a laptop or even a desktop.  I find that I am using the iPad more than my iPhone!  I may be a little biased, but the iPad is truly a multi-talented product that has changed the way we think about computing.  That was evident at this years Consumer Electronics Show.  Over 40 new tablets were demoed and will be released by the end of this year.  The iPad is making my grad school experience a little easier, and I look forward to using it for years to come!

Next weekend, I will begin reviewing my classes by looking at HIST 696.  Until then…


(P.S.  I wanted to take a little space to express my sincere wishes that Steve Jobs get well soon so that he may return to Apple from his Medical Leave of Absence.)


1 Comment

Filed under Courses, JMU, Tech

One response to “Graduate School and the iPad

  1. Great post Eric! I have always thought that a tablet PC would be excellent to use for school. Thanks!


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