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“The iPad (pronounced /ˈaɪpæd/ eye-pad) is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. Its size and weight falls between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. The iPad runs the same operating system as the iPod Touch and iPhone—and can run its own applications as well as iPhone applications. Without modification, the iPad will only run programs approved by Apple and distributed via the Apple App Store (with the exception of programs that run inside the iPad's web browser).” (Wikipedia, retrieved 15:03, 15 September 2011 (CEST))


Accessories are both produced by Apple and by third parties.

Essential Apple accessories for academics
  • iPad VGA Adapter (for older video projectors, else use HDMI if you can since it weights less than HDVI)
  • HDVI Adapter (e.g. the Belkin HDMI to DVI cable). I didn't get this one, because most modern projectors also have HDMI input.
  • iPad Camera Connection kit (for both USB and SD Cards). It can be used for other purposes. Since the USB adapter is female, you can connect the IPAD to a digital keyboard with a "normal" USB-A to USB-B connector. Test with the Yamaha DGX-640 digital piano.
  • iPad Apple Digital AV Adapter (for modern video projectors / TVs). E.g. it has a HDMI connector. It's probably a good idea to get a HDMI m-m cable (either from Apple or another source) for connecting to a projector or TV (didn't try the latter).
  • A keyboard (also provided by third parties) if you plan to write. The foldable Logitech (See below) is probably the best buy.
  • iPad Smart Cover (both for protection and rapid wake up/sleep)
Accessories from other vendors
  • Bamboo stylus from Wacom for people who like to draw and doodle.
  • A wireless boombox or loudspeakers
  • A keyboard e.g. the hip Fold-Up Keyboard. There are others from Logitech, Apple and others.
  • .... there are many more

The iPad for education and learning

by Madeleine Hediger, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland

The iPad could replace a number of books in the schoolbag of any pupil or student...

Any printed book can have an iBook or PDF version and reading and storing books was probably the initial objective of tablets. But the number and diversification of iPad applications has been growing so impressively since its launch in April 2010 that you can now find an app for everything, or almost everything (over 140’000 apps just for iPad, Oct. 2011).

"Thousands of apps, endless potential" claims Apple in the education section of the iPad

In the educational field you can indeed find apps for the following major uses:

  • Pupils, students: To acquire knowledge and revise any discipline. The choice in languages is particularly broad and adapted (including all major dictionaries), but one can learn mathematics, sciences, arts, music, etc. Web2 technology is used to personalize the experience; the app will detect your lacks and mistakes and adapt its proposals and exercises. E-readers, note taking apps and calendars are also among the most popular apps for learners.
  • Teachers: To manage their class, present new knowledge, use calendars, make notes and presentations.
  • Teacher-learner relation: any major social networking tool has its iPad version (Skype, Facebook, Twitter), e-mails are particularly easy to handle, drop box is available.

The iPad is a rather easy to use and intuitive tool which makes it particularly suitable for young children. While browsing the educational apps I have been surprised by the number of offers focusing on children under the age of 12 and even more by the ones for young kids to learn reading, basic numbers etc. This is probably also in response to the desire of many parents to have their kids acquire knowledge as soon as possible!


  • Only one app can be opened at the time; to open another one you need to close the app you are working with.
  • New apps are available from the App Store exclusively.

The most interesting apps are probably the ones who really use the uniqueness of the iPad (or any other tablet) features such as the easy touch screen, the very powerful and intuitive zoom in function and the localization service. A good example are apps for astronomy where the user is located and will get the relevant real sky map of the day to zoom into details he could not see himself.


(to be completed over time ....)


There are numerous apps to learn about the sky; iPad can locate the user and its very intuitive zoom in makes them particularly interesting:

  • Star Walk ($5), enables you to point your iPad at the sky and see what stars, constellations, and satellites you are looking at in real-time. Information from ESA (European Space Agency).

Drawing / Diagramming

  • Mindjet (free) is an iPad/iPhone version of the popular "MindManager" application and online service. Can synchronize with the online app.
  • iThoughtsHD ($10) is a fully featured mindmapping software (good price/performance ratio). Can import/export from most popular applications including freeware like Freemind and Freeplane.
  • SimpleMind for iPad ($7) is a a mind mapping software. There is also a free version, SimpleMind+


  • GeoMaster Plus ($4 or free limited version) is a geographical quizz on citites and countries aroung th world (in French).
  • Geo Walk ($3) is an easy-to-use and information packed encyclopedia for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch that contains only the most interesting and valuable information about our multifaceted world.


  • HistoryMaps (free) is a collection of high-resolution historical maps.

Note taking

There are dozens ....


There are hundreds of apps to learn languages, for any level and any age! Here some suggestions:

  • Busuu (first units are free, furhter ones approx. $4 per unit) is one of the most populars and proposes interactive learning of many languages.
  • Projet Voltaire (free) can help you improve french writing (spelling and grammar) for french native speakers as well!

Music software

iReal B - Chord chard and Play-along software
  • iReal b.
  • Also available for Android and MacOS X
  • Create, edit, etc. chord charts. 1000s of Songs can be found in the iReal b forums.
  • Practice with a play along/rhythm machine with Jazz Medium Swing, Bossa Nova and Rock styles. Additional packs can be bought.
  • MuseScore (iPad version is commercial $5)
  • Music editor / display
  • Allows to create, import and display MusicXML and Standard MIDI files
Symphony Pro
  • SymphonyPro
  • Music editor / display / playback.
  • Supports MusicXML and MIDI
  • $15


GoodReader ($5) is probably the "must have" app to read anything! The super-robust PDF reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Its iPad version was the #1 selling non-Apple app for iPad in 2010 in USA.


Chemistry: PSE HD (free, by Merck Chemicals) Periodic table of the elements; puts an end to all the squinting and frustrated searching and provides users with lots of extra information.

Natural science: Chirp or Cui-Cui, french version ($3), feature the songs of the most common birds of backyards, gardens, parks and woodland, in north-west Europe, the USA, and Canada.

Other software of interest to education

colouruncovered the Exploratorium’s very first iPad app, was released in October 2011 and was quickly downloaded by scores of curious users; it takes a wide view on colorful phenomena, touching briefly on everything from history to biology. Learn about optical illusions, canine color vision, historical paint palettes, and how colors make us feel.


external keyboard layout/language

If you own an external keyboard, press CMD-space to switch keyboard language and layout. You can add layouts you will use in the settings



  • iPad list of features at Apple for the iPad 2 ("there's more to it. And eve less of it (retrieved 15:03, 15 September 2011 (CEST)).

iPad in education

Lists of educational software and activities for the iPad