So it arrives, my new bit of kit. A bit of a school yard status symbol, I feel like the last kid at Academic Standards & Development Committee to get an iPad. Will I make enough use of it to justify the iPad sized hole it made in our budget? Or will it gather dust like a juicer in the kitchen, a reminder of how unrealistic our self-image and aspirations are. The big potential use for me would be committee meetings. I have probably about three inches of papers to read a week, all of which have to be printed off and collated. I lug them around to read on my daily train journeys, cart them into meetings and then stash in a pile till I recycle them a year later. Colleagues at meetings whizz between papers on laptops & iPads, and Nancy appears to have been physically welded to her iPad like a bionic extra limb; she says she’s stopped using paper altogether. But I have tried and failed to read on screen, and I feel secure with a large pile of paper: I use the size of the stack to estimate the workload (I had to assess an electronic portfolio a few months ago and was right up against the deadline because I couldn’t judge its scale accurately, and therefore didn’t set aside enough time). I can fish out a particular paper to reuse in other conversations, and most of all, I believe I need a pen in my hand to think. Annotating my papers with scribbles is how I engage with the content.
The iPad sits there, shiny, inanimate, a reminder of my hubris, thinking I can change my life via technology. I don’t feel any particular bond with it. I can use it to open papers sent as email attachments but can’t see anywhere to save them.
I ask Nancy what annotation tools she uses and she gives me a list. I can’t download anything. It turns out I already have an iTunes account so my daughter can download ‘design a princess wardrobe’ and ‘cut the rope’ apps to my work iPhone when I’m cooking tea. She has the password. The PAs and committee clerks are circling. They have a great investment in this working out. Who likes photocopying committee minutes for other people?
So what’s my iTunes password? This could be a deal breaker. Amazingly my 9 year old remembers it and it works. I find the Annotation Apps; iTunes finds my credit card. I seem to have previously bought a lot of 69p apps of princess and Barbie games. I leave the annotation apps downloading and put a wash on, put socks away, read stories, wash up, and go to bed.
At 2am I come downstairs. Vivien woke 3 times with a tummy bug and I’ve changed three nappies since going to bed a few hours before. Then Rob our 4 year old came into our bed, and then the cat got onto the bed and asked for its breakfast. So I give up trying to sleep and come down for a cup of tea. Have my apps loaded up? Yes they have. I spend 2 hours downloading papers & setting up folders. It’s AMAZING! Look at my folders – so neat, so efficient. Look, I can highlight PDFs and write myself notes on them! I look for more papers to download, read and annotate, because it’s so much fun. I think it’s going to be OK. I think the iPad & I have bonded.
Sent from my iPad