iPad iPad as a tool for students (Honest thoughts)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by farkingdom, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. farkingdom macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2012
    First of all, I'm here to say that everyone should have their own opinion in using whatever device they prefer without being a self-centered critique: be it Android, Surface Pro 3 or whatever. I use a windows PC and Apple iDevice.

    I have felt that the iPad, while it looks good and thin as a tablet, is not worth the upgrade from the previous generation. Yes, it runs faster and have a huge library of MOBILE apps, but the iPad Air 2 offers nothing new to take advantage of that huge screen estate nor offers any new feature. Believe me that I do love the quality Apps on the iPad but there is something seriously missing here in this tablet. The only usefulness of the iPad seems to be just casual couch web surfing, YouTube videos, looking at high-res photos, some mobile gamings etc.

    Is the iPad closer to become a laptop replacement? Not even close IMHO.
    As a student, I find myself often frustrated with using the iPad as a laptop replacement. I felt that it strongly needs a Apple stylus digitizer (be it sold separately) to jolt down notes in class accurately. Those clunky third party stylus just does not work as well compared to the Android line of Note.
    I am NOT going to tap on the touchscreen keyboard to jolt down notes as I find it to be slower and often distracting from lecture.

    Next, the iPad does not even render my university PowerPoint slides correctly with the layout messed up. Often, students (not only me) have misread slides due to this. The only solution is to load it up again with MS Office for better render (which does not exist back then)

    So, how do you guys use your iPad for work and studies? And secondly, Why do you even need an iPad?
  2. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    In my school (be it, a highschool) they are used pretty much for document editing which is perfectly manageable, large text books, research, and online activities the teachers assign. They haven't compltetely replaced everything yet which I am fine yet, because notes are a pain on an iPad. However, with all the space they save with folders, textbooks, etc, they still are great for school. If your school uses them. Mine used to but now every single teacher has gone back to large textbooks, handwritten everything, plus iPads nobody uses for school work. Just messing around and such. Pretty sad.
  3. Infinite Jest macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Harrisonburg, Va
    iPad as a tool for students (Honest thoughts)

    Tbh, I (recent grad) tried using it for a semester for a couple of classes as an experiment and it was a huge exercise in frustration. The biggest boon I've seen from the iPad was the ability to have a great medium for reading and cataloging academic papers and text books. Beyond that, it's one hell of a slab for googling. Unless the iPad undergoes a fundamental re-imagination, I don't think it will ever be a catch-all device. Then again, there seems to be a huge market in its current niche, so maybe it isn't necessary. I can only hope that Microsoft's ambitions with a hybrid OS eventually becomes completely intuitive and ubiquitous throughout the industry.

    Edit: Oh, and I forgot to add writing forum posts, as I'm doing on my rMini.
  4. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    I only use it to read my slides and the script of the classes or as a secondary monitor with the tasks or slides on it while typing the info into my macbook.

    It's impossible to keep up trying to take notes or edit things on the ipad during class. It needs proper stylus support so one can actually take notes line on a piece of paper
  5. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I've been pretty impressed at times with how productive I can be on my iPad but then there are the other times when getting that "one thing" done is either impossible or a certified pain the arse. Doing basic documents and even spreadsheets is pleasant and effective but if you start to get into heavier formatting and moving text and stuff around it gets tedious.

    That being said, for a student I'd think it'd be a great companion. I don't see why you can't take notes on it without a stylus. The on screen keyboard is excellent and so is Pages as an app. The portability versus a regular laptop is another huge plus for a student. Ya got a great gaming platform too with the ipad.

    I feel it's a good device for a student.
  6. Sparticu$ macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2009
    I am a student and I use my iPad for books and task lists. It's great to be able to rent my books off the iPad. It takes about 15lbs out of my bookbag.
  7. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    It's more of a binder for me. I only use it to write notes down when I'm doing my own research after a lecture. Doing an actual talk, I use a cheap notebook which I then rewrite, tag, and organize afterwards. That is probably a lot of extra work for most people, but I've found that it's making it so much easier to retain the information, especially when I do it immediately that night.

    I spend lots of time looking for the stuff that is referenced in class, whether it be videos, books, websites, and then add that into my stash too.

    I've only been writing treatments, scripts, and small essays these last few years, so I can get away with all the basic writing apps on iOS. Markdown and Fountain work very well because I don't have to think too much and just put ###, **, etc and it does the hard part for me.
  8. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    Well, I use an iPad for college work, but I don't try to make it a MacBook replacement. I just use it as a supplement.

    My 15" rMBP mostly stays docked at my home desk with my monitors and what not. I have a logitech ultra thin keyboard cover with my iPad 3. I take it to school and take notes and work on documents with Word and OneNote. I review PDFs for my thesis with PDF Expert and keep files in sync with OneDrive. I would be incredibly frustrated if I tried to use it as my sole system, but it's great as a supplement and much easier to use while in the classroom.

    As for your thoughts about the upgrade, I agree completely. I purchased an iPad Air 2, but ended up returning it and going back to my iPad 3. The Air 2 was light, thing, FAST and beautiful, but it didn't do anything that the iPad 3 couldn't (it just did things better). I couldn't justify another $1,000* on a new iPad setup. If Apple had added split screen usage, a more optimized OS, and ANY indication that they were going to develop past the "big iPhone" concept it currently is I would have pulled the trigger, but was underwhelmed. Using it just felt like a better iPad 3. That is a testament to Apples lack of ambition to me. They made it thinner and 0.04 pounds lighter. Why not add the A8X with the same battery (more battery life), add an even better camera, and develop the software?

