Being Productive With Your iPad

Our Productivity Contexts

Before we get started, please think about your productivity practices and your workflow (on your desktop/laptop) for the following:
  1. Communication: email, sms/text, mobile phone, Skype/gTalk/FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter/Seismic)
  2. Events - Appointments and Schedules: recording people, time and location, reminders
  3. Projects and Tasks: planning, setting critical path
  4. Content consumption: scanning, reading later, reading now, annotating, recording snippets
  5. Content creation: note-taking/minute-taking, writing documents, creating presentations, creating/working with spreadsheets, taking photos, recording audio, making a video

Now look at the session description below, prioritize the outcomes for your current workflow needs. What are your top three?

Session Description

  • This session is aimed at those people who either have an iPad or are thinking about getting one. For those people who have basic familiarity * with an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch (i.e. iOS devices).

By the end of the session, you should be able to
Manage your iPad for any type of work
  • Set up and synchronize your various email accounts and calendar (Google, MS Outlook, or iCal)
  • Transfer and synchronize files between your iPad and your laptop/desktop
  • Edit or create MS Office docs: Word, PowerPoint, Excel (requires purchase of a commercial app)
  • Make the Safari web browser on the iPad work productively for you
  • Download and annotate readings in pdf (requires purchase of a commercial app)
Leverage your iPad for learning
  • Make your aggregation of content from journal databases and web for reading, listening and viewing more effective and efficient
  • Make audio and text notes for courses, research interviews, focus groups and meetings (requires purchase of a commercial app)
Use your iPad for presentating and teaching
  • Present and annotate your PowerPoint slides for presentations
  • Enhance participant engagement in your presentations

Duration & Format - This session will last for 75 minutes including time for Q&A

Please take this short survey about your iPad experience and workshop priorities:

* Please make sure you do the following before coming to the session:

  1. Connect your iPad to iTunes on your laptop or desktop and synchronize it
  2. Create an iTunes account (you do not need a credit card to download free apps but you still need to have an account) See
  3. Customize iTunes settings for the device for your typical workflows. When the iPad is connected and has finished synchronizing, click on the device name in the left column and click through all the tabs on the right column (Info, Contacts. Calendars, Email, Apps, Music, Video, Photos, etc) and scroll down the window for each tab to view the synchronization options available to you. This is so that you are able to make decisions about which options meet your workflow/productivity needs
  4. Customize the device to your typical workflows using the Settings app on the iPad.e.g. email, calendar accounts, pairing your phone with your iPad so that you can use the phones 3G data link (warning! you need to check with your phone service provider if there are any costs associated with this), etc.
  5. Learn the device controls - see the slide presentation below.

Have you completed 1 to 5? If you need help, please ask one of your colleagues. Your peer group has a great range of expertise, including using such devices as iPhones and iPads.

1. Set up and synchronize your various email accounts and calendar (Google, MS Outlook, or iCal)

Email and Calendars

If you have a single calendar in your Google Calendar account, then follow the instructions at:
From Google: Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device

If you have multiple calendars in your Google Calendar account, then follow the instructions about CalDAV Calendar Sync at:

m.HKUST UST academic calendar, contacts, Library search, campus maps, etc.

Tasks (Events/Projects)

How to record tasks, events/appointments, etc depends a lot on your personal workflow (which includes the software you currently use on your desktop/laptop or the web). Consequently, it is difficult to make recommendations.

A good source of information here is and their recommendations for task management are here.
The most popular asks for task management are:

OmniFocus (US$39.99, Mac only)
Things (US$19.99, Mac only)
ToDo for iPad (US$4.99, syncs with Google tasks)
Wunderlist HD (free, Win, Mac, iOS, Andriod, Win mobile, web, cloud sync)
Remember The Milk (free, universal app, syncs with cloud services including Google tasks)
Toodledoo (US$2.99 app, web-based application)

The first two apps use David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) work-life management system.

A related app:
Corkulous (US$4.99, personal task/project management, could be used as a team project board)

In fall 2011, Apple will release iOS 5 which will come with quite a range of new features including Reminders. For a list of the new features that are coming, visit this page.

2.Transfer and synchronize files between your iPad and your laptop/desktop

You must think cloud computing; particularly cloud storage i.e. rather than a hard drive, you need to think of your files being stored on the internet and accessible via wifi at anytime and anywhere you have connectivity

Dropbox (free, 2GB) (free, 5GB)
Sugarsync (free, 2GB)

Otixo : (free) WebDav access to multiple online storage services (can be used directly on your desktop and with Apple iWork Apps: Keynote, Pages and Numbers)

Apple's release of iOS 5 in fall 2011 will include iCloud which will provide 5GB of online storage for free.

All of these have annual paid fees for storage over the free GB amounts above.You need to install a free desktop/laptop client (Win or Mac OS X),

To quickly share between iOS devices, use the free Bump.

