|This is my kit - iPad plus Dell laptop|
Back in the late seventies, I was doing the job I’m doing now. Decades of principalship, and regional management jobs intervened, but on “retirement”, the opportunity presented itself to do advisory work again.
I took it up, because it’s challenging, full of variety, and I enjoy traveling and working in the bush.
Much has changed since, not the least of which is the fact that I’m enjoying the job more now. It has something to do with choice. I learned as a conscript that compulsion takes the edge of enjoyment from most things.
The other major change is the march of technology.
Back then, the only technology I used was a wrist watch, a motor car, and a typewriter. As I recall it, photocopiers were only just beginning to emerge.
If you wanted to reproduce something on paper, you had to cut a stencil. You used a fiendish device called a Gestetner
My memory is a bit vague in terms of exactly how these things were used, but I remember the smell they generated.
These days, I find myself relying more and more on IT.
There’s the laptop for a start. I have to store a fair bit of information, and avoid carrying paper files because of the security risk. It’s easy to mislay a file when you’re in and out of classrooms, offices, people’s homes, and of course, motels.
The laptop is useful in this data access application. Its disadvantage is the time it takes to boot up.
This is where the iPad comes into its own. With this, I can access a limited number of files using an application like Polaris Office.
The iPad is a very versatile piece of kit. I use the diary, the email and browser when I’m in a school or motel, and the learning applications when I’m in the classroom. Its greatest advantage is its portability, but accessibility is also a virtue.
I can be barreling along the Warrego and my phone (Bluetooth – more technology) will ring with often a teacher or principal wanting to change an arrangement at short notice. This happens frequently in schools – they can be chaotic.
Usually, a couple of calls and some changes to the diary on the iPad will sort it quickly and without fuss.
The iPad is useful for note-taking when I’m in a classroom, although it distracts many kids who see an iPad as a great escape from something boring. I can email any notes I take to my laptop, and write the report based on these notes in the evening in the motel, and email it to the school next day.
This immediacy is important, as a report turning up a week later has often passed its shelf life, given the pace of things in schools in the 21st century.
The synching feature will also allow me to swap diaries from laptop to desktop to iPad, although this particular feature is not 100% reliable. The Apple/Microsoft interface still isn’t completely sorted.
Then there are the communication applications for non-verbal kids, and the plethora of learning applications (great for consolidation of literacy and numeracy skills).
Mind you, you can’t really teach anything new with an iPad App – they’re OK for consolidation and revision only.