I’ve just been asked by our Lecturer in digital technology on our PGCE course from last year what apps I would recommend for students coming to start their PGCE at Leicester this year. I started a quick email to him and thought that this would be information other new PGCE students may be interested in, so it turned into a blog post.
I did not buy a laptop for the course but instead an iPad 2 and a VGA cable connector as I knew I would want to use it in the classroom and am starting to do so now I’m an NQT. There were a few times when it was frustrating not to have a laptop to work on, especially on placement when wifi networks are locked down or blocked, or PCs were not available for students to use during PPA time. However, most of the time I found I took better notes on my iPad while at uni than I would have done on paper or by using a laptop. An iPad starts instantly, you can take photos of the fun stuff you are doing to remind you, label them and even make videos really quickly.
An essential is cloud storage of some kind, iCloud from Apple wasn’t around when I started, so I use dropbox, and continue to do so now. I like the way it syncs across my iPod touch, iPad, iMac, desktop PC at school and Android phone. I always break or lose memory sticks.
I wrote up how I took notes during the course on the blog. I would still recommend notability as an app for note taking, it worked for me.
I did buy an Office app (quick office), which was expensive, but it proved pretty difficult to use as it was based on Open Office and tables and forms we needed to complete, as well as planning formats were a nightmare on it and it rarely worked as I wanted (I see it is now part of google, so may have better formatting and links to google docs than when I was using it last year). It was easier to use something simple like Plain Text for writing where I wanted to start typing up something but couldn’t get to a computer.
Thinking about using the iPad in school, you might find this post useful, from my third teaching placement:
I highly recommend Shelli Blackburn‘s iPad blog for ideas on using it in school (a fellow Google Certified Teacher)
more links that I’ve saved about iPads and schools are on delicious http://www.delicious.com/jobadge/ipad
Good luck with your course and may the apple force be with you 😉