Since the arrival of the iPad Pro in Autumn of last year, there’s been a bit of a meme on the Interweb about ditching the MacBook and going ‘iPad Only’. We’re going 1:1 iPad with our KS2 children from September, where we’re basically requiring children to use iOS as their main computing platform, so maybe I need to see what that’s like too.

Before jumping in and getting an iPad Pro, I wanted to see if it really was possible to do ‘normal’ life as a teacher just using an iPad. So for the last few months I have almost entirely run my school life off my trusty iPad Air. Here’s what I’ve found…

Things I’ve liked:

  • Having everything in one place, meaning I can do all of my work anywhere where I have my iPad. A MacBook Pro is so heavy and bulky in comparison!
  • Instant-on, so no waiting for slow hard drives or boot up times.
  • The adventure of discovering the potential of iOS. With features such as Document Providers, Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture, iOS really is more and more suitable for ‘real work’.

Apps I’ve found useful

  • PDF to Images is a little app that converts, well, PDFs to images. Handy for making some Apple TV screensaver Flickr slideshows using Keynote!
  • Documents 5 is such an essential app. It provides a file system that you can open documents into, which can then be served up in other places (like in Safari) as a document provider.
  • Word allows you to view .docx files with reliable fidelity. It doesn’t fully play nicely with the iOS world (for example, not supporting ‘Open In’ for files), but is great if you need to view/print/edit Word documents properly.
  • Screens VNC is a Mac remote access app. I’ve been using this to remote into our Mac server if I ever need to do something I haven’t yet figured out how to do on iOS.

So, having basically survived quite well on only an iPad for quite a while, why not just stick with an iPad Air?

  1. So an iPad really can replace a Mac for me. Split screen multitasking, and just having a bigger screen, make jobs like copying data from websites to spreadsheets easier rather than a fiddly and laborious process.
  2. So teachers can see that an iPad could replace a Mac for them too. With Apple Pencil support and a bigger screen, scribing and modelling handwriting becomes a reality.