I'm a part/full time college student (near full load) and full time active duty Air Force, my primary reason for buying the iPad was for school. I've been taking a laptop to school for some time now, and I was just never satisfied, battery life wouldn't last through two back to back 2.5 hour classes, always hated the touchpad mouse, and just generally a little clunky for school.
So I'll share my experiences thus far, and share my likes and dislikes, as well as the apps I've found to be very helpful.
First off, the iPad really does do everything I've demanded of it so far, and more.
The touch typing with the onscreen keyboard took me all of about 10 minutes to get accustomed to, and now I am typing around 60wpm with very few mistakes. The iPad auto correct feature is great, when I do make a simple typo it automatically corrects it with most common words.
The Safari web browser, even though it lacks Flash functionality and Java, seems to run my school's website perfectly. I do get a warning in the beginning saying since the browser doesn't support java that the website won't function fully, but I haven't found an area yet that doesn't work correctly. I am disappointed that I can't really use the iPad as traditional file storage, so if I need to turn in an assignment online occasionally I won't be able to, I'll have to use my PC for that.
I've downloaded a few different apps for school that have made a huge difference:
1) CourseSmart (App is free. Books must be paid for) : This app is still in it's infancy, so has some minor issues, but for the most part they lead back to poor quality scans of certain books. Some books are only "online format" which means you have to be online to access them. The books that are downloaded to the iPad seem pretty good. Not quite the multimedia experience I was hoping for, but I'm sure that will come in the future software updates. All books are easily readable and navigating is fairly simple. I wish there was a better inboard note taker, but once OS 4.0 comes out I'll be able to more easily run my note taking program at the same time. Books are significantly cheaper than the standard text version, big plus there!
2) Notes Pro (free) : Amazing note taking app, supposedly better than all the paid ones as well.good integration of typing and hand drawing graphics, as well as inserting graphics. I'm faster and neater at typing notes here than I am writing them by hand, when I rush my writing gets very sloppy, no worries with this program.
3) Cramberry ($1.99) : I'm a big user of flash cards, I was buying a pack or two a week at $1.50 a pack. Now I don't have to use paper cards any more, they are all on is program. It's still new, and needs some improvements, but anything more than basic flip-over flash card functioning is just icing on the cake for me. Can't wait for future updates for more features to be added.
4) Plants vs Zombies HD ($9.99) - I know it's not school related, but I play sometimes between classes or during breaks, great time killer, and great fun.
So far I am very pleased and completely satisfied with my iPad purchase for school, all of the improvements I would like to see mostly revolve around the apps, not the iPad itself.
If you are a student or know of an app that would be good for students please review the iPad and the apps you use here, it would be nice to have a compilation of the best (and worst) apps for students!