A Day of Unexpected Gifts

Although I try to keep away from school over the summer, there are days in August when you have to go in to work. Today was one of those days. I actually went in to help a graduate prepare for a college audition, but when you go in–there are always other things waiting.

Two of those were extremely good things. First, I work at a relatively new high school. It opened in 2009, and technology has shifted enough that we would have gone other ways with the technology available in our school. The choir program started with 5 iPod Touches and 5 Brookstone Boombuckets to use for sectionals, individual practice, guitar, and other things. The iPad didn't exist when we were buying these things for our school.

I've owned my own iPad, first an iPad 1 in April of 2010, and an iPad 2 in March of 2011 (I chose not to update to the new iPad this year). We held a “fundraiser” of sorts, collecting CDs and DVDs to exchange for an iPad (we may try to do this again), and between those funds and some investment from our choir boosters, we were able to buy an iPad 2 this Spring (after the new iPad came out). We call that iPad “iPad Bach,” and I just used Bach this week while presenting at the Perpich Center.

As our school is a new school, we get limited funds for Capital Outlay. All the departments bring in their budget requests (Capital items are permanent items that cost over $100) and we discuss who gets their wish list. My request for choir was another iPad. The idea was to buy an iPad 2, which is less expensive and just as capable, but with 32GB of memory (some of the apps, such as Notion, take up 1 GB of space, and some of the new iBooks will be over 2GB). It turns out that the 32GB iPad 2 is no longer available, so waiting for me today was the new iPad. I still need to request funds from my boosters for some apps and a cover…but we now have two iPads out of the five I would like to replace the five iPod Touches. The new iPad is named “iPad Beethoven.”

By the way, we're distributing the iPod Touches to other teachers in the district who still do not have that level of technology in their room (they may have 3rd or 4th generation iPod Nanos). So really, our expansion also benefits the district. I've written a number of grants–without success–to do this same process, and will continue looking for that other funding, even if we have to continue putting this project together, piece by piece.

We have Google Apps in our district (although our specific school has chosen not to use it yet), so the district has been creating unique Google Apps e-mail addresses for our iPads, so that in the event I am no longer with the district (no plan for that, just in case), the apps remain connected to the district.

Meanwhile, the drama department has been using our Boombuckets, and one of them was damaged this summer. The drama director volunteered to replace it, so we now have our own Jawbone Jambox. It is still at school and charging, but the Jambox will be perfect for what we do in our classes and with individual students.

Back to the new iPad and the iPad 2…I have mentioned that the new iPad has as good of camera as the iPhone 4, whereas the iPad 2 does not. I wanted to take some pictures that demonstrated this, using the Justand I discussed in my last post.

I took a picture of my own personal iPad (showing Fauré's Missa Basse, from the CPDL) with both the iPad 2 and the new iPad. One is at the “natural” focus point of the iPad, the other is zoomed in (to a point). The first two pictures are from the iPad 2, the next from the new iPad.

iPad 2 No Zoom

iPad 2 Zoomed

New iPad No Zoom

New iPad Zoomed

What you'll see from these pictures is that the camera on the new iPad is worth having, particularly if you plan to use your iPad as an overhead projector. The camera alone might be worth the $100 price difference (16GB versus 16GB model). Yes, the Retina screen is really nice…but if you are using the camera for projection, the quality of the camera really matters.




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