Will the iPad save or destroy education? Is it the device that will revolutionize scholarship or is it merely a gadget that differs from many others not by its potential but simply by its marketing? The cloud is already abuzz with posts on either side of these questions; some extravagant praises, others equally extravagant jeremiads.

One way to approach iPad use in education is to explore what can actually be done with it. At the first iPad for Scholars roundtable at the CTL we discussed several apps that are useful for scholars. These can be categorized as apps that are designed for:

  • collecting, storing and reading ebooks
    • Stanza – ebook reader (reads ePub and eReader books, not Kindle books). Links to a library, free and non-free books, free sheet music, can download books purchased from Fictionwise. Can share books from your Mac or Windows version of Stanza.
    • Kindle – ebook reader. Syncs with your Kindle.
    • Nook – Barnes&Noble’s ebook reader.
    • FreeBooks, ePubBooks – more books!
  • storing, reading, and annotating PDF files
    • Goodreader – for reading all kinds of files, especially PDFs (it will re-flow text to fit page). Coming soon in version 3: PDF annotation.
    • iAnnotate – “integrates its annotations directly into the PDF such that they will be available to any standard PDF readers like Adobe Reader or Preview. You can transfer PDFs via email, iTunes sync or even clicking any PDF web link in the integrated web browser.”
  • creating documents, notes or other content, either through hand writing, typing, or dictating
    • Evernote – capture it (notes, web page, photo, screen shot), organize it, find it
    • DragonDictation – transcribes your voice to text
    • WritePad – handwriting recognition – takes notes with a stylus or finger, save as text
    • Quick Graph – graphing calculator
  • accessing and editing documents that exist in other places (ex: Google Docs, docs on other local devices)
    • DocsToGo – open, read, and edit .doc, .ppt. .xls files; access these files on your iPad, from Google Docs or other online services, or from a folder on your Mac.
    • SharePlusLite – connect to your Sharepoint sites
    • WordPress – access and edit your blog from your iPad (that’s how I wrote this!). WordPress is the new UVM blog tool for public blogging. Check it out at http://blog.uvm.edu
  • browsing the web or accessing content
    • Instapaper – save web pages for later offline reading
    • Atomic Web – an alternative to Safari
    • NYTimes – Editor’s Choice is the free iPad app (news, business, technology, opinions, arts, features, videos). Other sections available as iPhone/Touch app (will appear small on your iPad screen.
    • NPR – news, live streams, etc.
    • Pandora – access radio stations via your iPad
  • Time Management apps – mentioned in our session were Things, Easy Task, OmniFocus, and Taska. Several of those, and others, are reviewed here.
  • iPad management apps:
    • PadInfo – get stats on your iPad, battery life, etc.
    • AppShopper – the place to shop for Apps

Another category that we are all waiting for, bibliographic management apps, is on the horizon. As of this writing there is no specific app for Endnote, but Zotero is inching closer as is the Mac-only reference manager, Sente.

For those wishing to create ebooks, a number of solutions exist, some of which we will look at in the coming months.