iPad apps for scholars. Pt. 1.

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 extravagent praises, others equally extravagent jeremiads.

As a new user of the iPad, however, I want to explore what it can do before jumping into the race to articulate what it might make possible in future. So, the first question for me is: what are some apps useful for academic work?

Current articles on the theme “iPad and academics,” particularly those academics in the humanities, describe several key tasks:

– storing and reading ebooks (including experiences from the first crop of universities who will be giving iPads and ebooks to students for this purpose)
– storing, reading, and annotating PDF files
– creating documents or notes, either through hand writing, typing, or dictating
– editing documents that exist in other places (ex: Google Docs, docs on other local devices)
– creating, or syncing with, reference management databases
– creating and displaying natively built slide or externally synced slide shows
– creating ebooks

“It is always best to begin at the beginning”

A quick dive into the web turned up a number of potentially useful recommendations (see below). I’ll begin by reviewing these in the days ahead:

Working with PDFs: iBooks, iAnnotate, Papers
Reading: iBooks, Kindle, Stanza, Cloudreader
Creating words: DocsToGo, WritePad,Dragon Dictation, Evernote, WordPress
Misc. necessities: SharePlus, Bb Mobile Learn

Additional resources:
1) Brueck, Jeremy. “Apps I’m Traveling With: iPad for Content Creation,” I Education Apps Review.
2) Golub, Alex. “The iPad for Academics.” Inside Higher Ed, July 12 2010.
3) Mandik, Pete. “Review of the iPad for academics: can you actually work on it?.” Brain Hammer, April 9, 2010.
4) Truong, Kelly. “More Universities Announce iPad Experiments.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Wired Campus, July 20, 2010.

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