Recently I acquired an iPad. Actually I won it in a raffle. I am pretty excited to have the newest thing on the block for once in my life and am looking forward to sharing my experiences using it in the classroom with my students once I get it set up and into a hardy case.
For now I am going to share what it is like to try to blog from the iPad.
(This post is for my fellow education/disability bloggers. I apologize if this isn't relevant for others of you.)
Blogging on the iPad is a pain in the.... Well you know.
I use Blogger for most of my blogs and mobile Safari does not work with "compose mode" in blogger. I don' know if it is a bug or Apple being their usual proprietary selves but if you want to compose a blog post in Safari using Blogger you better be ready to code some HTML. There was a time when I was quite good at coding in HTML but it seems since 1997 that space in my brain was replaced with other knowledge. Attempting to use Blogger on other iPad web browsers wasn't much better. Atomic Web Browser (not the free version) wouldn't let me click on the text edit box for the body of the post and all of the others I tried (three in all) had similar bizarre issues.
I stand six feet one inches tall at this point in my life and my hands reflect my height. Squeezing my fingers together and attempting to type type is a no go. Hunting and pecking is painfully slow. I typed blog entries faster on my Blackberry a year ago than I do using the iPad. Carrying a Bluetooth keyboard seems to defeat the purpose of a device that fits in a manilla envelope.
There is a blogging app called BlogPress which I have used successfully on my iPhone and works well from my iPad however it has a reputation of destroying posts instead of posting them and crashing when you try to use a Bluetooth keyboard.
Some searching on the internet found that some bloggers are using Pages, Apple's word processing app to compose entries and then using either the e-mail feature of Pages combined with the e-mail to post option on most blog hosting sites to send the text. A great idea, except it is lots of work and the number of steps increases the possibility if a mistake.
Inability to multi-task on the iPad combined with no tabs in Safari and difficulty copying and pasting since I don't seem to have magical fingers means that I can't create posts in my usual manner with many open internet browser windows and lots of copying and pasting. Much frustration ensured for me as I tried to make things work.
Automatic spell correction continues to be an issue for me, both on my iPhone and the iPad. I have dyslexia and Apple's spell correction never fails to be unable to figure out what word I mean, constantly replacing misspelled words with correctly spelled words that make no sense at all and have nothing to do with what I am writing. Having to constantly stare at my hunting and pecking fingers I don't notice that a half dozen words in a paragraph have been replaced with non-sense until I stop typing and check my work. When I am emailing people I am close to I just leave the mistakes, my friends understand, but I want my blog readers to think I have some mastery of the English language so a lot of time is spent fixing things. (Yes, I know I can shut off the spelling correction, but I can't spell so I need some kind of spell checker/corrector. That is no happy medium, you can't for example get spelling suggestions without automatic word replacing.
Automatic capitalization creates similar problems. I am constantly trying to convince the iPad that either I DID mean to capitalize that word or that I DID NOT mean to capitalize that other word.
Since flash isn't supported I am finding over and over again that websites I try to view to use in my post or to review for the blog cannot be used. For example I wanted to talk a bit about Mixbook in education, but it will have to wait until I have a real computer to use. (I think this might end up being an even bigger problem in the classroom. So many important educational websites use flash and we won't be able to access them on the iPad.)
That's about it. I should say that over all I really do like the iPad and I think it will have a number of very useful implications in my classroom and at home, but blogging just doesn't seem to be one of them.
For the record this blog entry was created in the Pages app on my iPad and then imported into the BlogPress app to be posted. All of the formatting done in Pages was lost when the entry was moved into BlogPress, I added spaces between each section, but did not attempt to fix the loss of numbering those sections that happened as it is just too much work.