1. Investigate. Let's face it, there are a lot of things about teaching we had to figure out as we went. What styles or approaches worked for us? Why did they work for us? What fits with our teaching styles? Our philosophies? The iPad (or other electronic device) use isn't much different. You may have to explore and read and then make adjustments.
- Check Twitter. There are great updates and feeds about the #iPad, #apps, and #highered or #edtech. Stay on trend and find new tips/tools.
- Check the Chronicle. Today's Chronicle article by Jason Jones: "Getting Unstuck with Your iPad" article explores the Unstuck App. The iPad is creeping up more and more often in the Chronicle especially in the ProfHacker and WiredCampus areas. See also "5 iPad Applications I Can't Live Without (and Why)" by Ethan Watrall and "iPads: Bane or Boon to College Teaching" by Josh Fischman.
- Check the wikis. Teach With Your iPad on wikispaces has apps and links that can be helpful, particularly for those who are first timers with tablets, for example. There are great resources that other educators have already put together. Why not use them?
- Try the app (or activity) with a smaller class or with a class where you have a TA. Explain that you are trying something new.
- Get their feedback (students, TA, colleagues). Did it work as you hoped? Did it help explain, demonstrate a concept?
- Did it cause any problems? Would another device or a class activity (without device) work better?
- Modify the use and try again or simply move on if it wasn't what you needed for that lesson.
4. Invest (money). Be prepared to put your money (or your institution's money) on the line to explore new opportunities with your tablet.
- Ask what the policy is for institutional equipment, accounts, and personally purchasing items.
- Explore what equipment you might need (adapters, chargers, cases) to be successful in the classroom.
- Apps aren't always free. There are some that are quite costly, others at $1.99 or $2.99 will soon add up. Be prepared and consider setting a personal budget for apps if your institution does not cover this cost.
- Take the time to become familiar with your device.
- If it has become a glorified paper weight (I just heard a professor say this last semester!), then consider switching to exclusively using it (to give it a fair chance...if you don't like it, of course, don't use it.) I had to do an exclusive switch to help get used to all of the tablet features. I found myself putting an actual sticky note on my iPad case about a week after getting it. I laughed out loud and realized sometimes the brain takes a bit longer to acclimate than we might like to admit to. I then instituted an "all iPad" philosophy where I *had* to use it to take notes, to type, to answer emails. Soon, I realized the potential of the device and avoided an expensive paperweight.