In the Lunch & Learn session on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013, Janet Temos, Director of the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton, and Angel Brady, Instructional Technologist in the Humanities Resource Center at Princeton, gave an introductory talk for new users of the iPad, Apple’s famously popular tablet.
Temos started the talk by introducing the iPad’s interface, sometimes met with culture shock by long time users of desktop computers because of the touch based interface, which has different interactions than a mouse based interface. Using two fingers versus one and gesturing, or holding down your finger for an extra second have meaning on tablet interfaces, and no easy equivalent on a mouse based interface. Temos noted that collecting many applications can make navigating that large collection more difficult, but you can create folders on your iPad to organize those apps that go together, or to make sense of the way that you work. Janet has a folder just for presentation apps. From your home screen where your apps are listed, the clean interface may make you wonder how to do such a thing as adding a folder. If you hold your finger on an app for a few seconds (a long press gesture), the apps start to ‘shake’, at which point you can move or delete them. Shaking is a visual indicator on the iPad that you can make a change to the shaking items, such as deletion or moving. To create a folder, after a long press, drop one app on to another. To add an app to a folder, after a long press, drag it into the folder. While your apps collection may span several screens that you can swipe through, the dock (the area at the bottom of the iPad screen) remains constant. To store your most often used apps for quick opening, store them on the dock. When you are all done, hit the physical home button on the iPad to exit the ‘shaky’ editing mode.
Managing app processes and settings
Do a double press on the physical home button to see what apps are in memory. You can press each icon to remove the app from active memory, which relieves the processor from having to manage that app actively. You can customize the iPad dramatically via the Settings app. Add email accounts, join networks, and change your sound settings, among many other options. Temos suggests that you explore the settings and their effects to get deeply familiar with your iPad. You can also change the setting of each app here.
The iPad’s virtual on-screen keyboard works when a Bluetooth keyboard is not present. Long presses on this keyboard’s keys often give shortcuts to alternative characters and strings. A long press on O, for instance, gives many alternative versions of the O such as various accented versions.
You can manage and add to the installed apps on your iPad via the App Store. You must login to your iTunes account to buy, update and track apps, even the free ones. If you have to rebuild your iPad, you can reinstall previously purchased apps. You can visit the purchased area of the App Store app to see what you have installed in the past.
Temos suggested that while the iPad is a self-contained, fully working object, you can get many benefits from the various add-ons that you can buy for it.
Headphones make for a more private audio experience. A bluetooth keyboard can make your iPad into a small, highly portable laptop. A stylus can make drawing and writing on the iPad far easier than with your finger. Various dongles, ranging from $30-50 allow you to send your iPad screen to VGA, HDMI and other video interfaces, for display on a projector or a TV. You can also use an Apple TV, about $100, which allows you to show the iPad on-screen via a wireless display technology Apple calls Airplay. You can also use the Apple TV to buy and watch movies from Apple, or use your Netflix, Hulu, and other media services.
Security and cloud storage
Temos briefly mentioned that by default, you need only ‘swipe to unlock’ a running iPad, which is the default, but that you can set a password as an extra layer of defense so that if you lose your iPad or if it gets stolen, the finder or thief would need to guess or crack your password to make use of your data. Brady told the audience that you can add many cloud storage services to get access to those files. In particular, she described how you can add WebSpace via the WebDAV protocol, which both WebSpace and the iPad support. (http://helpdesk.princeton.edu/kb/display.plx?id=9924)
No talk about the iPad would be complete without sharing various useful apps for the audience to consider. Both Temos and Brady suggested apps that might make sense for faculty, staff and students at Princeton. Brady and Temos presented various levels of detail on the following applications.
The Orchestra (TouchPress)
This app allows you to explore the orchestra in innovative ways, including written explanations of instruments from musicians, a follow-along version of the score, and simultaneous shots of players and conductor during the performance. The app focuses on works by Haydn, Beethoven, Berlioz, Debussy and others. http://www.touchpress.com/blog/2012/12/our-creative-director-waxes-lyrical-about-orchestra/
If you want to watch courses on technology, business, and productivity, including a fantastic list of popular design applications like Photoshop, this app is a great place to get your fill. Because of Princeton’s site license for Lynda, Princeton faculty, staff, and students may use it for free. (http://lynda.princeton.edu)
The iPad’s front and rear facing camera allow you to take pictures or video of yourself or what’s in front of you. You can add a grid to help you to compose your shots. Connect via USB, use email, or use Photo Stream to move the photos from the iPad to your computer or elsewhere. (http://www.apple.com/icloud/features/photo-stream.html)
Note taking apps
Angel Brady presented a set of apps specifically for taking notes in the field, including Evernote, Notability, and others. She detailed her findings in this post at http://blogs.princeton.edu/etc/2013/02/20/field-note-taking-with-the-ipad/