This holiday season, millions of young people and even young professionals will be receiving an iPad as a gift. There's just one problem. The iPad starts with a clean slate, so to speak. This is a proposal for a watering hole, a place for people who want to use the iPad to pursue a particular profession.
Apple's TV commercials emphasize how useful iPads are for learning and for the pursuit of a productive career. And yet, when one first configures an iPad out of the box, the only thing the recipient is confronted with is a page of Apple's own, home grown apps.
While those apps are useful for all the kinds of things people do when exploring or working in any profession, they are not really specific to careers. Formally, the question for my proposal is:
For any given career specialty, for example, astronomy, architecture, aviation, art, writing, business management and so on, what are the best of breed iPad apps, videos and websites that a person pursuing such a career should equip the their iPad with? And who should they be following on social media?
Once an iPad is fully decked out with, for example, the right apps and Safari bookmarks and the right people to follow on Twitter, the iPad owners are poised to live and breathe their dream profession. Or one already selected as a young professional.
Image Credit: Apple's iPad Air TV ad
How would these profession packages be delivered? One way to do it would be to build a website with sections for each profession.
The way I envision it would be to have an editorial board that would, in turn, solicit the expertise of subject matter experts, professionals already experienced with the iPad, who would make recommendations for apps and content that would be linked from the website. This would be a resource for populating a personal iPad with the best apps, links, bookmarks and connections and more. (See below.)
For example, and this is just the bare minimum, someone interested in astronomy as a career should have on the iPad: a highly regarded sky chart app, a professional grade calculator, apps and videos that teach astronomy, bookmarks to skyandtelescope.com, space.com, nasa.gov, telescopes.com, and so on. They should be following, for example, @neiltyson, @BadAstronomer and @TheScienceGuy. This is just a minimum example, and the actual content would be much broader in scope.
Image credit: NASA
An iPad is a portal to all the people and information on the Internet. And yet, when presented with a virtually empty iPad, the tendency may be to drift, collect some games and weather and writing apps and not fully leverage it as a tool that can help a person become successful in a chosen career. Ideally, an iPad becomes a fabulous window into everything a person should be engaged in to develop their dream: exploration, learning, watching and listening, and then communicating with others.
There are lots imaginative funding mechanisms these days that have evolved from the tablet app industry. I won't go into them here except for one suggestion.
Professional conferences often have sponsors who are major contributors to the field. For example, a major conference on aerospace will not only have companies, like Lockheed Martin, sending speakers but also sponsoring the event. Along those lines, companies who sell the best of breed apps or other products for certain professions may wish to become paying sponsors of this watering hole.
The goal here is to get some creative juices flowing. The actual implementation will vary, and others will certainly have even better, more creative and expansive suggestions than I have proposed here. In fact, some educators may already be thinking along these lines.
One thing we can do to for starters is to solicit from you the kinds of apps, links, social network usage, content, recommended hobbies, videos (even inspiring movies) and any other items that should reside on a iPad configured for a person pursing a given career.
I intend this to be an open discussion for all career professionals and educators who want to help young people get off to a great start. The power and the potential of an iPad as "the Internet in your hand," is the perfect way to collect and present the best tools and content to those who are forming their thoughts and activities around their career dreams.