Aaron Gysbers is a personal friend and former coworker of mine who teaches in an Independent School in Burnaby, British Columbia. He very recently was able to purchase an iPad Pro (plus accessories) to use for his role as “Technology Champion” at his school. Being very new to iPads, I wanted to ask him a few questions regarding his new teaching tool.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this Aaron. First, what is your role in teaching?
My current role in teaching is High School teacher, and Technology Champion for our school. For teaching, I have mostly taught Math, but have diversified in the last couple of years to teach Christian Studies, Science, and IT as well.
As a classroom teacher, my use of technology continues to expand. I started out in my first year making it by with an overhead projector, a painfully slow laptop, and occasionally a ‘data’ projector (that is when it was a available to me). Since then our school has moved to mounted projectors, with tablet/laptops (right now the Lenovo Yoga), and Netgear Push to TV’s in every room. This setup allows us to wirelessly project from anywhere in the room, and the computers that we are using give us the benefits of both a PC, and a tablet.
As Technology Champion (no I did not have to win a belt) my job is to champion, or pioneer, new technology/devices for the school. It was impressed upon us at one particular professional development day, that it is really good to have a ‘try before you buy’ protocol before you invest into new forms of technology. As an example, we were looking to replacing our Lenovo X220’s. It was my job to test a number of devices including a Surface Pro, Lenovo Helix, and a Lenovo Yoga. By the end of the testing phase, it was clear that the Yoga was the best fit for us. As a result of that process or elementary school replaced all of the computers with Yoga’s, and our high school is making the transition as well.
Currently, as Technology Champion, I have a few new things happening in my classroom. I have an Epson interactive projector, that projects right onto my white board. The projector was installed with controls and connection points on my wall (which is way better than the classic remote setup!). I have a RedCat microphone system. I also just got the iPad pro with a Smart Keyboard, pencil, and AppleTV. While all of these things look great on paper, it’s amazing to already see what works well and what is just ‘just nice to look at’.
Is this your first iPad used for teaching? If not, which models have you used before?
This is essentially my first iPad.
Which accessories (if any) have you purchased with your iPad Pro?
Along with the iPad Pro we bought a Smart Keyboard, a Pencil, and an Apple TV.
What are some of your favourite apps that you have used with the iPad Pro?
For this question I have to admit that I am still quite green, and have stuck to a lot of what I know. Most of what I have installed thus far has been either Microsoft or Google. Most of what I have worked with in the last years has been in these environments. One particular app that I am excited about is TouchCast, which I saw featured at ISTE 2015. I just set up a green screen in my room, and I am excited to give it a go.
What do you think are some drawbacks of such a large device?
At this point, I am loving the size. A lot of the devices that I have used thus far, have had very small screens. I am really excited about this one, because it is easy to look at and use.
The one downfall that I think goes along with the size is lugging it around. At ISTE this summer, I had to have both a PC and an iPad. Both devices I had were relatively light and compact, and I packed light (no charging cables or other extras), but we were logging about 10 km a day on foot, and my shoulder was really hurting by the end of the week.
If it can replace the need for a second device. I think size won’t be an issue. But if you need to carry two devices, maybe the size will be a problem.
What is the best thing about your new iPad Pro?
So far what I am impressed by most is the display, the sound, and the Pencil which works really well so far. However, I am still relatively new to the Apple environment, so I am sure that there will be some things that I really grow to like as I use it more.
Could the iPad Pro replace the PC in your everyday workflow?
At this point, I don’t see that the iPad Pro could replace my PC. I have too much stuff already in the PC world. However, the jury is still out, and I have only begun using this iPad.
Thanks so much Aaron for taking the time to answer these questions! I hope you continue to learn many ways in incorporting your iPad Pro in your everyday teaching!
Know of anyone who would be a good feature for teachingwithipad.org? Please feel free to contact me!
Like this post? Please share!