My digital revolution

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


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3 Responses to My digital revolution

  1. Great post Shân, glad to see you have bonded with your new iPad 🙂 I tried an iPad for a couple of weeks and didn’t really bond, I like my Photoshop, final cut video editing and flash web content that iPad fails to support, so the Mac air does the job for me. The two week iPad trial also presented new challenges, mainly how to get it off my 7 year old son, and then when I say its not good to be ‘glued’ to the screen I feel bad being consonantly ‘glued’ to the screen myself, how long is too long for adults and kids, do we distinguish, is it the activity, work and play is there a difference?

    I know what you mean about the stack of paper, I’m big into backups but its a lot easier to lose and lose track of digital documents and their many replications.

  2. Shân Wareing says:

    Thanks Chris! I’ve lied to my children about my iPad – I said it was borrowed and I had to take it back, and it’s hidden where they can’t find it – though I don’t suppose I’ll be able to sustain that fabric of deceit for very long. How long is too long, and when is the wrong time, and how’s it the same/different for adults or children? what a great question. I’ll go away & think about that

  3. Charlotte says:

    Shan you’ll have to stop writing such engaging posts if you don’t want to distract your team from getting on with their work 🙂 I think many of us now have bionic limbs…

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