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The Cole Camplese iPad Challenge

I am sure many of you were there when the iPad was announced. Personally, I was scratching my head and wondering how useful it could actually be.

Cole Camplese, the Education Technology Services Director, decided to put the iPad to the test. Starting April 6th, Cole decided that he was going an entire month without his laptop and cell phone, only using a computer when he’s at his desk, and using an iPad for everything else. I talked with Cole to see how everything was going.

What made you think of a such a crazy idea?
A couple of things. The first thing is that I noticed the polarized reaction to the iPad and wanted to get a real, first hand view of what the device is really all about before I made my own judgment. The other thing is that I feel like it is part of my responsibility to know what the iPad can and can’t do to support teaching and learning workflow. The only way I felt I could do that effectively was spend some time with it — in this case a full month.

This started on April 6th, how are you holding up?
In general, really well. I have to admit this morning I gave a presentation to a group on campus and I used my MacBook instead of the iPad. I could have done it on the iPad, as I use Keynote to present from, but simply ran out time to get it together. The iPad seems to support most of the work I do and I haven’t caught myself wishing I was using something else yet.

Have you caught yourself trying to use something else other than an iPad yet?
Well, the challenge is that whenever I would typically take my laptop I have to take the iPad instead. So with that said, I still use my desktop machine while I am working at my desk and the balance seems to be working well.

What has been the biggest inconvenience so far with this challenge?
So far the only thing that has been an issue was the time crunch I was under last night to get a presentation together for this morning. Other than that, the lack of an ability to edit Google docs has been difficult. I do quite a bit of my work in Google docs, so I’ve had to rethink my workflow a bit.

What are some positive notes about the challenge that you didn’t expect?
The iPad seems to flow really easily from work tasks to personal tasks. I find myself doing email for work and then quickly checking feeds or visiting sites in a very comfortable way. I tend to not keep it on like I do with my laptop — it comes to life so quickly that I can turn it off and on to get information much faster than my laptop. I like that quite a bit.

So, I have to ask…is the iPad worth it?
Yes, but that is from my perspective. It supports much of the work I do — email, web, note taking, watching videos, listening to movies, etc. And it does those things with a battery life that has been stunning. I can easily get up at 6 AM and use it heavily all day and into the night without even thinking about it needing a charge. It will be amazing to travel with for that reason.

What is the app you probably use the most on the iPad?
Probably Safari, but I also use Good Reader, NetNews Wire, Mail, and Evernote quite a bit.

What do you think the iPad will be in the future now that you are doing this challenge? Do you think it will become a bigger hit when more people start using it?
I think once people use it and figure out how it fits into their workflow they will really enjoy it. I think one thing it will change is the way students carry technology to class — we know most students have laptops and we know very few of them take them to class. The iPad overcomes two of the top two reasons, battery life and weight, that students don’t bring them. Once you realize how easy it is to use, how much of your work can actually be done on it, and how it seems to never need a charge I think people will take it more seriously.

Anything else you would like to tell us about the challenge or the iPad?
I’m simply curious about how this thing will play out in higher education and if we’ll start to see it used in ways we aren’t really thinking about right now. It creates a different computing experience and at the moment I am honestly enjoying using it and relearning why it is important to have a connected machine.


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About the Author


A senior from Pittsburgh, PA at Penn State University Park that is majoring in Information Sciences and Technology and minoring in Security and Risk Analysis. Other than Onward State, Mitch is involved with ITS, being a LA, and being apart of the Magazine of IST.

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