Tablet use / E-books in nursing school?

  1. Hello,

    I am considering buying an android tablet for school - possibly downloading textbooks, power points, etc. on it and using it for studying during downtime at work or between classes instead of lugging around notebooks/textbooks. I have heard there are new programs that allow you to hilight and take notes on tablets, which would be helpful as I am an avid note taker / color coder.

    Has anyone else done this successfully? I feel guilty buying a tablet which is basically a larger version than my android phone, but if it will be convenient to take to work and save weight in my backpack it might be worth it!!

    The only thing I'm worried about is getting used to the technology, and most of all the strain on my eyes with the LCD screen.

    Your advice is appreciated!
    Last edit by stigrl on May 23, '12
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    About stigrl

    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 33; Likes: 2


  3. by   brillohead
    Check to see if your books are available as e-books... if you can't use the tablet for your books, would you still want it?
  4. by   theantichick
    I have a Motorola Xoom tablet, and I love it.

    If your textbooks are from Elsevier, they have an app PageBurst which is actually pretty good. It lets you take notes, highlight in different colors, and there's both an iPad app and a new beta Android app. (You may have to dig a bit to find the Android one, but it's there.)

    Some of the other e-book readers don't have as robust of a note/highlight capability. So research where your books are being published from and see what your options are before laying out the money.

    There's also a OneNote app for both iPad and Android which rocks OUT LOUD.

    Be aware that to use a tablet for note taking, you're going to need to do some adjustments:

    * If your instructor's notes or presentations are provided in powerpoint or pdf format, you're going to want to put those into something like OneNote using your desktop computer, or you'll need to purchase an app that lets you edit them on the tablet - that capability does not come built in.

    * You may or may not have wi-fi at your school or other places you might study, so while cloud computing rocks, make sure you have a local copy saved.

    * The tablets out right now (unless you spent about 2 grand on something with a Wacom input with a pen) do NOT have the sensitivity for good handwritten notes. You can get a stylus, but the end used to write with is about as big as a pencil eraser (maybe a little smaller). Unless you practice and get VERY good at it, you really can't make handwritten notes.

    * The best solution I've found is a bluetooth keyboard. (I have one from Logitech where the case for the keyboard becomes an easel for the tablet and I LOVE IT) It's a bit more bulk to carry around, but the advantage is that when you are taking notes, your tablet converts into basically a netbook, but when you're just reviewing/reading, you don't need it and it doesn't add to what you're using. Gives you options, basically.

    * If your books are not provided by Elsevier, you're going to be putting together a library of mis-mosh DRM's and different applications for different books. For example - my care plan books are on Nook Study (from B&N) but there's no android app or iPad app for Nook Study. And you can't copy/paste from Nook Study to another app, so I have to use a screen print app and another program to extract the words from the images in order to get information into say a paper I'm writing. Some books are available with Kindle, but I haven't used that one to know if it's any good. Some books are available with Adobe DRM. There are ways to break the DRM (except for Elsevier) and get a book to work on another platform, but it's arguably illegal and sometimes it doesn't port across all that well.

    There's one other thing to note - there's an even chance you won't be able to take your tablet to clinicals with you, so don't count on being able to use it for reference or study while at clinicals.

    People I've encountered either love e-books and a tablet for studying (like me) or they absolutely despise it. Before laying out the cash, if you have ANY opportunity to play around with someone's tablet (especially with e-readers to see their capability) take it.
  5. by   IndyElmer
    theantichick -- THANKS!! This is the most thorough posts I've seen on the pro's & con's of e-books & tablet computing!
  6. by   theantichick
    I'm glad it's helpful. I personally love technology and e-books, but I always want to be clear about the pros & cons. Some of the technology is really new, and still has some quirks that are just a challenge and a little fun if you're geeky, but are absolute show-stoppers if you don't like fussing with stuff.

    I'm playing with the idea of doing some videos about technology use in school, specifically nursing school.
  7. by   anonymousstudent
    Pageburst is HORRID on my iPod. It may run better on an iPad, I don't know.
  8. by   theantichick
    Quote from anonymousstudent
    Pageburst is HORRID on my iPod. It may run better on an iPad, I don't know.
    It's pretty bad on an iPod, because it wasn't designed for that small of a screen. (I also have an iPod Touch that I use for reference during clinicals.) The navigation is flat out horrid.

    Get it on something bigger like a tablet, it's actually pretty decent.
  9. by   destova
    Great review AntiChick!

    Quick note, google is supposedly launching a tablet in q4 this year that runs on Jelly Bean. For those not starting school till next year it may be worth the wait as the tablet should be affordable, plus its bound to have built in support for nearly all Google services like hangout and docs.

    Also, I believe OneNote is paid software, no? An open source free alternative is EverNote. It is fantastic!!!! I have it on my main Linux pc, on the family windows pc, and on my phone. Synch is seamless, the functionality is out of this world, it's so useful.

    Lastly, I'd highly recommend having a Google account to type notes into. This way you aren't using up limited storage space on the tablet and you can access the notes on a home pc without transferring files. Yes, there are issues with that if you don't have wireless access, in which case I'd recommend a tiny usb drive, plug
    "HP v165 16 GB USB Flash Drive P-FD16GHP165-AZ"
    into Amazon or newegg and you'll find it. I'd link but it keeps forcing the mobile url on me.
  10. by   IndyElmer
    I've heard good reviews of PageBurst for laptops / PCs. There was another program that someone raved about for highlighting/notetaking on their laptop, but I can't find his post on our school forum.
  11. by   theantichick
    Good notes destova.

    OneNote mobile doesn't cost anything if you use under a certain number of pages/notebooks, and I haven't come anywhere close to that limit yet. If you don't have MS Office on your desktop, you can still use OneNote as a cloud based software on the SkyDrive site, just minus a few features.

    I have Evernote, but haven't figured out yet how to make it useful for me for notes and school. But then I'm a OneNote junkie.

    A Google account is definitely a must-have, especially with the new Google Drive.

    Make sure you check the specs for whatever tablet you get - mine for instance will take a micro SD card, but there's no USB slot for using a thumb drive. iPads don't have any kind of expansion slot. Some don't take SD cards but do have a USB port. It's completely varied.

    Jelly Bean, huh? Makes me cringe that I'm locked in for 2 years with my Verizon Xoom. It was supposed to be a "pure Google experience" and as such should already have ICS on it, but Verizon still has us waiting. :out:: If I had to do it all over again, I think I'd have gotten an ASUS Transformer. :/ Maybe I'll pass my tablet along to my kiddo and get the cool Jelly Bean when it comes out.
  12. by   destova
    Ah, doesn't the transformer look great?!

    I have ice cream sandwich on a um, modified, Android phone. Love it! However, I've heard so many rumors that jelly bean is going to have the Google version of siri. Project Mavis? Can't ever remember that name... I'm really hoping they do. The Eva ap is great, she wakes me up and reminds me to get errands done when I'm in town, among other things. I expect project M to be even better considering it's being made by a team rather than just one developer.

    I wasn't aware that OneNote could be free! I've become a bit of a Linux/open source gal so I'm finding myself allergic to anything from Microsoft, though I will admit that friends with OneNote swear by it.

    I actually haven't got a tablet for myself yet. It's on the wish list. But then so is a raspberry pi computer to play with lol