Doing homework / tutorial on the iPad pro?
I see many people always talking about taking notes on the iPad pro, but somehow people don’t talk about doing homework?
Even though they might seem like the same thing, I probably would imagine note taking to be more of just scribbling annotations, whereas homework would require more real estate.
So, (and this question is actually more geared towards math /stats majors like myself), but has anyone completely done away with paper and using iPad for even assignments as well? Does it compromise with your learning?
Thanks for your inputs.
At what level? School, college, uni. I did my whole degree on an IPP 12.9
Would it matter at which level? Like I’m not looking for the best way, I just want to know what ppl around are using it for. So maybe just share your own experiences?
I think this definitely depends on what kind of homework you mean. As a college student with a 13in Macbook Pro and a 10.5 iPad pro, all of my homework consists of:
Reading- Done on my iPad through iBooks for textbooks and Notability/Noteshelf for any PDFs
Worksheets- If a professor passes out a worksheet to complete, usually I’ll scan it with Microsoft Lens, import it to Notability, then print it out to hand it in
Papers- Honestly this is personal preference. If I need a lot of windows open to work on my paper, I open everything on my MBP due to a slightly bigger screen real estate, and type in word on my Ipad with a magic keyboard. If I don’t need sources open or anything, I just use my iPad with magic keyboard.
Online assignments- Some of my homework requires flash, and I do as much of it as I can with my iPad, but sometimes (not often) flash websites don’t play as nicely on an update as on a laptop
Other written assignments- for instance my math class we do problems on paper and turn it in for homework the next day, so I write mine in Notability and print it out.
Overall, it was an adjustment for me as I had the MacBook for a year then got an iPad pro this February. It took time to adjust and find a workflow, but I don’t take my MBP with me to class anymore and it’s so nice having a lighter bag.
Overall, it depends on what homework you plan to do and how you develop a workflow
7 essential iPad features for students
(Pocket-lint) – Apple’s iPads have become more and more versatile tools over recent years, adding handy features all the time. If you’re a student, this feature outlines why they could be the perfect tools for work and classes alike.
iOS updates have kept on adding new tidbits, too, like when Screen Time launched, to empower you to understand and make choices about how much time you spend using apps and websites, all while new iPad gestures will make it easier to navigate.
What’s in iOS for students?
As a student, there are iOS-specific features just for the iPad you’ll want to check out. For instance, the app dock has space for plenty of apps – and you can open them by pulling them up from the dock. Also, the App Switcher supports handy drag and drop for text, images, multi-select, etc, and the Files app will house all files and folders to help you find everything on your iPad.
iOS 11 came with an all-new dock on the iPad, which made it easier to find your favourite apps, recently used apps, and homework files. The Dock is also now important when it comes to multitasking on the tablet; for instance, it’s the only way to activate the split-view mode, as the right-edge swipe no longer works on the iPad. Here’s how it works:
- Press down on an app until the jiggle effect.
- Drag icons to the dock until you’ve filled your dock (it can hold up to 13 apps or folders).
- Open an app by tapping on its icon in the dock.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring back the dock.
- Drag an icon from the dock to the right or left side of the tablet’s screen.
Apple added a new Files app into iOS 11 on the iPad, which puts all your homework files in one place, and it’s now a familiar part of the ecosystem – it doesn’t collate just the ones on your iPad, but also those in apps, in iCloud, and across third-party services. The Browse tab at the bottom of the app lets you easily navigate between files stored on iCloud or on your device, while the Recents tab at the bottom makes it seamless to continue on with your work.
Accompanying the Dock is an App Switcher that shows all of your most recently used apps. It also offers access to Control Center settings and preserves your Split View or Slide Over window arrangements. Apple said the App Switcher makes changing apps “as quick as a swipe”, because, using your finger, you can easily move text, photos, and files from one app to another.
It even remembers the combinations of apps you’ve multitasked with previously, and apps stay active in Slide Over and Split View.
How to make the most of your iPad for school
Schools across America have embraced digital learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with students and teachers turning to laptops and tablets as their portals into the classroom.
Laptops have long been a must-have back-to-school item for college students leaving home for the first time, but tablets, like Apple’s iPad or Microsoft’s Surface, also make quality classroom companions.
With expanded support for mouse and keyboard devices, the iPad has become increasingly effective as a portable workstation, and the gap is closing between apps built for macOS and what’s available in the App Store.
Laptops and netbooks are still superior in terms of multitasking and the overall utility they provide as work tools, but the iPad offers unique flexibility with its top-notch display, touch controls, easy to use software, two quality webcams, and access to Apple’s highly touted app ecosystem.
Apple’s cheapest MacBook starts at $999, while the cheapest iPad is $329. Using your iPad for class offers a more affordable way to work within Apple’s app ecosystem, a benefit that Android tablets can’t match at the moment.
Android tablets include features for setting up a workstation, but it’s probably better to opt for a Chromebook than an Android tablet for school. Chromebooks are compatible with many of the same Android apps and offer more consistent working value than a tablet, with prices starting below $200.
Whether you’re looking to give your iPad to a child for school, or just don’t want to buy and manage another device alongside your tablet, it doesn’t take much to turn your iPad into a quality workstation. But before that, it’s important to lay out the iPad’s native benefits and drawbacks that are ahead of you regardless of the additional gear you buy.