3. Edit or create MS Office docs: Word, PPT, Excel (requires purchase of a commercial app)

Office Suites - all connect to online cloud storage services including Dropbox,, Google Docs, etc.)
Documents To Go Premium (US$16.99)
QuickOffice Pro HD (US$19.99)

4. Make the Safari web browser on the iPad work productively for you

There are a lot of useful browser apps for iPad but you cannot change the default browser as you can on a desktop/laptop. The key to productivity with Safari is social bookmarking and bookmarklets.

Diigo - Diigo app (free) - diigo bookmarklet - bookmarklet
Joliprint - print web page to pdf and save - lots of bookmarklets here, browse and see what might be useful for your workflows
Pocket (formerly Read It Later) (free and pro US$2.99 app)
Instapaper (US$4.99, should become redundant with iOS 5)
Read later function built into Safari browser.

Make notes/clippings from web sites and synchronize these with your laptop/desktop
Evernote - overview video (free, free desktop/laptop clients to synchronize across devices/pc's)

5. Make your collection/aggregation of web content for reading intelligent (more effective and efficient)

Personalized News
Reeder (US$4.99, RSS app that connects to Google Reader, very clean interface) Nearly all journals, newspapers, etc. have a subscription feed (called RSS for really simple subscription/syndication). You can use the free Google Reader to bring these together into one place. The advantages of reading this way is that a) journal issue email alerts are removed from your inbox b) you can access whenever you want from any computer or mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc) c) it can be more than journal email alerts. Below are a few examples for different disciplinary journals. Clicking the link will take you to Google Reader where you either login if you have a Google Account (Gmail) already or create an account if you don't.

Flipboard (free, magazine style presentation of various news and social media sources)
Zite (free, magazine style presentation of various news and social media sources, you can add search topics related to your interests/study, you can add positive/negative reviews for articles it finds and it will constantly improve/refine its search)

6. Download and annotate readings in pdf (requires purchase of a commercial app)

GoodReader for iPad (US$4.99, integrates with cloud services like dropbox, etc. Can annotate MS Office docs as well as pdf. Lots of other functions.)
iAnnotate (US$9.99 - only annotates and works with pdf docs but very sophisticated at this and very fast at moving through the pdf document)
PDF Expert for iPad (US$9.99, also fast scrolling as optimized for pdfs, also has pdf form filling capability)
Diigo (free web app, social bookmarking and web annotation) - see Annotating the Web with Diigo

Journal Databases
EBSCOhost (free)

Amazon Kindle App
Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader
Amazon Student App
Apple iBooks

Free eBooks
Project Gutenberg
Free eBooks at Amazon
Free eBooks at Borders
Free eBooks at Barnes & Noble
(Article with links) The best 6 sites to get free ebooks
(Article with links) 20 Best Websites To Download Free EBooks

Bibliographic (referencing) apps
Papers (US$14.99 - 40% student discount on this price i.e. US$8.99) - can pull articles from databases and annotate downloaded PDFs
Mendeley Lite - Reference Manager (free app, web-based service)
ZotPad (US5.99, viewing your references from Zotero but no editing/adding/deleting)

7. Make audio and text notes for courses, research interviews, focus groups, meetings (requires purchase of a commercial app)

Audio recording of lecture/meeting synchronized to your note-taking
Notes+ app (US$4.99, Lots of functionality. It also has an adjustable palm rest area, so you don't mess up the notes if you are handwriting with a stylus or your finger)
Audiotorium (US$4.99)
AudioNote (US$4.99)
SoundNote (US$4.99)
Notabilty (US$2.99)

Other writing apps
CourseNotes (US$4.99)
Penultimate (US$1.99)
WritePad (US$9.99) - handwriting recognition

No screen-distraction writing
OmmWriter (US$4.99, also available for Mac and Win PC's)
IA Writer (US$4.99)
CleanWriter (US$0.99)

Other Apps
Interview Assistant HD (US$0.99)

8. Teamwork and Meetings

Use any of the synchronized audio recording/note-taking apps above.
Idea Flight (free but with US$7.99 for Pilot upgrade and one person must in meeting/team/group be Pilot)
Meeting Mngr Pro (US$9.99)
Conference Pad (US$4.99)
MeetingRec (US$1.99)
Assemblee (free) - meeting procedure management app
GoToMeeting (free app, web-fee)
FuzeMeeting (free app, fee-based online meeting space that ramps up to HD video conferencing)

9. Present and annotate your PowerPoint slides for presentations

The first two apps work on a remote desktop model which means you need to install a free client onto the desktop in the lecture theater/classroom or onto your laptop which you take to the venue. Once we know which presentation app or apps people prefer, CELT will discuss with ITSC about having these clients installed in classrooms and lecture theaters as part of the PC default setup.

