I have read numerous articles about using only the iPad for a certain period of time to test its limitations and capabilities. After having seen others evaluate their work performance from conducting this assignment, I also invested one week and tested the limitations of the iPad and added my journal entries to my blog. I have, however, read little if anything about someone giving up the iPad and reverting to their PC for all work needs. This idea fascinated me and I desired to find an opportunity to make this my next assignment, having the freedom of tablet technology no longer at my disposal.
In all seriousness, I did not set out on this project and plan ahead as people do when deciding to use only their iPad. I simply stumbled upon the chance after having been asked whether I would loan my iPad to a staff member for a period of four days. I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to report on my idea of going 'iPadless' and do some self reflection and report on my findings.
Honestly, I have had no hesitation in loaning my iPad to anyone that is wanting to trial different things in their classroom. Each time I have done this has been for a limited time and on each occasion I log out of various Apps including 'DropBox', 'Evernote', 'ShowMe', 'Edmodo', 'Twitter', 'Blogger' and 'Facebook'. After having introduced 'Edmodo' to our staff, several team members have been wanting to do things differently and one teacher in particular likes the idea of flipping the classroom and uploading material to 'Edmodo' for the students to review after hours. To have access to 'Edmodo' and 'ShowMe', my iPad was needing to be plucked from my hand. I was more than happy to share the iPad to add benefit to teaching dimensions and improve students learning.
Needless to say, the iPad and I work as one. The iPad is my default. In fact, it is more than that. I find that with my iPad, I can do almost anything. Therefore, testing iPad limitations and capabilities and relying on this form of technology for a certain period of time, as many have done, is a basic test of work performance. I believe, true discovery may be found in not having an iPad at all... 'Going iPadless'. My challenge is to evaluate my performance and productivity without the iPad and report on my findings.
Before I go to work, I usually disconnect the iPad and unplug the charger from the wall. I then throw the gear into by satchel and place it on the passenger seat. Obviously, without my iPad, I had less to carry and the passenger seat was empty. When I arrive at work I turn on my PC and wait for it to load. While it takes a lifetime to start and it's booting I open 'Mail' on my iPad and review my day's agenda and read and respond to a few emails. I also view my RSS feeds and look through journal articles I received via email.
Going iPadless, I was able to complete my work at my work station, however, when out on the field and doing my rounds and catching up with various teachers about different concerns I felt like I was missing something. Without the iPad I was unable to schedule follow up sessions and plan catch up meetings. I found myself having to remember times and room allocations and when I returned to my office, I added the meeting to my calendar in 'Outlook' and then sent a meeting request. I actually missed an appointment on Friday from having to completely rely on my own personal memory space. Workdays went smoothly, however, I found that I had to return to my office more regularly as though it was home base. The iPad does allow increased flexibility, mobility and productivity. It makes me more efficient.
When I return home, I usually work throughout the night. Even if I am watching, 'Revenge' I find myself reading 'Tweets' or a PDF that I've sourced. I know this sounds silly, but, after having studied at University for two years, conducting hours and hours of professional reading each night, attending university several times throughout the week and writing assignments, I have found it difficult to switch off. In fact... I can't. I know it sounds silly, but, I am yet to learn how to relax again. Sad... but true.
Without the iPad at home I was disconnected from work. This factor made me a better husband and dad. Going iPadless, allowed increased focus on my beautiful wife and children. Sometimes, I multitask when home and without the iPad I found that I could 'just be'. I actually liked it. I liked it a lot. I usually, find myself opening the cover of my iPad during the night to see if I have any emails and when I do I shoot a response or drop the request into my calendar. Being 'iPadless', I was unable to do this. I had uninterrupted home time. Being iPadless kept home and work separated as they should always be, a little like how 'Twitter' and 'Facebook' serve different purposes, professional and social and being iPadless provided liberation and freedom from work.
I enjoy using technology and to me the iPad has made work a hobby. While this may be good, it is a little concerning because work bleeds into personal life. Once upon a time, people would be annoyed if they received phone calls about work after hours, however, emails have unknowingly leeched their way into being a social acceptable means of home invasion. One must remember, emails received after work hours do not require immediate response when 'clocked off'. Being without an iPad meant that I was unaware of what duties awaited me and this factor was surprisingly freeing. I think I may have actually slept better.
Without my iPad, I was unable to access my calendar and I found this the most frustrating as I was unable to plan ahead and map the agenda and program for the day. I am useless with an actual diary and I have used 'Outlook' since forever and therefore I am only able to use digital tools of organisation and without the iPad I lost this level of organisation and productivity. I also found it unusual having lost my connectivity to 'DropBox' and 'Evernote' as I heavily rely on these Apps. Furthermore, access to 'Twitter' is so easy on the iPad and obtaining information from PLNs is a breeze with mobile connectivity. Being iPadless, I was unable to flick through my RSS feeds, eBooks and journal entries to which I subscribe and as a result this portion of my professional learning was lost. I was educationally disadvantaged without an iPad.
From conducting this exercise I have learnt valuable lessons. iPads are a personal device and when removed, for some strange reason you feel a sense of loss. I am not talking about separation anxiety, I simply mean that patterns of productivity with which we have become familiar make us disorientated and there is then the need to rethink how we do things to accommodate change. I found that a small percentage of my Apps are essential to my personal productivity and that my professional reading is an integral part of my routine. The most valuable lesson I have learnt is a simple one... home is home and work is work and the two must be separated at all costs to preserve life as it should be.
I think I may have rediscovered the meaning of life. There must be an App for that...