iPad and language

First, the language. I was contemplating today why an event is called a function. I was wondering about the etymology of it. I don’t have anything handy to check on it, and my rather desultory attempts online have not helped. But it’s a curious idea, isn’t it? To function is to behave in a certain fashion, with the assumption that function is correct, and malfunction is faulty. So how does one get from there to function as in, I shall attend the function. I do get the synecdoche of functionary, where a person is reduced to their use-value or a representative part of such (think hired hand). Anyhow, was pondering that today.

I also got an iPad today. Well, it isn’t mine. It belongs to the campus. I do get to use it indefinitely, however. I’m just now trying to get it set up. It’s got very basic programs on it right now. Which is to say, I’m going to have to get iPages for it, or some such. But I have to investigate what sorts of writing programs and etc. will work for it. I also know that could get a keyboard to attach, but don’t know if it’s worth it. It’s heavier than I thought. I don’t think it would make me a good reader. I’m supposed to use it for educational purposes in the classroom, but I’ll be honest, I have no idea how. Nor does my department. We got these things without any plan of how to make them teaching tools. So I’m going to have to explore that.

Does anyone out there have an iPad? Do you have any thoughts on ways to use it for a purpose (which is to say, for more than mail/facebook/twitter/games. I can figure those out. It’s got 32gigs and and doesn’t seem to be retina display. I would be surprised if it was.


  • Roseaponi

    Squee! I love my iPad. I don’t teach (other than my kids, and they’d just want to play on it) but I’ve seen some good stuff you can do with peripherals. There’s a screen projector you can get and of course speakers, if you’d like to do a movie or a presentation. If you have access to an AirPrint compatible printer (I don’t) you can print from it.
    My alma mater implemented iPads for all the teachers and students – comes with tuition, I guess. The first thing I think of is having ebooks for textbooks. Imagine, going to class with an iPad instead of a backpack full of books. Really good ebooks with audio and links, maybe. 🙂
    The camera is grainy unless the lighting is perfect, but you can snap pictures and record video without adding an app. Notes – I write my grocery list on the iPad now. I can see what I buy regularly. 
    Storyist is an app that formats novels, scripts, etc. and has subfolders for notes, characters, pictures. I have hardly begun getting into it. Social media is quick and easy – Facebook, Pinterest, Livejournal, Goodreads and all have apps. Ebooks are easy – all the ereaders have apps. If something is on sale for the Kindle, it’s also in sale for the Kindle app. If you shop around there are free magazine subscription deals too.
    Mostly, I like having 90% of the functions of a computer and being able to take it wherever I am. You can’t display Flash and some websites and forms aren’t mobile-ready, but most are.
    You can probably deal with the onscreen keyboard, but you need a case that will double as a stand, because you aren’t going to want to carry it all the time and it’s slick. Mine got a ding in the corner the first month. Go ahead and get a clear screen protector too, and a stylus if you want to write or sketch or if tapping the screen keyboard will be easier with it.
    Maybe set up a contest for your students to come up with classroom uses for it, too.
    Enjoy! 🙂
    (since resistance is futile anyway ;))

  • Adrianne

    Hubby has 3G on his, and uses it as his navigational device when he travels. I read on my iPad. I think my kids should use theirs as their textbook reader, but neither one has embraced the concept, partly because many text books aren’t digital yet.

    Much as I like the thought of writing on my iPad when I’m out and about, I find that I’d rather carry my laptop. The laptop’s not that much heavier. And word processing software that allows me to do what I want to do doesn’t work on both devices. I use Scrivener on my mac, but they don’t have an iPad version yet. I tried Pages and Word, but have serious problems with both. Plus, I didn’t go for 3G, and often when I want to write I’m in a place where there is no wi-fi. So if it’s not on disc, it’s not with me.

    I like the idea of computers as teaching devices, but I don’t think what we need now are computers/laptops/ipads, so much as software. For math and most science courses, we need a professor to give a 10 minute lecture on concept, follow it up with a demo on how to do a new type of problem, and then have the computer provide students with problems, and when they fail, demonstrate how to do the problem. Homework assignments would bring back problems from previous units, emphasizing the ones the individual had the most trouble with.

    Writing and literature classes would need a different format, and may be better done in a group setting. I know the best philosophy, history, and literature classes I ever had were led by professors who encouraged students to think things through, come up with alternative interpretations, and defend their ideas against the logic of others.

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