I recently received a message from an administrator colleague who wanted to know how I use the iPad as an administrator. He was thinking about purchasing the device and was struggling with whether it would be a wise use of his money. I have been using the device for about four months now, and it is another tool in my educational device arsenal. The other tools include my two laptops and my Android phone. With these devices, I have been able to make technology fit more seamlessly into what I do as an administrator. I am continuing to explore ways to use the iPad in my role as an administrator. I will say at this point: It is not a replacement for a laptop and don’t think that is the intention of its manufacturer. So if administrators are thinking about purchasing iPads to replace laptops or desktop computers, I think they will miss the iPad’s true potential.
In an earlier blog post, I indicated that the iPad has provided me as an administrator with three main benefits. Those benefits continue to be true. With another two months of experimentation, I would now add a fourth benefit.
- The iPad increases the level of my connectivity to my school staff and members in my Personal Learning Network. The iPad’s size allows me to take it easily into meetings and other events where a laptop isn’t practical and my Droid phone is too hard to manipulate. I can use apps such as Skype, Google Talk, Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, Linkedin, and Friendly for Facebook to remain connected to the teachers in my building and remain connected to my personal learning network.
- The iPad increases my level of access to the cloud. By using apps like Dropbox, Go Docs, and Docs to Go I can access all documents related to my job anywhere I happen to be. Once I figure out how to get Cloud Printing to work, I think I can add another plus to this category.
- The iPad makes it easier to access tools to manage my day-to-day activities. With Evernote’s app, I have access to my To-Do List anywhere. I also can use this app to make notes during meetings, and I use it to list morning announcements to be made. The access to Google Calendar also allows me to use the iPad to schedule events too.
- The iPad e-reader apps allows me to carry professional reading with me where ever I go. I might also add enjoyment reading too, but we’ll omit that for the sake of productivity right now. By having the NOOK, iBook, and E-reader apps on my iPad, I can access professional reading anywhere without toting the books around. With the NOOK App and the iBook app, I can also upload those long PDF documents into libraries and access them from those apps too.
The iPad is now part of what I do on a daily basis. I carry it with me into meetings, when I’m walking around the building, and when I sitting in waiting rooms. While I would not necessarily advocate school systems spending money for blanket purchases of iPads for their administrators, especially in tight budget times, it can be a useful device for the school administrator. Getting one can be a wise investment.