Observation - Transitioning Between a Laptop and iPad

14 Sep 2010 - Chicago

Quickly transitioning from working on an iPad to working on a laptop really makes their respective strengths and weaknesses clearer. The iPad is sleek and convenient. It's perfect for browsing the web, emailing, and writing papers for students. The laptop is large, clunky, and hot. It has sharp edges that are painful to rest on, it requires more effort to type on in my opinion, and it blocks the user's view of the rest of the room.

This difference is especially important in a classroom. In most of my classes, students have a laptop screen between them and the instructor, creating a barrier between communication. In my humanities class, where there are mostly freshmen with iPads, this barrier is removed. This results in a higher rate of participation, as well as more visual feedback for the professor, as he or she can now see the students' faces.

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