Last semester, spotting that one kid in class with an iPad was a big deal. However, after everyone came back from winter break, it seems there are now at least three in every classroom — now including my own. Whether you splurged and bought it yourself or you were spoiled and received it as a gift, the presence of iPads on campus is on the rise at the University of South Carolina.
You may be feeling a little jealous of the tablet-toting students or just think they look silly attempting to type on such a device, but either way you are still probably wondering, “Is buying an iPad worth it?” That is why I’ve broken down the pros and cons of the iPad to see if it’s worth the hefty $500 price tag.
In the classroom
Like I said, I am that girl in class who pulls up PowerPoint slides, types class notes and maybe does a little bit of Facebook stalking before class begins. When it comes to classwork, the iPad is my go-to device. Believe it or not, typing on this thing (yes, I typed this whole post via iPad) is a breeze! Vertically, the keyboard is a little small, but as long as you are using it horizontally it won’t take more than a day to adjust.
Also, with all the free (and a few not so free) applications out there, the tablet can access PowerPoints, documents posted on Blackboard and even has a great way to email documents right from the word processor app. Finally, the best aspect is the portability of this device. Coming from someone who bought a 14-pound laptop (I was essentially carrying a small child in my backpack), this feature is key. Overall in the classroom it’s definitely a win.
Ease of use
As someone who is technologically challenged, I had some difficulties getting the hang of the iPad. Within the first two days of receiving it, I didn’t even turn it on because I was so confused about how to do the initial startup. Of course I hear reading the directions could help, but that was out of the question. So after downloading my first few apps (including Angry Birds of course) the only thing I utilized the iPad for was solitaire. Great, I thought, I just paid $500 for touch screen cards…
So after deciding I needed to get my money’s worth, I went ahead and scheduled a lesson with a fellow iPad owner. Two hours and $20 worth of apps later, I was set. Email, Internet, presentations, word processing and calendars — I knew it all! Most programs have a brief intro of how to use them once you download them, so this was a great lesson for me and I definitely suggest this to anyone looking to get maximum use out of this product.
If anything, this is one reason I love my iPad. I had no idea about the crazy 10-hour battery life of this small device when I got it! I used the tablet for a whole week before I charged it for the first time. I thought once I downloaded a bunch of apps and used the Internet more often that the battery life would be shot for sure, but nope! I use my iPad all day and it has never died on me. What a win.
Just a big iTouch?
There is one major drawback to the iPad: Isn’t it just a bigger, overpriced version of the iTouch? Essentially, yes. But, honestly, what Apple product isn’t overpriced? Get used to it. However, for typing abilities as well as reading documents, the larger size is essential.
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