Saturday, March 3, 2012

Welcome to the Thunderdome

I've probably drunk the Kool-Aid.

It's an over-used and in certain circles offensive phrase that, nonetheless, accurately describes how I'm feeling about Apple products right now. Two years ago I was a blackberry phone, Asus netbook, and Dell laptop guy; now I have an iPhone, iPad, and AppleTV--the other machines gather dust in a drawer. Oddly, I have no Mac computer, but I suppose it is just a matter of time before one finds its way into my house.

I like the iPad. A lot. But I didn't get that it wasn't just for browsing content until I read the recent Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. I read it because I was nosy and wanted to know just how strange he was and because everyone else seemed to be reading it. While I certainly learned a great deal about him, I also was impressed by his Apple philosophy. For years I railed against the closed nature of Apple (though it didn't stop me from buying iPods) and championed Bill Gates as a designer who gave functionality and power to the user. While a part of me still yearns for PC freedom I am starting to get the Apple ethos. Sure it's limiting, but it's also simpler. And the devices are so pretty. And when you set out to make something it just works.

It's this last point that has started me on the experiment. I work at the American School of Bombay, an excellent school and a wonderful place to work. We pride ourselves as being one of the leaders of change in education, both pedagogically and technologically. We've been a "one to one" school for almost a decade and have hosted several technology conferences collectively called ASB Unplugged. Our most recent conference (along with my Steve Jobs bio ephiphany) has inspired me to try to go it exclusively as an iPad teacher while everyone else around me is using PC equipment. I'm professionally curious to see if I can deliver the same or (hopefully) better instruction to my students and if the cloud has finally made it possible for an institution to host a diversity of products. Moreover, I'm personally curious to see if I can finally untether myself from traditional computers completely.

I'm not sure I'll be 100% successful and have already hit a few roadblocks. But one thing I've noticed in the "there's an App for that" mentality is that if you wait long enough (and complain loud enough) the iPad manages to evolve to meet your needs.

In case you are wondering, yes, I am writing this blog on my iPad, just as I'm trying to do everything else on it. No, I am not using the virtual keyboard. I find it useful for quick emails or notes, but it is frankly cumbersome for writing and (especially) editing large chunks of text. My keyboard (purchased yesterday!) is the Logitech Zagg case for iPad 2. I have no connection to the company, and therefore feel free to say that this keyboard/protection case is the most useful iPad accessory I've seen. Period. It even beats out (and might make obsolete) my beloved blue Smart Cover (sniff, sniff).

That's this project in a nutshell. Feel free to comment with questions, support, or vilification. Next post: the initial hiccups.


  1. I will be very interested in reading about your ipad adventures. Thanks for sharing - I like your writing style! So my question is - should I buy the newest ipad coming out soon?