Two of the project team spent a week at FSC Slapton Ley testing out various iPad apps with 67 level four students. 3G connection in the area was relatively poor which limited the extent to which we could test some of the apps which rely on location services such as Flickr, Panoramio and Twitter, but we made use of some offline apps such as GeoMeasure and Numbers, both of which were popular with the students.
The students suggested that the apps were really easy to use with little assistance required. The only app they felt they needed more assistance with was Numbers as it worked differently to Excel and required more time for the students to graph data.
Each member of the first group were asked to describe using Twitter on the iPads in 3 words. "Fun, useful, paperless, convenient and easy" stand out as the positive feedback about the iPads. "3G, Wet and Risky" stand out as the less positive feedback about the iPads (though we suspect "WET" was in reference to the British weather in February rather than the iPads - incidentally the iPad cases we used were excellent in the rain, we will follow up on this with a blog post in the next few weeks). "3G" was in reference to the lack of 3G coverage in the area which meant that the Tweets saved as drafts before being uploaded minus location data back at the Field Centre.
On the whole, the feedback was extremeley postive towards the iPads and the apps we chose to trial. An annotated Pin board has been put together describing different apps and how useful they are for fieldwork. You can view that on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/efieldworkl/ipad-apps-for-fieldwork/
Next fieldtrip location is New York City where our field tester (Derek) has already confirmed 3G is not a problem!