Tablets/iPads as a Government Tool

In 2010, the New York Times proclaimed that 2010 would be the “Year of the Tablet.” The most popular tablet turned out to be the iPad, with 14.8 million units sold since April of 2010. The tablet has multiple functions including internet access, word processing, and touch-screen capabilities that enable the use to “draw” an image on the screen, take “handwritten” notes, or use a keyboard application to “type” on the tablet screen into a document.

While the iPad or similar tablets are being used by private individuals for a variety of purposes, it is also being used in local government or academic settings, according to

In January, the Virginia General Assembly piloted a project to adopt the device. The state House’s IT department handed it out to 15 delegates, while the state Senate’s General Laws and Technology Committee got 15 iPads as well. The ultimate goal of the pilot is to cut down on paper usage. A few years ago, Virginia lawmakers were given laptops in a similar effort to wean them off lugging around large, printed books of bills. It didn’t work. But state tech officials say they’ve been encouraged by early iPad feedback from even the most technophobic state representatives and senators…

iPads in Action

1. The Williamsburg, Va., City Council adopted iPads to eliminate paper and enhance e-mail and Web access for councilmembers.

2. Roslyn High School on Long Island, N.Y., handed out 47 iPads to students to replace textbooks, allowing them to correspond with teachers, turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of their work in digital portfolios.

3. Prosecutors in Cameron County, Texas, plan to use iPads to examine potential jurors’ Facebook profiles during the selection process to get a better picture of who may be deciding the outcome of trials.

4. Law enforcement departments in two Tennessee counties purchased iPads for police officers to draw sketches and record testimony on crime scenes, file police reports and investigate background information without calling dispatch.

5. The Texas Department of Information Resources is testing the device in a number of ways, including to see whether iPads could fully replace employees’ laptop computers.

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