iPad mobile learning

What's here:

  • Intro to the iPad and mobility
  • 7 Promising Apps for learning


I've only had this infernal device for a few days now, and I'm trying to give it a chance to prove its usefulness. My tendency is to be annoyed that I have this great computer in my lap but I can't pust stuff onto it without going onto ... iTunes... only on the Mac at work... and then I can copy some PDFs onto there for reading.

That said, once you've got them on there, it's a pretty nice experience.


7 Promising Apps

1. Documents reading and writing - Apple put together a fancy looking suite of apps to edit documents created by their iWork line of software. But nobody uses that. Everybody uses Microsoft office, or, possibly Google Docs, where they edit Office documents.

So my recommendation for basic document editing is Documents-to-go Cost: $10-16


2. PDF Reader - I've been using Stanza, to read simple PDF files. This is the famous E-book method, which promises to undermine the textbook cartel and disrupt higher education forever. Don't hold your breath.

Were you looking for a revolution? This is it. It's a boring one. Email was the (boring) revolution that the internet brought, and PDF reading is the (boring) revolution that these slate computers will bring. If I used a quarter of its memory on books, I'd have 4 Gigabytes ... which would be... uh... a few million pages of text, or pretty much any book I could think of to be relevant in a 4 year college education. The only hurdle at this point is licensing fees and licensing issues. You think I should pay $10 a book to amazon when I can't even make copies or backups... hummmm I'll get back to you on that one.

Cost: Free reader app. Book costs vary.


3. Flashcards - It's not high tech, but flash cards, (or technically, spaced-repetition,) is a proven method of learning material. Plenty of research and development has gone into the science of spaced repetition, and there exist a handful of apps which leverage this knowledge. My favorite is Anki, which can be run online, on Windows, linux, mac, ipad, and a variety of other platforms. Cost: $25


4. RSS Aggregator - This phenomenon hasn't quite taken the world by storm, but it is an important tool in the arsenal of any info-warrior. Reeder seems to be the top of the pack: with it you can follow dozens or hundreds of websites in an efficient, quick way. Cost: $5


5. Information Appliance: Google's great, but time and information marches on. Wolfram Alpha is a web service that does its best to smarten up search results and queries even more than Google. Think of it as a general purpose question-answerer. Great for math and engineering types keeping units straight and looking up equations. Wolfram has the street cred of some of the gnarliest (that is, most well respected) abstract mathematics analysis software on the market for at least a decade. They know what they're doing. Cost: $1.99.


6. Whitenote, takenotes, instapaper, coursnotes, synotes slate, evernote ... these all compete for the privlige of letting you write things down. I need to look more to see if any are anywhere near as good as that archaic pencil and paper. I'm doubting it, but keeping an open mind.


7. coming soon!  (sketches, layers, artbookpro, artstudio) Which drawing app is best?


alan kay's dynabook
The real romance is out ahead and yet to come. The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas. -- Alan Kay

Honorable Mentions:

Wikipedia Reader for iPad. You know you use it.


Index Card

iA Writer

Sketch Pad

Penultimate & Handwriting