Okay, so I have to say it.... NOTE: I am not paid to endorse the iPad, or any software mentioned in this blog, nor do I want to do so. Please check with your association, WTC, Regional Chair, NCAA Chair, etc., etc., etc., before using an iPad at a meet. I am not responsible for any complications that you may encounter, either electronic, software, or mental breakdowns. Any software names or titles that I may mention in this article does not mean that I endorse them, or that you are required to purchase them. In other words, take personal responsibility for your actions. :) (smile)
Technology is increasing at such a fast pace that sooner or later we all will have to learn to "deal with it". "It" being technology. In the past few years we have seen the appearance of the iPad and many judges using theApple© tablet to review their notes, videos, and in some cases, judging on it. Coming in 2013 the Women's Operating Code for both Compulsory and Optionals will be available in an electronic version. Will this benefit judges that are using an iPad? Absolutely! When I first got my iPad (I have an iPad 1), I scanned in all the pages from my Compulsory code and stored them in an iPad application called USB Disk Pro which available for purchase on the Apps site. This allowed me to separate the different events so that when I judged that particular event at a meet, let's say Bars, I could pull up the text and the Penalties and have it at my fingertips. I no longer had to carry my book around with me to meets. Wow, did that save space. I will have to admit though, that for the first couple of meets I was a little paranoid and carried the Code and my iPad. Grrr... However, as I got more and more comfortable with using the iPad, the Code stayed at home sipping wine and eating chocolate.
The only complaint that I received happened at just one meet. After showing the Meet Director that I was ONLY using it for my judging notes and code and not judging on it or browsing for jewelry between rotations, all was well and the coach was happy. Well, maybe not happy, but relieved. Because really, as judges, can we make all the coaches happy? I think not.
Many judges have asked me, "Do you think NAWGJ will ever allow judges to use the iPad to judge on?" Well, I do know that tentatively, it has been approved as of the Spring of 2013. I know that some of you, are probably rolling your eyes at this point, wondering why we would even consider it. Well, for me with my techie thought process, I ask, "Why not?"
Consider these thoughts:
1. It's green. No paper. Some trees will now get to live to old age because some judges which I believe are one of the largest consumer of legal tablets, won't need the paper.
2. Organize, Categorize. I can review scores from a particular meet indefinitely, by filing the score sheets in an electronic filing cabinet. I know there are some of you who still have your judging sheets from 1980. Imagine how easy this would be!
3. Annotate. As I am reviewing post score sheets, I can annotate on them, make notes or doodle and save them for future reference. I just love looking at my old doodles. Don't you?
4. I can cut and paste a portion of my score sheet, email it to a fellow judge, educate a new judge until she doesn't want to judge with me any more, send it to the coach or just print it out and put it on my fridge. (How about that 10.0!!!).
5. Your pen no longer has to be the only accessory you hold in your hand. With all the new case colors and stylet colors, you'll be stylin'!
So put on your virtual seatbelts, the digital integration generation is upon us. We either chose to fight it for a little bit longer or we embrace it with gusto!
P.S. If you have any recommendations for articles on the iPad and Judging Integration, please feel free to email me at my website administrator email. However, DO NOT send me questions about iPad or laptop problems you are having. That will cost you $$ and me valuable time. :) (smile).
Kathi Blazek is a National Judge in the state of Colorado.