by Emmanuel Quartey
File this one under “arguments for why touch tablets have a role in education.”
I’m not quite sure when it happened, but my iPad has suddenly become my primary reading device. Blogs, tweets, class readings, articles - if it’s text, I instinctively reach for the tablet.
It started with GoodReader, a fantastic application that helps me organize and annotate PDFs. Before GoodReader, I had two options for how to do my weekly class readings. I could either devote $20 and two hours to printing everything from Bass library, or I could download them onto my laptop and be chained to my desk for hours. The best thing about having my readings on the iPad is that I’m able to escape my laptop for a while.
Yes, I understand that I’m doing little more than exchanging one glowing screen for another, but being able to whip out that slim package anywhere - at a coffeshop or while waiting in line - is simply delightful. I can’t overstate what an impact this convenience has had on my reading habits. I’m finishing far more of my class readings, and doing them sooner.
There is also Instapaper, which allows me to save interesting articles for later reading. Before Instapaper, my workflow looked something like this:
Now it looks like this:
I send the articles to Instapaper so that I can read them leisurely while I have meals. Additionally, it’s a convenient way of archiving those links for later reference. Again, this simple convenience is kinder on my wallet, and helps me tackle more material, more quickly.
And finally, there is Newsstand. I currently only have the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek+ and Newsweek in my Newsstand, but anytime I start swiping through any of them, it’s hard to stop reading. Before, I would read a single article in the paper New York Times during the time it took me to finish a meal. Now, I’m no longer limited to the publications that the University provides, and I’m far more aware of what is happening out in the world.
As recently as two months ago, I explained to a friend that I simply could not see myself reading for long periods of time on the iPad because it allows distraction in a way that dedicated reading devices like the Kindle or the Nook do not. While I admit that I’ll sneak an occasional peek at my Gmail, the overall impact of the tablet has been to increase the amount of reading that I accomplish in a week.
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More posts by Emmanuel.