Saturday, May 5, 2012

The iPad in Cuba

My goal for using the iPad in the classroom was to find an immediate way of sharing images to an individual student or to a small group of students in the studio rather than moving the class to a smart room.
Since I am on sabbatical this semester, I have not had the opportunity to use the iPad in the classroom. Currently, my primary use of the iPad has been as a camera and for e-mail. In February, thanks to a Mellon Grant, I traveled to Cuba to research ceramic-based artists. My interest was to include these artist’s images on This image database was developed by Watzek Library and the Art Department at Lewis & Clark College in 2007 and currently has over 340 ceramic-based artists from around the world.
During my visit to Cuba, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with numerous ceramic-based artists where we shared ideas about each other’s art and accessCeramics. It was disappointed to find out that in Cuba, the Internet is so poor; I could not use the iPad to share accessCeramics images with these artists.  
While in Cuba, I took hundreds of images and videos using my iPhone, a Panasonic digital camera and my iPad. While, I like how I can use the iPad to capture still and video images, I found some drawbacks. First, the iPad is a bit clunky in terms of size when using it as a camera…it is not discreet…it is like holding a book in front of your face. The large size of the iPad does have one advantage compared to an iPhone or small camera. It can provide the user, a bit more stability when shooting images, especially in low light situations. 
But the main concern I have when using the iPad as a camera, is that the resolution is somewhat limited compared to an iPhone or my digital camera. The images seem to be fine for PowerPoint presentations, but when printing or trying to enlarge the images, they are not sharp. There may be a way to increase the resolution on the iPad, but I have not found a way to do that yet.
Another problem that I found was that the Marware case that I bought is creating a very slight shadow in the lower left edge of videos. This is apparently caused because the hole for the camera lens is too small and is casting a shadow on the image. I really like this Marware case, it is tough and really protects both sides of the iPad, but because of this shadow issue, I will ether return it or cut the lens hole a bit larger to correct this problem.
I am still learning about the potential of the iPad and try to use were ever I go. It is a work in progress and this summer I will be exploring potential apps for drawing, glazing and other apps can use in the ceramics studio this fall.
Thanks, Ted Vogel
Associate Professor of Art - Studio Head in Ceramics

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