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So Shiny! Lest We Forget, iPads Require Purpose
June 27, 2012 - 9:27pm

My backpack was heavier than usual as I strolled to my gate at Boston's Logan Airport this past Sunday. Included in my usual collection of travel items was my new iPad. During my meetings with a client on Monday and Tuesday a fascinating thing happened. My laptop, a tech tool that is almost always near me, was never removed from my bag. My personal/professional "era of the iPad" had arrived. Productivity, sharing, curating, and searching never stalled. Having been told that this would happen, I wasn't as astonished as I would have been a couple of years ago, but still…the iPad is quite impressive.

The iPad is "shiny" and incredibly useful. However, sometimes I worry about gadget infatuation. In fact, that's partially why I held out so long in making my own leap to being almost completely in league with "some kind of fruit company." For every iPad that is purchased for professional purposes, it would seem that there are plenty of examples of professionals who use institutional funds to make purchases without purpose. How many times have you heard an administrator who openly admits that they have a new "work" iPad simply because they had funds to spend? I've heard this story being openly shared and I am always befuddled that anyone would do this. And, let me make this clear that I'm generalizing based on numerous experiences from my consulting endeavors with schools. However, those who usually get new iPads are all too often those professionals who are in senior-level positions. It's a fascinating phenomenon. It's like giving a Ferrari to someone who only needs a car to make trips to the grocery store while administrative race-car drivers try to jumpstart their Ford Escorts. I know, that's harsh*, but this happens and we know it.

From a productivity perspective, the iPad is a remarkable device. One particular functional area that seems perfectly suited to using the iPad is academic advising. On two separate discussion threads (NACADA's LinkedIn Group and on Facebook), advisors have been sharing ways in which they are using iPads. It's awesome. The combination of powerful technology with purposeful application should always be on our minds as we talk about how "gear matters."

*Note: there's nothing inherently wrong with senior administrators having awesome pieces of tech. It's only "wrong" if it's not being used…e.g. the Ferrari is sitting in the garage gathering dust.


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