The iPad Project: What Kind of Day Has It Been?

Day one is over and it was pretty much an unqualified success. Early days, of course, but I'm just delighted that it all worked exactly as I had planned.

I'd love to tell you a story of techno-heroism in which I saved the day from certain disaster, because that would make a great story. Instead, like all the best flights, today was calm to the point of almost a wee bit dull.

Had a few classes today: a double period with S4 and another double period with S5. I took them through a quick tour of the iPad, including:

  • The text selection and Cut/Copy/Paste UI, spelling and keyboard autocorrect.
  • The main features of Pages and Keynote.
  • Saving PDFs in iBooks and reading them.
  • Sending and receiving documents via email.

Then we all read the Acceptable Use Policy together and in detail.

It was quite interesting. The kids were obvously excited to be getting iPads but not to the point of stupidity. I was pretty pleased with the way they fitted into the way the school works.

I got the impression that the kids were almost relieved to be working with iOS. I have no doubt that, for a lot of them, it's already the OS they interact with most often.

One amusing anecdote: we installed a drawing app - I forget which one but it might have been Doodle Buddy - that allows kids to collaborate on drawings over the network. The kids were fiddling around with this app when there was a knock on the door. "Errm....Mr Speirs? Are your children doing something to my class's iPads?"

Turns out some kids had been joining shared whiteboards on iPads in the other classroom. Hilarity ensued, of course.

Jailbreak

I mentioned the other day that I was lacking a document camera to present the iPad UI. This morning, feeling under a little pressure, I performed a jailbreak on my demo iPad and installed the DisplayOut extension.

I'm not really a fan of jailbreaking. I prefer to be running well-tested and fully supported configurations but DisplayOut was a bit of a necessity.

Apple people: rdar://problem/8342631

Generally, once the jailbreak was done, DisplayOut worked pretty well. It doesn't show on the screen where the touches are happening, though, which would be a nice feature as and when Apple come to support this.

Anyway, we're done. The school is open, the iPads are working and everyone is happy. Me, I'm completely enervated. Launching a program like this is not trivial and I assert my right to feel just a little accomplished and take the rest of the evening off.