notes

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned

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Hello,

This is just a quick post to say thank you to everyone to took the time to read my blog over the past 2 years! I started this blog with an ambition to document my learning with iPad and its been fun to write the posts as well as read the old ones! The blog actually started as part of a proposed “Diary project”, but I did not hear about it again (nor did I enquire again), so I just continued to blog independently. Nevertheless, the blog did gain a lot of attention in it’s own right – being shown at events and other Universities; and this is something I am really proud of.

Its been an amazing journey and when I graduate Westminster this July, I will continue to use iPad in my future career. This means I may continue to post about my learning journey with iPad in the coming months.

As a student in their final year, semester 2 was really good in terms of iPad use. A lecturer managed to squeeze in the “Keynote Live” feature into their presentation which made it easier to follow the slides and read small text. It was an experimental thing, I’m sure, but I can see it having many advantages. I believe there was a limit of 50 viewers, so if Apple increases this (without reducing quality or something), it might be something worth doing in many other lectures.

As far as learning with iPad goes, it remained consistent with previous years I have talked about it. Its great to have a device on the go for revision and using the free apps from FST, and it was something I will always appreciate about Westminster. I only wish that we were given iPads in the first year!

Like I’ve said previously, my journey at Westminster might be over, but my learning journey doesn’t end here. I will continue to embrace my new “skills” with my personal iPad. Not to sound like an ad, but the iPad is something I really enjoyed using as it became part of me. I’ll be honest, it was not too useful for a Computer Science student, but it was good for the non-programming side of things. I’ve been told you can program on an iPad, but IMO it’s not as immersive as a traditional computer.

Also, I can’t forget the fact that the iPad gave me “access” to a hidden room at Apple Regent Street! It was great to visit the store and pick up all the information about probing and using iPad apps.

Secret: The hidden room is just as appealing as the rest of the redesigned store.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog as much as I enjoyed writing the posts, and hope you will come again to read the posts again.

Special thanks to all of the Apple Education team (P. Hutton!), the University of Westminster and Academia for making this learning journey, on My iPad Diary, possible in the first place.

Look out for more posts coming in the next few months – I can’t wait to tell you whats next! It’s really exciting.

Thank you,

Irfan

Why I Like iPad For Learning 

The more posts I write, and the more I go back and look at them – the more I realise that I haven’t explicitly told you my reasons for liking iPad for learning with at uni. So here is a list of just that. 

  1. It’s the future!
  2. It’s useful for tube journeys (shameless previous post plug!)
  3. Blackboard is quick to access
  4. I like having my uni stuff separate from personal iPad and iPhone stuff. 
  5. Don’t need to carry laptop just to take, download or follow notes
  6. I can annotate on notes!
  7. Syncing of files is excellent (iCloud)
  8. iTunes U is the best education app I have ever used – lots of useful courses and videos 
  9. The app selection is incredible – “there’s an app for that”
  10. Good for typing quick emails and for keeping a tab on incoming emails too
  11. It doesn’t complain if I leave it at home 
  12. It’s thin and light and I barely know it’s in my bag
  13. iPad doesn’t act like a barrier between me and the lecturer like a laptop does
  14. The battery lasts longer than my laptop sometimes
  15. My timetable works perfectly with the native calendar app
  16. Because I have my timetable in calendar, it tells me the times I should leave so I won’t be late
  17. Two things at once on screen mean I can have Pages and News open (Slide Over)
  18. AirDrop notes and things to my laptop/iPhone is very convenient 
  19. I can access OneDrive, iCloud Drive and Google Drive without logging in every time 
  20. It’s the best tool I’ve used for revision – lightweight and easy to revise on
  21. iBooks keeps my coursework specs in one place

I’m sure this post sounded more like an iPad ad in some ways, but those are all valid points! There are loads more, but can’t think of anymore right now. 

Some things I don’t like about using the iPad for learning:

  1. Due to the MDM profile, I’m forced to type in a long password, when I would really like to use a quicker pin (it doesn’t have Touch ID)
  2. I’m reminded on the lock screen and settings app that my iPad is managed by the university and that my location and web traffic is monitored. While this is fine, it still would be nice if it didn’t word it that way!
  3. Can’t code on it
  4. Blackboard app is not reliable. It’s easier and quicker to use Safari to access Blackboard!

Irfan

Lecture Notes on iPad

The biggest thing I wanted to change this year was the way I took notes in lectures – something I’ve talked about a lot on this blog.

Today I just want to go a bit more in depth about it (don’t worry, it’s the last time!) and talk about how easy (or not so easy) it is.

First and foremost, it’s amazing how easy it is to get to grips with the large on screen keyboard of the iPad. It sort of becomes natural to type on when you get used to it.  I’ve owned several iterations of the iPad myself but never typed extensively on them, but typing on it is relatively painless and I find myself using the ‘touch keyboard’ A LOT to select text, indent a selection of text, create lists etc.

The real problem is really how quick it is. In a lecture, it’s really easy to get left behind while the lecturer is moving forward with his talk because you’re not striking real keys, rather a flat bit of glass, so I found myself typing slower than I would like. Often at times I would miss the lectures talk because the iPad constantly auto corrects you changes words. Also, sometimes the keyboard accidentally activates its touch keyboard mode and selects text, which then gets deleted when I start typing again. Luckily there are undo buttons in apps, but in the time I’ve made these mistakes, I’ve also missed a few minutes of the lecturers talk – which might not seem like much but it is a lot when you’re trying to understand Java!

Talking about Java though, I noticed that it’s quite challenging to type code in my notes. The special characters are not easy to type as you have keep changing the view of the keyboard from letters to symbols – which is understandable, given the fact you can only see so much on screen as one time. It also likes to correct any code I type into other “proper” words and changes the formatting of some code. It’s definitely not designed to take programming notes but it can be done.

If you overlook these small problems, I found the iPad to be a solid device for taking notes on and I am happy to report that a notepad has not been seen in my bag at all. It’s SUPER easy to get to my notes on iCloud.com and download them to my USB.

My preferred app for taking notes is Pages because it’s integrated with the iPad and iCloud (being an Apple made app) and is also clean and easy to use. I have seen other students using the built in Notes app, which is great. Another student uses the Notability app and they said they liked the larger text area and the amount of features it has.

At the top of my lecture notes, I like to write the name of the module, followed by the lecture number. It can be very long to keep typing “Object Oriented Programming 2” every time, so I have set up some keyboard short cuts to help me with them 😉

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So now I can type “OOP2”, and it will expand automatically!

A small number of students are still lagging behind on pen and paper and an even smaller number are carrying laptops for notes + following slides. However there so are many brave students that are taking notes, following the slides & interacting with the lecture on the iPads.

In the next post, I will be talking about textbooks on iPad 🙂

Irfan