The Safari web browsing app has been even more useful than I had predicted, and thus the iPad has been a constant presence during class. Specifically, in the teaching labs students often ask very insightful questions, some for which I either do not have an immediate answer or are better addressed with a picture.
Safari on the iPad is most useful for looking up information as needed while walking through lab.
The ability to immediately access Safari and open a link to an online dictionary, a picture of an ammonia processing plant, or an interactive periodic table has greatly expanded my utility to the students. Students could look up information on their phones, but instructors can more readily distill the information and provide immediate gratification to the student, rather than deferring questions to office hours.
The utility of Safari extends beyond the specific web browser application. As we discuss course material in the light of new data, I have also used the iPad to edit handouts on the tablet and email notes to myself, thereby instantly changing various details of the material for future generations.
See Professor Udit’s post on editing and annotation.
Indeed, I believe that ultimately the best use of the iPad is exploiting its portability and connectivity to access and deliver information as needed, with the ability to annotate for later recollection.