One of the more common objections to the iPad is that it does not allow several apps to be open at the same time. Although sometimes I think this might be a good thing in terms of focus, the complaint resonates with me. I am writing this on my desktop at the moment and have a total of 3 applications open at the same time: Firefox for my research, Safari for writing this blog, mail where I have emailed my screenshots from the iPad, and so on and so on.
Side by side allows you to search the web, download documents and take notes all on one screen. So I did an experiment. I know the Grade eights are in the middle of reading Twelfth night so I used that as my theme. In one panel I used the web option to access the school’s encyclopedia Britannica subscription. In an other panel I downloaded the html text of Twelfth night from Project Gutenberg. I left the whole right side for note taking. This is how it looks:
Pretty Handy! The files application took me a moment to figure out. I was expecting to be able to access a file from my dropbox or other app on the iPad like iBooks, but no. When they say Files, it means only that you can take a website, save it and download it. This means that you will be able to access the file offline.:
To download a file, you have to tap the star and then save. Then they are saved under the files–> all section:
You have several options for the layout:
And you can email your notes:
I also tried uploading a youtube video through the web option and it works fine! A student can watch a video and take notes without having to change screens!
This is a great option for web research on the iPad- the student can have their notes right beside the text, easy and accessible. The temptation to copy and paste is neutralized by the fact that the student can download the website and have it available to them offline.
Here is a youtube video that gives a nice, clear robotic-voiced tour of the app: