iPad finds its place with professors

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Casey O'Brien, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, uses his iPad. Photo by Emily Waller / emily.waller@marquette.edu

If using an iPad makes you cool, then Marquette’s faculty could mentor the Fonz.

Apple’s tablet touch-screen computer is making inroads on the educational system, particularly with professors looking to be hyper-organized.

Connie Bauer, a professor of marketing in the College of Business Administration, is a fervent supporter of utilizing iPads in the classroom. Bauer considers the iPad a useful tool for all students and professors

“I am now all iPad in the classroom,” Bauer said in an e-mail.

Bauer uses her iPad to run her PowerPoint slides, show videos from websites, take attendance, and even has it linked up with the overhead projector in the classroom.

Bauer is not the only Marquette professor who is a proponent of the iPad.

Gee Ekachai, a professor of public relations, is a new convert to the iPad and has begun to use it to organize her materials for her classes. Ekachai uses numerous apps on her iPad for her own personal organization and said she plans on using it more in the classroom for things like PowerPoint slides and videos.

Bauer’s support for the iPad goes beyond a typical desire to buy the latest Apple product. Bauer has started a website which highlights useful iPad apps for students and teachers.

She has even created a Google group for Marquette professors who use the iPad so they can share tips and useful apps on a message board with each other. So far, the group has 11 members, including Bauer.

For students, Bauer said a number of note taking and textbook reading apps could make the iPad an essential tool for studying. Bauer said she believes the iPad is pretty close to being a replacement for laptops and desktops.

“If a student already has easy access to a laptop or desktop for occasional use and can set up and maintain a personal iTunes account on that computer, then having only an iPad would be a viable option,” Bauer said.

However, some are not as convinced of the usefulness of the iPad.

Casey O’Brien, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, called his iPad purchase a “curiosity buy,” and said he only uses the iPad for entertainment and games.

O’Brien considers the iPad impractical for school purposes because of the tedious nature of typing on a touch screen.

“(The iPad) can’t replace the laptop,” O’Brien said. “It is good for reading short items like e-mails, but reading on the iPad for any length of time is a strain on the eyes.

O’Brien said it is difficult to see the iPad’s screen while outside, and increasing the brightness level of the screen only decreases the battery life.

“I thought I was using the iPad a lot when I first got it,” he said. “But with each passing week it became more and more clear that I was not going to use it as much as I thought I would.”

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