The iPad is one of those things in life that definitely falls under the "luxury" category. It's not something that anyone really needs... but it definitely can be used in a positive way. (Read: it's not just for entertainment purposes.)
Before I got mine, I used to play some sort of fruit slicing ninja game (???) on California Funk's. I thought that the use was to play games. While the games may be fun– I'm not, for the record, and Angry Birds fan– the iPad can enhance your experience in the classroom with the right apps.
Most of my classes don't allow for computer usage and the ones that do require actual computing (like Microsoft Excel). I do use my iPad extensively for homework and studying purposes though.
Do you use Dropbox on your desktop? If you don't, you should. If you do, the iPad app is fantastic. I store all my downloaded PDFs and PowerPoint files from my desktop and then can download them to my iPad. If you "star" the file, you can access it even if you don't have WiFi.
Do your professors use XanEdu to make course packs? I am so thankful for professors who choose to hand select articles and cases in a XanEdu course pack instead of a textbook. It saves students so much money and you know that you're not "wasting" chapters of a textbook that aren't covered during a semester.
The iPad app for XanEdu is truly brilliant. Since a couple of my courses use XanEdu, I'm able to download and use the app for certain cases. Normally, I'm all about having a hard copy of a case to highlight and annotate... but the app is so perfectly designed to integrate "virtual" into "reality." It's actually award winning.
The video gives a great demonstration!
I typically will read a case/pdf on my iPad, highlight, and make notes and then prop it up next to my laptop while I type up the actual written report or paper.
So Flipboard can be used for recreational purposes (like reading Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter), but it is a great resource for catching up on the news and other current events... in a visually appealing way! (Bonus: You don't have to carry around 100 newspapers.)
Most of my classes require me to keep up with current events. Specifically for each class. I added a bunch of boards
My two favorite selections are The Economist and Forbes. You really can flip right through and find articles that appeal to you and read them super quickly. It's much better than a website honestly. I find myself really distracted when I'm actually on my computer; I click a bunch of links that I don't really need to read. Flipboard makes catching up on the news fun and easy and right to the point.
Those are my Top 3 apps for the iPad to make studying easier.
Do you have an iPad? Do you use it for recreational or educational purposes? What are your favorite app?