Why you should use an ipad for driving lessons

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Having used traditional paper based lesson plans, diagrams, booking systems etc for many years I decided that it was time to look into getting a tablet device. So my first decision was whether to get an ipad or an android based device such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I have to admit here that I have a built in bias against Apple. I have much more time for Android’s more open development options and don’t appreciate that Apple are so restrictive. However I soon felt that it was a bit of a no-brainer – I had to bite the bullet and get an ipad. Not because they are better than other tablets but quite simply because there are hardly any apps for driving instructors that have been developed for the android system. [However I subsequently found that I was not too impressed with the apps and so opted for an Android tablet]

ipad or ipad mini?

Having decided to go for the ipad I then needed to decide whether to get for the standard ipad or the mini version. The mini version is cheaper and less bulky but I was concerned that it may not be big enough for using with pupils in the car. Having taken on board views of the Facebook Group “I’m a Driving Instructor and I’ve got an iPad!” and having extensive plays at the local PC World/Currys, I decided that the mini was the one to go for.

what apps?

There are several different driving school apps on the market for use by driving instructors. The two main options seem to be “Driving Instructor” which costs £19.99 or a whole slew of different apps developed by Neil Beavers at http://www.robosoul.co.uk/apps.html. Now of course the difficulty is that you can’t try all these apps out before you buy them. I decided to go for the “Driving Instructor” app quite simply because, although it is quite expensive, I wanted everything in one place. I didn’t want to have to fiddle around opening different apps for different subjects.
driving instructor app

My initial reaction to the Driving instructor app was disappointment. Some of the modules seemed quite poor and some of the diagrams were weak. Also I found that the method for editing the app for instance to put in you own syllabus was less than intuitive. Unfortunately the tutorial is in the form of videos which is not very helpful if you are trying to find out one particular thing and have to trawl through loads of videos to find the answer. A simple quick start tutorial in pdf format would be a lot more helpful. As I have continued to use it the app has grown on me. On the plus side it is quite customizable enabling me to make it fit what I personally want, on the negative side it requires some tech ability and quite a lot of time!

At £19.99 I was expecting something that would work straight out of the box. Initial impressions were that this app has a bit of a half-finished feel to it. The show me tell me and theory test question sections are weak and seem to be space fillers. If you want an app that does everything out of the box this is certainly not for you. If you already have pictures, diagrams, photos on your computer that you want to import and are willing to put in the time and effort then this may well be the ideal solution.

[This article was first published in 2014]

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