09 September 2010

First iPad Thoughts

I got an iPad to investigate mobile work and learning. I'm tying work to learning because each frames habits of mind and practice that inform the other. My initial entry into the work/learn processes the iPad facilitates are productivity processes. These are apps like those for note-taking, mind-mapping and organizing. On the one hand, they facilitate rudimentary processes for learning; on the other, they open up avenues for reflection, critical thinking, brainstorming and ideation.

But let's put this into perspective for a minute. I carry around a pad and pen (paper and ink) because I often get ideas I want to jot down. Some of my best ideas come when I'm in the bus. At work, when I go to meetings, I can take along paper and ink, my laptop, my iPhone, or now the iPad. Each of these options affords a level of ease and complication in service to the tasks at hand.

If I operationalized ease and complication, I'd come up criteria like context, activities and goals. For example, screens are useless in the sunlight and damaged by rain. I type faster than I write by hand, but I write faster than I can type on the iPad or the iPhone. Three people can pass around an iPad more easily than a laptop, which they can all huddle around more easily than the iPad, phone or paper.

No easy answers. I will tell you though, that in the bus, typing on the iPad works better than writing on my notepad. The end result is more "legible."