Here are some anecdotes from the first week of students having the iPads.

I saw one student in the Commons who, after we had stressed the importance of securing bags and not leaving them behind, pointed out how he was sitting with his backpack strap over his leg. Another student said she was freaked out by having the iPad in her bag and had never been so paranoid about her bag being stolen.

One student, in another class whose teacher allows his crossover students to use their iPads, apparently entered class the day after getting his iPad insisting that they have a notes-focused class so that he could take notes with his iPad.

Speaking of note-taking, I had included Evernote on my apps-to-get list but one student today showed me NoteTaker (spelling?). I don’t know much about it but he says that he prefers it to Evernote (and another student mentioned that he didn’t like Evernote either, though we didn’t get into the specifics).

And a more general observation: Certainly the concerns about the distractability of the iPads are valid; the minute students get into class, the iPads are out and the games (or ESPN or YouTube) are fired up. But, in general, they have been good about putting them away / getting out of the games when I tell them to do so. On the other hand, they are quite simply very quiet because they are buried in their iPads. Now this might not necessarily be a plus (especially depending on what’s keeping them in their iPads) nor am I suggesting that the cost of the iPad justifies its use as a classroom management tool, but the focus on the iPad is very high (now I have to channel that focus) and the distractability is of a much quieter sort; the class without iPads is now a louder class than the class with iPads, largely due to the iPads.