The iPad was made for you

Today, I stood up in front of a group of parents who have kids with special needs and said, "I firmly believe that Apple had folks like you in the front of their minds when they were working on the iPad." And I meant it. If you’ve ever seen a person who struggled to form words pick up an iPad, you’ll agree. Apps like iCommunicate and Proloquo2Go open up new worlds for these kids and their families. Speech, writing, and signs fall to the wayside and are replaced with taps and swipes These children “build” sentences with their fingers. It’s a marvel to watch. I’ve been doing Mac Instructor for over a year now; before, I taught for Apple in its retail stores. My workshops usually began with the basics (Safari, Mail, Photos), and then eventually got to the razzle dazzle, awesome stuff (FaceTime, Maps, App Store). Makes sense, right? Well today was a bit different. I was tired of starting with the boring stuff, so instead, I asked myself, How can I reduce my opening introduction to the size of a Tweet? That’s how I came up with the above comment. I wanted to capture them at the get go. Then, I showed them a little app that demonstrates the iPad’s multi-touch gestures: UZU. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. It’s one of those particle apps that flings pixels across your screen, depending on how many fingers are touching it. It’s one of those “Oh cool!... yawn,” apps. Don’t worry, I closed the app before the yawns. My point is that I discovered a new way to teach. Which, if any of you are in education, you’re probably laughing at me, thinking this is speech 101 material. But today, after hooking my audience within the first few seconds, I can say that they remained engaged for the remaining hour. And we had a blast. “Oh, wow!” kept coming from the kids, and the parents were nodding along. In particular, they loved the iPad’s accessibility features and parental restrictions. The key was seizing the zeal of the iPad, and articulating it in a passionate, and emotional way. Kind of like saying, it’s a magical and revolutionary device, right?

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.