Council starts training for iPad transition - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Council starts training for iPad transition

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Technology changes almost every day and the key is to keep up with it.

Monday night was basically a back to school night for the South Bend Common Council as they started their iPad training. Council members learned everything from how to use SIRI to how to send e-mail, but more importantly they started to grasp the benefits of tablets.

"[Its good because] just the amount of paper that we'll save on the council," said Derek Dieter, South Bend Common Councilman. "The amount of information we can do, bookmark things, highlight things is phenomenal. I'm very excited about what this is going to do for us."

The most recent council packet for each council member was 128 pages. With the switch to tablets the council will save themselves from having to print over 1000 pages of material for each meeting. According to council members, the switch will save the city approximately $16,000 a year, which is enough to buy 40 more iPads.

Council members expect that they will need a few more training sessions before they are ready to make a full conversion from paper to tablet. It is a training process council member Tim Scott is ready to walk them through.

"One of the reasons we went with an iPad is because it's user friendly and so simple," said Scott. "You show [the council members] a few tricks on how to get into some application or get into a file and they pick it up right away."

Some council members struggled with some of the iPad basics Monday, like downloading apps, but by no means are they alone. According to Best Buy Tablet salesman Mark Garbiciak, several people struggle at first with tablets.

"It's a familiar interface but its a little different cause its touch," said Garbiciak. "As far as storing files and pulling up files its very similar to computers. Just think of your finger as the mouse."

Making the switch to tablets is going on almost everywhere you look these days. Even the University of Notre Dame recently announced they were going to start offering students the option to lease iPads instead of textbooks.  Garbiciak says its a nationwide change that's happening for good reason.

"It's very convenient. You're able to take a lot more with you. The size is definitely smaller. You usually see better battery life and things like that on a tablet, so there is definitely a huge convenience piece with them," said Garbiciak

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