Are you always on the go? Most of us carry around thumb drives, a laptop, a cell phone and, in some cases, a backpack packed with lots of tools! An iPad makes a great "digital backpack." Stay connected with your email, calendar, communication tools, newsfeeds, presentations, school documentation, and notes all on one small device! The built in apps will handle a nice chunk of your digital needs. Add a few more free ones, and you might just have a fully stocked digital satchel. Most power users will probably want to spend a little money on a good office suite. The number of apps can be overwhelming, so many folks suggest having your main productivity apps on the first screen. Move your secondary, less important, and entertainment apps to a separate screen. Let's talk about creating a digital backpack with your iPad!

Let's load up.....
  • Your "iPad USB drive" - Set up a free dropbox account on your main desktop or laptop. A free account will allow you 2 gigs of storage space. The cool thing about is that all your files are synched across every device you'd like. Make a change to a powerpoint on your desktop, and that same, updated ppt file is right there on your ipad! Think of (and its free ipad app) as your ipad's thumb drive. It'll hold nearly any kind of file, and most can be previewed on the ipad.
  • Choose your browser. Safari is a nice, mobile browser. You can sync your bookmarks using iTunes, which is nice. I prefer the Diigo browser. It operates a lot like Chrome, and works amazingly well on the ipad. To me, it's a better ipad browser than Safari.
  • You'll need some reading material, in addition to your Internet bookmarks. I like Flipboard for magazine-like feeds from Twitter, Facebook, and lots of other RSS sources. It's a slick app, and makes reading certain RSS feeds much more fun.
  • Want full books? iBooks, Kindle, and Nook. I can't say I have a preference. I like all 3. Since iBooks is standard, you could use that to house loads of free books (and purchased ones, of course), as well as any PDF manuals you need on your ipad, etc. Lots of folks like to have a copy of their content standards, teacher observation manual, etc. on their ipad for quick reference. You should explore some free books at Project Gutenberg. Remember, really any Word document (and many other files, of course) can be saved as a PDF, then imported into iBooks.
  • Courses, podcasts, concerts, videos, etc. are easily found at iTunes University. Lots of schools, government organizations, and universities share content at iTunes U. Load up!
  • You'll need to take notes on your iPad, of course. Here's where you'll want to really think about your work style. Are you more of a post-it note taker, maybe a scribbler of short notes? If so, stick with Evernote. It's amazing - it syncs all your notes, and lets you record audio, snap pictures, snag web pages, and keep them all in a nice tag-based dock on your Ipad. The cool thing about Evernote is that it also syncs across all your devices - iphones, blackberries, desktops, etc. So, you could jot your notes quickly on the ipad then, if you need to, access them on your desktop to neaten them up in MS Word.
  • >> If you need fancier note-taking and a more refined Office suite, more along the lines of MS Word, then you've got lots of (paid) choices. If you're already a Mac person, you probably want Pages. If you're a PC user, perhaps you should check out Quick Office Pro or Documents to Go. Both handle Word, Powerpoint, and Excel files just fine.
  • You can view webinars just fine on iPad also. The usual players all have free apps that work quite nicely! Webex,Go To Meetingand Adobe Connect.
  • Data collection is a must, and Google Forms seems to be the favorite tool to do that with. Why not? It's free, easy to set up, and works very well on iPads! Here's a great place to get started.
  • What else can you do?