2Screens-Presentation Expert (US$5.99 plus in-app purchase US$2.99 for AirShow in browser - works with latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari but not Internet Explorer 8)
AirSketch (free, US$9.99) - virtual whiteboard through the browser

iClickr (US$9.99) - slide annotation, can display your slide notes or can show (peak at) the next slide on from the one displayed on the screen via the LCD projector. Needs installtion of a free remote client.
Splashtop Presenter(US$19.99) - Slide presentation and annotation, and whiteboard.
There is also a remote desktop client so you can run any software on the classroom pc/your laptop. Needs installation of a free streamer client.

e-Lecture Producer HD (US$3.99) - create voiceover for your PowerPoint which then is saved as a movie

10. Enhance participant engagement in your presentations / teaching

Record your screen whiteboard and share as a movie - need Apple iPad VGA cable (see 17. below) to show in class as you write/create
ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard (free)
Educreations (free)
Explain Everything (US$2.99)
Screenchomp (free, but can only post to their public site and cannot delete)
Brushes (US$7.99, really and art app but will record all you strokes)

PollDaddy (free from
eClicker (Host (U$9.99) Client (free)
iCardSort (US$5.99) for card sorting/proriotization tasks.
Mindjet for iPad (free) - the desktop (win or Mac) application is integrated with MS Office and MS Project
Mindmeister for iPad (US$7.99) - individual or collaborative mindmapping
iThoughtsHD (US$9.99)

With Splashtop Whiteboard running, hand over to a student or student group to show/demo/draw.

Tap Video and TVR (both free) - if you have an iPhone and iPad you can record using your iPhone camera and have the live recording actually on the iPad which can be connect the LCD projector. This would be great for demonstrations (in sciences and engineering at least) and would allow you to immediately replay the recording experiment from the iPad connected through the VGA cable. Needs the iPad VGA connector or for digital TV the iPad Digital AV (HDMI) connector from Apple.

11. Study Apps for Students

iStudiez Pro (US$2.99) - study management (instructors, courses, schedules, assignment tasks and deadlines, etc)
Terminology (US$2.99) (free)
Mendeley Lite (free) Article research reference/citation management
Papers (US$14.99) - article research management and sharing
Articles (US$1.99) - Wikipedia articles optimized for iPad
Discover (free) - Wikipedia in a magazine

Science, Engineering
LabAssistant (free)
App for Lab (US$1.99)
The Elements (US$13.99)

Business, Social Science
Bloomberg (free)
WSJ (free)

12. Materials for Teachers and Students

MIT OCW Lecture Hall (free)
TED talks (free)
The Elements (US$13.99)
Star Walk (US$4.99)
NASA (free)
Google Earth (free)
Hot Apps 4 HOTS (iBook) (free)
Apps Taskonomy - Digging deeper into the application of apps

iTunesU - watch this video on how to power search this resource

13. Conference Travel Related

FlightTrack Pro (US$9.99)
GateGuru (free)
TripDeck (free) - travel itinerary manager
HotelPal (free)
Kayak HD (free) - deal finder: flights, hotels, explore
Priceline Hotel & Car Negotiator (free)
TripAdvisor (free) Hotels, flights, restaurants
TripIt (free or USĀ£.99 for no ads) travel organizer - keep family / colleagues informed (web site)
XE Currency (free converter)
AccuWeather Platinum for iPad (US$0.99)
Weather+ (US$0.99)
Nightstand Central (US$1.99) - alarm clock with much more
The World Clock (US1.99) - timezone clocks

14. Language Learning


Chinese Writing
Chinagram (US$4.99)

Task-based Language Learning
Writing tasks - see 3. and 7. above)
Digital Storytelling:
  • SonicPics (free, US$2.99) - add audio to images or sequences of images and then export them as video files
  • StoryRobe (US$0.99) - Create digital stories using images and video from your camera or photo library. You can use the built in microphone, or any 3rd party microphone to create audio recordings with photos and videos.
  • StoryKit (free) - create an e-storybook

15. iPad in Education web sites

iPad in Education - teacher community
iPad Academy (iPadAcademy on YouTube)
iPad in Education articles (Scoop it)
Teaching with iPads

16. Articles and Use Cases with the iPad

50 resources for iPad use in the classroom
Using an iPad as an alternative to an interactive whiteboard
Displaying iPad Screen Wirelessly Using a Classroom Projector
Stop motion video - SpartaCup and an article on the project workflow.

17. Hong Kong

MTR Exits (free at the moment)
Hong Kong Observatory (free)
Hong Kong Weather (free)
iWeather HK (free)
Hong Kong Tourism Board (a number of free apps)
iCallCar HK (free)
HK Taxi Meter (free)
HK Movie (free)
HK Mark Six HD (free)
Toilet Rush (free)

18. Track price changes/updates and download applications you are interested in having

AppShopper (free app with watch list, push notification of updates/price changes and most importantly gives the price history! - a lot of developers move prices up and down so it can be worth waiting depending on the history)

Open AppShopper and perform a search for your discipline and see what comes up!

19. iPad Accessories

Apple iPad accessories (HK Store, English)
Apple VGA Adapter (iPad 2/iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4th generation)
Wacom Bamboo Stylus
Adonit Jot Stylus
DAGI Capacitive Stylus

Bluetooth Keyboard and Case
Apple Bluetooth Keyboard + InCase Origami Workstation

Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker/speakerphone (US$200 from Jawbone, ~US$100 on eBay)

What other key tasks do you perform as part of your typical workflows that you need/would like to do on your iPad?

Do you have any questions about accessories for your iPad?

iPad as an external/extra display.