Time for another What’s on Your iPad post. I’m still finding these great fun – partly because I just love seeing how others get the most out of their iPad and also because they’re a great source of ideas.
This week Brad Gurgel is providing answers. Brad is a writing colleague of mine at iSource, and I’m very glad to have him as this week’s subject. Here’s his brief bio:
I am a principal and teacher at a private school in Wisconsin. I work with students in grades 5-8. My iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Air are extremely valuable tools for me in my work every day. I use all three devices to keep track of schedules, design presentations for school, and communicate with parents and teachers. My school also recently purchased iPads and I have enjoyed implementing them in creative ways into our classrooms and curriculum. I love technology and am an occasional contributor to iSource.com when I can find the time in my busy schedule to write an a review or article.
Here are Brad’s answers – questions are in regular text, Brad’s answers are in block quotes:
Which iPad model do you use? (original or iPad 2, WiFi or WiFi + 3G, storage size) Any particular reasons for choosing this model?
I use the new iPad 32 GB Wi-Fi model. 90% of my day I am at school or at home and have Wi-Fi available both places so that is why I opted for the Wi-Fi only version. My iPhone covers me when I’m out and about and need to check email or look something up on the web.
Do you use any sort of case with the iPad? If so, which one/s and why?
I use the Griffin Elan Passport Case for the new iPad. I bought the new iPad on release day and this was actually the only case available at Walmart made specifically for the new iPad. I am glad I purchased it as it is a very nice leather case. It offers great protection so I don’t have to think twice about tossing my iPad in my work bag with all my school books.
What’s on your iPad dock currently? Do these apps pan out as your most frequently used?
My iPad and iPhone are used extensively for email, keeping track of my schedule, and browsing the web at work. For this reason I have left the Apple email, calendar, and Safari apps on my dock. I also do a lot of work with taking photos of school events, so the photos app is also on my dock.
What are some of your other most-used apps / what’s on your first home screen? (and any reasons why you’d like to offer)
I am a huge Evernote fan. This app is on my first home screen and is extremely valuable for me to keep notes from meetings, random clippings from the web, to do lists, and random ideas that I come across for teaching. I love how everything I enter into Evernote on my iPhone, iPad, or Mac is always immediately synched between all my devices for easy access anywhere. The ability to take photos of important printed and handwritten documents and saving them to Evernote is also an important feature for me. Because of Evernote’s built in text recognition, I can use search to find any of these documents that I have “scanned” into the app. I never have to look or search all over my desk for any of my important documents anymore. It helps with paperwork clutter.
As someone extremely interested in the latest technology and as an occasional blogger for iSource.com, I love to keep up on Tech news. I have an entire folder on my first home screen filled with apps and shortcuts to Tech blog websites. My favorites in this folder include Cult of Mac, Tech News Tube, Engadget, Gizmodo, and the Verge.
Finally, I read The Daily newspaper app from my newsstand folder almost every day. For $.99 a week, I don’t feel you can’t beat the price of having a daily newspaper for keeping up with the big events in the news.
How do you arrange your home screens? Do you use folders at all / heavily?
I like to be organized, so I do use quite a few folders and I usually group similar apps together. I have folders for my Tech news apps, iWork apps, News Apps, Sports Apps, Book Apps, Games, Education Apps, etc.. I like to be able to quickly find the apps I need without swiping too many times. I usually try to keep my iPhone and iPad to a limit of 2 or 3 home screens to cut down on having to search for apps too much when I need them.
What are some of your most used productivity apps on the iPad? Any that you use for work?
I mentioned Evernote already, but one of the other apps I use frequently is the new Paper app. The paper app is awesome for keeping handwritten notes and making a quick sketch of an idea that comes to mind. The ability to organize all your notes into notebooks that you flick through with your finger to quickly find what you need is an awesome feature. I highly recommend this app for anyone who enjoys sketching of keeping handwritten notes.
Do you read any newspaper or magazine apps on the iPad? Do you subscribe to any?
As mentioned earlier, The Daily serves as my every day newspaper for me. I also am a big fan of the Zite app. Zite is the “Pandora app” of news. You can choose categories of news that you wish to read about and then give a thumbs up or down to all the news articles that the app selects and puts into your own personal magazine. Over time, Zite learns what type of news sources and articles you enjoy reading and does a great job of selecting articles that you will enjoy reading. I use this app almost daily to catch up on news, sports, and all my interests.
How much, if any, book reading do you do on the iPad?
I am a heavy reader for both work and pleasure. I have an entire folder of reading apps. I tend to purchase the books I want or need to read from whatever e-book store is offering it at the cheapest price. I have the Kindle App, iBooks App, and Nook Apps with book purchases in each. I also use the Overdrive App. This app allows me to check out e-books from my local library for up to 21 days at no charge. My library has most of the latest novels available, so I rarely visit the library anymore when I am looking to read for pleasure.
Any favorite iPad games or fun time fillers?
One of my favorite games is the Out of the Park Baseball 2012 app (iOOTP 2012). I am a huge sports fan and this is a baseball simulator app that allows you to run a baseball team using real major league players and teams. It is incredibly deep and addicting. Another game I enjoy is SpellTower. This game can probably be best described as a word search and Tetris mix. You have to find words in a growing tower of letters before the tower reaches the top of the screen. Finding words in the letter blocks removes the blocks from the tower. It is simple, yet incredibly fun and addicting.
Have you got a ‘hidden gem’ type iPad app that more people should know about?
As a teacher the best app I ever stumbled across was the app called eClicker Host ($9.99 on the App store). This app allows you to design an interactive quiz that anyone with a device that can connect to the internet can join and participate in. After designing the quiz, your iPad becomes the host device to which other people connect by typing an IP address into their web browser on their computer, smart phone, or iPad. (Or by downloading the free eClicker app from the app store). Once the quiz is started on the host app, all the participants can select answers and respond to all of the questions in real time. As the participants take the quiz, real time results are displayed for all the questions on the eClicker Host app or on your projector screen if the iPad is connected to a projector. This gives me (and the audience if you like) immediate feedback on what my students are understanding or what may need to be reviewed or discussed more. I could see this being an awesome way for not only teachers, but anyone who makes public presentations, to quickly get the opinions of an audience or poll an entire audience on discussion topics quickly. With more and more people owning smart phones and other devices that can connect to the internet, it is easy for almost anyone to participate. Our school recently purchased iPads and the students love doing these interactive quizzes and it gives me great feedback to work with as a teacher.
Any killer apps you think are missing from the iPad App Store, apps you’d love to see come to the iPad?
I have yet to find a great app for keeping track of my teaching lesson plans, grades, and notes on students. There are some in the app store that have some of these features, but none that have really impressed me so far.
Do you tend to pay much attention to your home or lock screen wallpaper? Change it up often?
I change my wallpaper about once a week just to change things up a little. I usually just stick to the default ones that came with the iPad.
Huge thanks to Brad for taking time to do this with us, and for the great answers. That eClicker app really does sound impressive.
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out the excellent previous entries in the What’s on Your iPad series too.