Teaching Creative Writing With the iPad

Dear Colleagues, 

I thought I’d pass along a note that I received from a student regarding the use of the iPad in the Creative Writing classroom. I have taught this young man a handful of times, and he was one of the students who I thought might have difficulty adopting the technology. He’s from rural Oregon, and always writes the drafts of his stories (most of which are somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 words long) in spiral-bound notebooks, with a pencil. I’ve never seen him carry a computer. 

It’s taken some time, but he seems to have really found the technology useful. I’ve posted his recent note to me below: 

“One of the things that I’ve liked the most is the ability to organize every document in the course through the iPad. Given that I normally take notes by hand, the sheer number of pages we handle– especially in a workshop-style class, when we’re churning out so much writing every week — can become overwhelming as the semester progresses.  Combine that with reading assignments for published fiction / nonfiction pieces that can easily be 10 + pages, and it makes for a pretty messy binder.

 
For this class, though, everything I need is on a single device. I never have to worry about losing documents when I have the iPad with me; functionality is not forsaken at the expense of accessibility, but rather enhanced by it, creating in essence a “one-stop-shop” for my studies–“One-stop-shop” for every class, really. There’s probably a reason why you can’t spell “university” without “universality.”
 
And of all the things to say about what an iPad is, to say that its applications are user-friendly is an understatement (Insert any hilarious episode regarding my incompetency with technology here). I’ve never been very skilled with anything electronic, but I found myself learning the programs in the iPad quickly. Apple just makes them so simple to use. That’s a bold statement coming from a Generation-Y male who didn’t known how to take pictures with his smart phone until a few years ago, and by that I mean a few days ago.” 
 
It’s been a great project to be a part of, and I think particularly for students in collaborative-learning environments (like a writing workshop), it’s been an incredible boon. 
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