Tech Tuesday: Useful iPad Apps

Having never experienced using an iPad before this semester, I did not know what to expect when I started using it. Sure, I assumed there would be a few comparable apps that I could see in higher definition than on my iPhone, but I was not expecting such a drastic increase in capabilities when moving to a tablet computer.

While there are a vast number of apps that I use on a daily basis that I could point to, I am going to focus on two—Google Drive and Educreations.

Google recently expanded its popular Google Docs tool to include simpler document editing and sharing capabilities, and they released this new form as Google Drive. In addition to its highly useful web-based components, Google created a Google Drive iPad app to appeal to tablet users. I have found that student classes, clubs, and project groups are turning to Google Drive more and more to simultaneously edit and share content from spreadsheets, word documents, and PowerPoint presentations, just to name a few. As a result, accessing these documents wherever I am, even when I do not have my laptop, has become increasingly important. The iPad Google Drive app allows me to do just that. I can study, edit, and even create my own documents just as if I was at my computer. Additionally, opponents of the iPad often point to its lack of any word processing functions as a reason that it cannot replace a traditional laptop or desktop computer. Google Drive fixes this deficiency. Now you can compose a paper or build a spreadsheet just as if you were on a “real” computer. You can even do it as quickly as normal if you happen to have a tactile keyboard attachment for the tablet. Google Drive has definitely become an app I use every day.

Educreations is another highly useful free application. In this app, you can record yourself writing on your tablet as if it were a blank whiteboard. You can also record your own voice or images at the same time. Science, math, and language professors in particular have found this app very useful in their classes. Instead of pointing students to other online resources to find out how an equation is solved or how a verb is conjugated, they can record that information themselves and post that video to Trunk or their class website. I personally use it to practice kanji for my Japanese class. I will write the character in a light grey ink and then write over it in black to practice the stroke order. Educreations has cut my study time in half and reduced the amount of paper I consume by allowing me to repeatedly delete a page and start fresh. It has really become a go-to app of mine.

I never thought I would come to use my iPad as much as I have, but through Google Drive, Educreations, and many other apps, I have found that I use it every day. Even though I do not feel it could replace my laptop, it definitely comes close.

-Ezra Dunkle-Polier