Our iPads arrived this week

One of the goals of our integrated learning commons is to provide technology tools for teaching and learning to our faculty. I used some of my FY2009-10 budget dust to purchase two Kindles and two wi-fi only iPads. The Kindles arrived in two days, but the iPads took the slow boat from China (literally) and arrived on Monday while I was in DC at ALA.

Ryan, aka GQ computer dude, configured one of the iPads this morning and gave it to me to use over the weekend. I will admit that I am impressed. I am not an Apple fan boy. I personally can’t stand Steve Jobs. However the speed, size, and screen make this device captivating.

The iPad connected easily to my home wireless. I’ve streamed from Netflix and the ABC apps and found the NPR and Pocket Pond (think koi, lily pads, and rippling water) apps addictive. I still need to do some research before buying any apps.

What are we going to do with our two iPads? Experiment. My reasons for purchasing were simple. I want to make sure our computer guys have some hands on-time prior to August. I’m confident that we will see more than a few students show up in the Fall with an iPad in hand. I am curious to see what role an iPad (or tablet) might play during library instruction or reference work. Based on my limited experience so far, the iPad is ideal for roving reference in and/out of the library (based on your wi-fi infrastructure). Searching and reading articles on JSTOR using the iPad…wasn’t quite magical, but it was cool. Finally, I want to give our faculty an opportunity to touch an iPad and figure out if/how it or another tablet device might be used for instructional purposes.

To be clear, MPOW has no plans to give away or require our students to have an iPad. The initial hands-on use will be by computer services, library staff, and faculty to discover the potential and the weaknesses. My intent is to lend the iPads to students starting sometime during the Fall semester.

I will continue to share our experiences with the iPads here. I’m curious if your library is lending iPads to faculty and/or students? What are your reasons/goals for lending? How much or little policy do you have in place for this type of technology? Please feel free to share your experiences by leaving a comment.