Going PaperLess in Meetings #iPad

Today, at a meeting that I regularly go to, I decided to go ‘paperless’. The papers for the committee had already been emailed to me (rather than the usual internal post, which can be hard for me to get as I’m only in 2 days a week), and so were accessible via my email online.Some thoughts:

  • I had a choice whether to open them as non-editable from the email or open them in other Apps I have installed, where I am more likely to be able to comment & annotate.
  • As I thought of things, I could email myself, or tweet things out to a wider audience (which got some really interesting responses, not that I fed them back into the session!), or email someone, so actioning immediately.
  • For this session, I emailed myself notes, rather than annotating online, largely because I haven’t had time to find the right app yet, and I wanted to concentrate in the meeting rather than be focused on the technology.
  • I found it a little difficult to work out which paper we were on, as it was referred to by the chair by the document subject, rather than the attachment number given to the file emailed out. This, however, would be easy to rectify, particularly if the chair is also using an iPad.
  • Similarly, when people talk about page numbers, these don’t exist if the document is opened straight from email (one long document). Potentially open in ‘Pages’ which is the iPad equivalent of Word (with Keynote for PowerPoint and Numbers for Excel, with documents exportable between the two).
  • The iPad belongs to my department, rather than to me, but to use it, I’ve had to sync with my iTunes account. Other people have a desire to borrow it, but at present there’s a lot of my personal information, so we need to look at a departmental login (but there are 3 of us from the department in this particular committee!). See review.
  • I got several people talking to me, who wanted to have a play with the iPad… as I’ve commonly said, demonstrating by example is the best way (sometimes its finding the time to demonstrate though!). We are looking at purchasing iPads so that most committees can go paperless – they would pay for themselves very quickly (in reduced paper costs), and aid the environmental agenda (well, if you take manufacturing out of the equation at least).
  • We particularly think that for those taking minutes this will make a great difference, as notes will already be in online form, and therefore the production of minutes will be much less time-intensive, freeing up time for other tasks.
  • If everyone is on the iPad (and we have good WiFi so no need for 3G iPads… if extra signal is required, a MiFi could be purchased), then extra documents to illustrate a point, etc. could be circulated immediately amongst delegates.
  • Yes, a laptop or Notepad could do a similar job, but the iPad is so lightweight and so right for the job, that it seems a key tool.

Have other people used iPads or similar devices similarly, and has particular advice, warnings, or enthusiasms to provide?