I am having so much fun finding all sorts of apps for my new iPad. At first there was the time spent just trying to get my iPad to kind of look like my iPhone and give me all of the same capabilities such as Facebook, Twitter, Banking and Email. Of course I also found some cool games for the kids. That's a priority, right.
I also got the reading apps to enjoying the book reader part of the iPad (which by the way is really amazing). I have been patiently waiting to get some sort of Reader and it was well worth the wait. It is quite a pleasant way to read a book in a digital format and then be able to see it late at night when every one else has gone to bed. And have more than one book with you at a time.
Then there are the education apps that I really think will increase my productivity in the Fall when school starts. My friend Chris is the Technology Guy (not actual title) for a local school district and he has encouraged me with some of the things that they are doing in his district with iPads in the classroom. I also have been unashamedly asking anyone that I know that has an iPad to give me advise on their favorite apps. Here's what I learned so far:
-Pages, Keynote and Numbers are great resources to make your iPad run like and work with a "normal" computer. I haven't bought them yet because of the price, but plan to slowly buy them over the next few months.
-Teacher Assistant is an outstanding app for keeping track of classroom discipline (both good and bad). You can assign your own comments, behaviors and consequences and keep track of them with only a few clicks. The work will be in the initial set up I know, but it will make life easier for me to document behaviors between classes or at the end of the day (even when I'm away from school). The best part, though, is that the app can then compose and send an email to the parents telling them of the behavior and the situation that occurred. This can also be done in a spreadsheet, true, but I think this app organizes it just a bit more easily. I am most excited about using Teacher Assistant this next year to help me communicate better with my students' parents.
-SmartMusic has an app that helps you keep track of your inbox of assignments. As we continue to move in the direction of using SmartMusic more in class, I am excited to have access to this resource on my iPad.
There are numerous more apps to use in the band classroom and look forward to discovering as many as possible in the coming months and years. Using an iPad in class does not negate the need for good daily teaching of the instruments and ensemble skills as the students prepare for, most importantly, the next performance. But, I think, using the iPad as a supplement to the daily drills and to help better organize the class environment can only make the performance that much better.