I plan to use the iPad to support my Interpersonal Media course. It is an introductory course in our department that is organized around the question: Do basic interpersonal communication processes change when we do them through electronically mediated channels instead of face-to-face? Our classrooms are one place where interpersonal communication takes place, so by experimenting with different media for classroom communication, students experience first-hand some of the issues we study in class.
An iPad will give me more personal experience of integrating digital tools into my own everyday life. I suspect I'll become more familiar with social media if I have the iPad with me as I go through my day. I also hope it will make it easier to utilize digital tools in class, including Skyping in experts, annotating PDFs, and doing more lurking and commenting in the Moodle forums I ask students to use. I am replacing reading response papers with student blogs (and I'll be keeping my own blog related to the class) so instead of carrying around a stack of response papers to grade when I have a spare moment, I'll access their responses on the iPad. The convenience and portability of the iPad will make it easier for me to do all of this--up to now, finding the time has been a barrier to a lot of ideas I've had for using technology in the classroom.
Today, I started looking into annotating PDFs. I assign some original scholarly articles in the class and I'm curious if I can improve student comprehension and discussion by inserting into the PDFs sticky notes with questions or comments (e.g., asking them to stop and reflect on a question, think of an example, play devil's advocate, or notice a connection to another reading or idea). I'd also like to highlight some key passages they will be expected to discuss or that might appear on an in-class quiz. So I'm investigating how to annotate PDFs and then save them in a format that students can read using plain old Adobe Reader. I have been reading some online reviews and comparisons of GoodReader, PDF Expert, and iAnnotate. So far, it sounds to me like PDF Expert is the most versatile and flexible. A big issue is that the files I annotate must be readable by students who are likely to use the free version of Adobe Reader. One of the blog comments I read today suggested PDF Expert will let me export an annotated PDF in a "flattened" format so that other versions of Adobe can read it.
I plan to purchase PDF Expert with the iTune cards we were given. I'll post a review as soon as I have a chance to experiment with it!