- More portable and accessible than a laptop or Chromebook
- Long battery life
- 5G and 4G LTE options for mobile internet connection
- Easy to install apps can streamline your workflow and work is easily shared with macOS computers
- Incompatible with some common USB devices
- Multitasking with different apps is more difficult than using a computer
- Support for external displays is less than ideal
- Cost for extra internal storage space drives price higher than a laptop and can’t be increased after purchase
The standard iPad is best for school and education
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend buying a new iPad in place of a laptop or Chromebook for school, simply based on the price of Apple’s tablets compared to a basic computer. However, schools have been adopting Apple’s iPad system into their curriculum at an increasing rate for years to varying results, so I have some ideas for how to make the best of its three iterations.
The cheapest iPad ($329) does offer lots of potential and is most commonly used in schools, thanks to its fast processing, easy to use software, and built-in webcams. The iPad Air offers a slightly larger screen and slimmer form factor but none of the Air’s features warrant paying $270 more if you plan on using your iPad primarily for work.
The iPad Pro’s USB-C connector and Magic Keyboard support are appealing features for a work setup, but once you start spending on peripherals the final cost is nearly the same as Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro ($1,299) despite the iPad being significantly less powerful.
Additional iPad storage space can quickly drive up the tablet’s price, so you might be better off investing that money in extra iCloud storage or a USB dongle so you can connect thumb drives, or connect other USB devices.
If you plan to use your iPad to write essays and other assignments, it’s important to invest in a quality keyboard. While Bluetooth keyboards are available for as cheap as $15, you’ll want to invest in something with a strong enough build quality to survive a lot of travel.
Keyboard cases are another option if you plan to use your iPad primarily as a workstation, but can grow cumbersome if you frequently use the iPad as a casual reading device or video display. Just remember, only newer iPads can connect directly to Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard cases using a magnetic connection, so be sure to check if your model is compatible.
iPadOS has an option for “Full Keyboard Control” that makes it easier to navigate between different apps without using the touchscreen or a mouse. Like macOS, the iPad has it’s own set of special shortcuts to help make keyboard control as simple as possible; you can find a short list on Apple’s website.
You can check out our full Bluetooth keyboard buying guide to find one that best fits your needs and budget. Personally I use the Logitech Craft because it has a full number pad, FN media keys, and it can save up to three Bluetooth profiles. This means you can use the Craft with different devices without having to constantly put the keyboard in pairing mode. If you’re planning to travel with your keyboard, you may prefer a more portable choice like the Arteck HB030B Universal.
You can connect a mouse to your iPad via Bluetooth or with a USB to Lightning dongle. Rather than the traditional mouse arrow of a Mac device, the iPad cursor shows a circular touch zone on the screen. The mouse shouldn’t require any setup to use, but there are a few settings to control the scrolling speed and buttons on your mouse. You can still use touch controls interchangeably with your mouse as well.
Just about any mouse will do, though my preference goes to the Logitech Triathlon for its ability to quickly swap Bluetooth profiles for use with different devices; the MX Master is a rechargeable Logitech mouse that’s a bit more expensive. You can see more mouse recommendations in our buying guide.
iPadOS include support for the Apple Pencil, a digital stylus that can be used to draw, edit, and take notes within iPadOS apps. Apple Pencil is an incredibly flexible tool for artists and useful for general productivity, but the pencil probably won’t add much to your workflow during class or when using your iPad for writing reports, essays, and emails for school.
Apple Pencil is only compatible with newer iPads so be sure to see if your model is compatible before picking one up.
Using an external monitor
You can use an Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter ($49) or use AirPlay to connect your iPad to an external monitor. However, the iPad is only capable of mirroring its native screen, so you can’t expand your iPad workspace with an extra monitor. That also means that your iPad won’t automatically fill displays with a 16:9 ratio, even when outputting with an HDMI cable.
Setting up an external display might be nice if you’ve got an extra monitor around, but buying another screen specifically for use with your iPad isn’t a sound investment. If you already have a MacBook, you can use your iPad as a wireless second screen using a new feature called Sidecar that Apple introduced in 2019.
Lots of common programs have been optimized for iPad, but compatibility can still be an issue
With mouse and keyboard support, a built-in webcam, a special version of Safari, and a host of other features, the iPad is well equipped for most tasks, but your success using the tablet for school may come down to the websites and programs your school uses, and whether the iPad is compatible.
The upcoming iPadOS 15 update will improve iPad’s multitasking features, making it easier for users to organize their home screen as a work station and split the display between multiple apps. Google’s G Suite, Adobe Photoshop, and many other commonly used computer applications have also been optimized for iPad, but not every school is using the latest technology.
Parents planning to give their child an iPad for school should be sure to complete a thorough check of the device’s parental control settings to ensure that only age-appropriate apps are available – not to mention the iPad’s compatibility with your student’s school’s systems and policies.
Apple’s time management app, Screen Time, can also monitor and limit time with specific apps on the iPad — a useful tool for kids and adults alike.
The bottom line
As a school workstation, Apple’s iPad doesn’t offer too many advantages over the wide selection of laptops and Chromebooks on the market. But with the right add-ons, the iPad does have the versatility to stand-in for a laptop in the classroom while bringing all the benefits of Apple’s popular app ecosystem and quality hardware.
Kevin Webb is a gaming reporter based from the New York City Insider Inc. office. He graduated from Morehouse College in 2013 and worked as an Assistant Editor with Darien Times and as a member of the Shoryuken content team prior to joining Business Insider in 2018. Kevin has also been a competitive Street Fighter player since 2007 and will still take on all challengers. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.
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