    *128GB Wifi, Smart Cover, Logitech ultrathin keyboard, AC+, Tax
  9. scaredpoet, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    This. I think people are a little too focused on making a tablet replace a laptop or a full computer. Frankly, it's just not going to happen. Other platforms have certainly tried, and we've seen that the uptake isn't that good. You end up with a vice that tries to do too many things, and does none of them very well.

    I'm a part-time student (juggling that with a full-time job), and I use my iPad pretty extensively. Not as a laptop/desktop replacement, but as a textbook/paper document replacement. All of my textbooks and research documents I've had to obtain, I've managed to buy or get as eBooks or PDFs. Often times they're cheaper than the paper counterparts (mainly through Amazon). And they take up way less space and weight in my iPad than they do in paper form.

    It's definitely not a necessity or a requirement. But it certainly makes things a LOT easier.

    As for note taking: I've done it really nicely with a bluetooth keyboard. For me, typing is a lot less tedious than scrawling with a pen or stylus. Then again, my handwriting is pretty atrocious.
  10. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    And until Apple adds a digitizer with proper stylus support, most "writing" will look like it's done with one of those giant crayola crayons.

    Many note apps try to compensate for this with software translation and zoom boxes, but it just never looks good. It works out for me though, because I've always preferred structured bulleted list notes which can easily be done on the iPad.
  11. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Again, each person has their use case. If you want handwriting support, there is already a platform that offers it, and they need all the help they can get in terms of marketshare, so I would recommend anyone wanting it to try them out.
  12. ttran88 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2009
    Currently in dental school and I use my MacBook pro to produce my notes/outlines using OneNote and flash cards with Anki. Then, whether it be in my bed or on the go, my mini is there synced up with all the notes I have made on my MBP. It's just too cumbersome having to organize PDFs and ppts that professors give you on an iPad. To me, the mini is for consuming and can never truly replace a full grown laptop. Good luck with your future endeavors.
  13. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007

    Depends on how you do it. For me, I through all the PDFs in Dropbox on my mac, and however I've organized it there is how I'll see it on the iPad.

    Again, not a replacement, but a good supplement.
  14. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Don't leave for school without your laptop. You will struggle with just the iPad.
  15. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    I don't need one. I just want one.

    That said, I find it more convenient reading and annotating PDF text books on the iPad than on a laptop or actually carrying a whole bunch of heavy books. Granted, I tend to use 2 iPads while reviewing (to mimic having multiple books open). Tab switching just doesn't cut it for me.

    For the most part though, my iPad is used for recreation (reading comics, fiction, etc).
  16. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    ?? I have written thousands of pages of text on my iPad and if anything, it looks far better than text written on my Surface Pro with a 'proper' digitizer.

    A digitizer could certainly make it better still, but the apps on the iPad for handwriting are for me, far preferable than what I can find on Windows. (and this is coming from someone who has evangelized about OneNote for nearly 10 years).
  17. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I'm happy for you. It's never worked out for me or most of the people I know. But if it works for you that's great.
  18. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Don't get me wrong, a digitizer gives an app developer a lot more to work with and will generally be more reliably precise, but specifically for the use case of handwriting, I find the iPad to be my preferred tool.
  19. sonicrobby, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014

    sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    The ipad was a great companion for me at college, but not for everything. I carried around 1 binder, a few pens, and my iPad around. Nothing can replace a pen and paper for taking notes, we all have our own styles, and it's something we've been doing most of our lives without hassle. Changing the way we are used to taking notes may slow us down. Therefore, I did not use the iPad for that.

    The iPad was great for those boring classes, plants vs zombies was priceless in my multi-variable calculus class. But in all honesty, the gold was in the textbooks. All the textbooks I had were in digital pdf format, so the iPad was a great asset to hold all of my textbooks for all of my classes. It was also a good tool to stay connected and check the online tasks/assignments/grades through blackboard. And I tend to scan all of my past notes/tests/homeworks, so it was a great database for when I needed that information at a moments notice.

    The iPad did lack productivity though. As you said, MS office was unavailable for it, and pages did not suffice. Actually, MS office still doesn't suffice for me. I haven't found the 'equation' tool, which is what I most used in ms word. Formatting was an issue as it looked different when I exported it out to ms word on a school pc to print. Also in the engineering field, it was pretty useless to me. Autocad and solidworks were our primary tools, and well... Im just going to leave it there... But as I said, there were computer labs with the software, so anytime I needed to format a report (I would type it on the iPad and format it on a pc) or use the engineering software, I would simply go to those labs.

    So in turn, while the iPad couldn't do everything, it was still a great tool to keeps around with me. It was an at hand database for my old notes and textbooks, Internet access for assignments, and a great distraction for those boring classes. It was very easily portable with an all day battery life. And while occasionally I did need to go to an actual PC to get some real work done, having the iPad and school really made things much easier for me.
  20. viskon macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    I have both an IPad and a Note 10.1 (2014). The Note is what I use to get the more serious things done. Multi window and the stylus are a killer combo for taking notes while reading pdfs. The iPad is more of a gaming and media consumption device for me. The form factor of the iPad is very nice for those things.
  21. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I used iPad Air for everything and job search too. But it lacks file management and attachment management. I am happy for Microsoft Office app it helps me with job search with resume. It is not going to replace my rMBP just yet. :apple:
  22. Totally macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2012
    West Coast = Best Coast
    As someone in the hard sciences, until the ipad can run Mathematica and matlab, it is not going to work as a primary device. And fat chance it would ever run those.

    The ipad is a nice supplement. Some days I leave my computer at home and just carry it, consequently, those are the same days I know I won't have to do any heavy number crunching.

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