As noted in earlier blogs this year, I finally bit the bullet and jumped on board as an iPad user. Of course, now they have released a newer version of this technology, but even with my now-outdated version, I took full advantage of the iPad on my recent travels.
First priority: staying connected. While traveling, I needed to be able to access my online course, especially to respond to student communications. To help accomplish this task, I was given a wireless keyboard to help expedite the typing. This was a huge time-saver in my virtual office. I also made sure that I had the latest version of Skype for the iPad and FaceTime so I could connect with students or family and friends if needed. Finding good wireless connections—free or paid—was a challenge and made me wish that I had gotten a 3G compatible device.
I also selected several apps to help us with our trip planning and navigation. There were many apps to choose from, yet one criteria was to choose apps that were inexpensive or free. Another was to find apps that would provide useful information even when offline. We visited three countries: England, Switzerland and France. In England, the two apps that I felt were most helpful there were London2Go and the London Tube Map. The London2Go app gave great information about each of the sites and was especially helpful in including the tube stop at the site. In Switzerland, the app that was helpful in determining where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see was My Switzerland. This app had a feature that allowed you to bookmark locations and create your own journey of Switzerland. Our time in France was limited to Paris, and our app usage was limited to those that helped us get around. Paris2Go offered information on what to see and about each location, and Paris Transport Map-Free Metro Map that was a PDF of the metro system.
We also captured our journey though images and videos captured using the iPad. While the camera on the iPad is of high quality, I didn’t consider that the camera doesn’t come with a flash, so capturing images and videos must be done in areas with great lighting. I enjoyed using Pic Collage to create a collage of our daily travels. When I did find connectivity, this was a fantastic way to share travel updates with family and friends.
I also used this time to introduce my daughter to eReading. On the iPad, I had both the iBooks and Kindle apps, and I purchased books for her on both sites and shared with her how to get started. At first she was resistant, stating that she liked turning pages and holding the book. She quickly learned that with a flip of the finger it appears like a flipped page, that you have the ability to change text size, and that you can travel with just one book-sized object that offers endless reading hours. She even started thinking about school and how nice it would be to have electronic textbooks: with one device you would always have lightweight books!
Traveling with an iPad was a success. I did have to carry around a larger bag so that I had somewhere to store the device when we were not using it, which was awkward at times. However, that awkwardness was made up for not having to lug around a heavier computer or books. As I reflect on the entire journey, I wonder how I was able to travel without an iPad, and I look forward to the adventures the iPad will bring on future journeys.