Have you recently updated your iPad to iOS 8? Have your students’ iPads been updated to iOS 8? If so, Tony Vincent has a great overview of some of the “hidden” features of the iOS 8 that teachers and students will find to be helpful to them. Tony’s video is embedded below. You can read the transcript of the video here.
iPads are powerful tools for teachers in the classroom. In addition to being robust, mobile creation devices for students, they help you to stay organized, be on top of your classes, create content and lessons, focus on continued learning, and build your PLN. Here are five ways to turn your iPad into a robust, education machine!
You can easily sync your Outlook or Google Calendar to your iPad by going to iPad Settings → Mail, Contacts, & Calendar → Add Account. This allows you to add multiple work, personal, and/or shared calendars to the calendar on your iPad, giving you mobile access to all of your appointments (personal and professional) on a single calendar. You will also be able to make changes on the go, and with cloud based platforms, you won’t have to remember to sync your device to your computer as all changes are updated automatically.
By using the Reminder app, you can schedule notifications weeks, months, even years in advance! One of my favorite features of Reminder is that in addition to alarms based on date/time, you can set a reminder notification based on location (don’t forget to buy milk at the grocery store or to take your gym shoes as you leave your house in the morning). If you want to conquer more robust tasks, look at investing in one of the popular To-Do List apps such as Wunderlist, Things, or Trello.
Organize your Class
Even if your school does not have a formal LMS, there are numerous free tools that allow you to organize a class calendar, have students check and submit homework assignments, share content and materials, keep attendance, track students, and even send robust reports to advisors, administrators, and/or parents. Some of the most popular and comprehensive LMS’s available include Schoology, Teacherkit, and Edmodo. While Google Classroom does not yet have a formal app, you can still access it using your iPad’s browser (while Safari is the default, I find that it works best using the Chrome iOS browser).
Create Class Content
iPads are not just mobile, creation devices for students; they are a powerful tool in the hands of a teacher. You can easily build both traditional and creative lessons for your classes. Keynote, Google Slides, PowerPoint (creation abilities require a subscription to Office 365), and/or Prezi allow you to create class presentations rich with text, images, charts, graphs, and video!
Additionally, you can easily make flipped content using tools such as iMovie, Notability, Explain Everything, or Educreations. These apps allow you to share content to cloud services such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Drive. From there, you can post to your course website or LMS (using one of the tools listed above) or share via Google Drive.
Manage your Professional Development
Great educators are lifelong learners. It’s easy to keep up with your own learning and professional development goals using iPad. With eReader Apps such as Kindle, iBooks, Nook, or Overdrive, you can access a myriad of electronic texts on your mobile device. Even better, you are not limited to a single platform or provider. Your local library may even offer eBooks on loan! In addition to texts, be sure to check out the variety of content offered via Podcasts and iTunes U. You can readily access content related to educational theory and topics, or your own areas of interest (History, Math, Politics, etc). Also, be sure to check out the variety of resources published via iPad apps such as Ted or PBS.
Manage your PLN
Keeping up with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) can feel daunting. However, iPad allows you to access your PLN using a variety of tools. With stand alone apps like Twitter, Diigo, Facebook, Feedly, or Pocket, you can easily share and consume resources on the fly. However, I also like to use an app called Flipboard that enables me to see my Social Media, Blog posts, and News Resources in a magazine-like interface. You can learn more about navigating your PLN in this article on Edutopia.
iPads are powerful tools in the educational environment, not just for students, but also for teachers. Harnessing the power of iPad can help you to stay more organized, meet your classroom goals, and manage your own professional development on a single, portable device.
Post-it Plus is a new iPad app from the makers of the original Post-it Notes. With this free app installed on your iPad you can snap a picture of a collection of physical sticky notes and have them quickly digitized. Once your notes are digitized you can re-arrange them, share them with collaborators, or send them to another application like Dropbox. If you have multiple sets of notes you can combine the best notes into one board through the Post-it Plus iPad app. Watch the video below for a short overview of the app.
Post-it Plus does require you to have updated to iOS 8. If you and your students have done that, then Post-it Plus could be a good app for digitizing the output of a brainstorming session that started with physical notes.
Book Wizard is a Scholastic service that allows you to create and organize book lists according to reading levels and students’ interests. Book Wizard Mobile is a free iPad and iPhone app that you can use to scan a book’s barcode to quickly discover its lexile measurement, grade level equivalent, and guided reading level. Within the app you can create book lists and edit the existing book lists that you have created in your Scholastic.com teacher profile.
Lists that you create on Book Wizard Mobile can be shared with others through a variety of channels including email, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Book Wizard Mobile is also available as an Android app.
The Pi Dock-iT keyboard and iPad case is one that I’ve seen advertised in quite a few places this summer. I recently received one to evaluate. DockiT provided me with the keyboard and case in exchange for a blog post. That has not influenced my evaluation of it.
The Dock-iT Air iPad case and keyboard is an all-in-one package. Your iPad snaps into the holder and the keyboard closes on the face of your iPad when you close the case. When the case is open your iPad can be positioned in a “portrait” or “landscape” orientation. The support for your iPad (the support is constructed of what feels like aluminum) can be set at any of fifteen viewing angles as well as being laid flat on top of the keyboard. The large selection of viewing angles is great. I’m not crazy about how the case and iPad felt when lying flat in my hand. If you don’t need a keyboard, you might be better off with a standard iPad case.
The keyboard on the Dock-iT Air iPad case is my favorite thing about the case and keyboard combo. The keys have a crisp feel to them that makes touch typing easy by the standards of small keyboards. I’ve tried other small keyboards for iPads that lacked the crisp feel that I like when I’m typing. This review is being written on the Dock-iT Air keyboard. While I wouldn’t use this set-up to work on my Master’s thesis, I could definitely comfortably type a blog post or two on it. Students under 13 or anyone with smaller hands than mine might find the keyboard to be perfectly comfortable to use for hours of typing.
Pairing the Dock-iT Air keyboard to my iPad was a snap. I just turned on the keyboard, hit the connect key, then turned on my iPad’s Bluetooth setting where I entered the four digit pairing code provided by DockiT.
Overall, if you’re in the market for an iPad case and keyboard combo, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Dock-iT Air. Even though I didn’t give it a drop test, the case seems more than rugged enough for elementary school students who are prone to occasionally dropping their iPads. High school and college students who want a slick little package for writing notes without having to lug around their laptops will like the option to quickly type on their iPads.
At $79.00 the Dock-iT Aird is in the middle of the price range for keyboard and case combinations. Parle Innovation, the company that manufacturers the Dock-iT, is currently offering a free customizations of the case. Customization allows you to create a skin that displays your school’s logo or other graphic of your choice.