Thursday, December 20, 2012

iPad Apps 4 Teachers

Recently I wrote a post about updated apps on the classroom cart, now its the teacher iPad's turn. First I know the teacher iPad's are being used in a variety of ways. Some teacher's are using them for student use while others using them more themselves. The focus of this post is on apps that would be of particular interest to teachers.

If you are using the apps for student use one iPad feature you should become familiar with is restrictions. In Settings -->General-->Restrictions you can control access to various aspects of the iPad. Tread carefully here. Creating a pass code and forgetting it could make access to the iPad itself an issue.

Some of the features you can limit access to are Safari, Camera, Facetime, iTunes, installing / removing apps, and in app purchases.   On the classroom iPads most of these functions are restricted.  I am more than willing to go through with you the consequences of setting the individual restrictions.

On with the recommendations.

Google Plus: Yes I know you don't need another social network selling your soul to the highest bidder.     MMSD has opened up the Google floodgates and that includes Google Plus. There are two big advantages to Google Plus; photo / video sync, and communities.  When you install the Google Plus app it will ask you if you want instant upload. What this does is upload every photo or video you take on the iPad to Google Plus and is only shared with you (private). If you use the camera function this makes access to photos and videos off the iPad much easier. The second advantage is communities which are being added all the time. There are communities on education, Common Core, libraries etc. This can also be a good way to network within the MMSD domain. All posts default to MMSD only, so only your comrades see your posts by default.

Calendar:  This is for iPads that are used professionally. I would not suggest using Calendar if students use your device. We all need to be vigilant that students do not get access to information that is confidential. Calendar allows you to sync all of your work related calendars to the iPad. I find the interface enjoyable to look at even with multiple calendars.

Google Drive: I know not everyone has got the Microsoft monkey off their back, yet! Google Drive can allow you to have access to your data anywhere, anytime. You can create forms that will automatically input data into a spreadsheet. You can share a document with a co-worker with edit permissions and also have the ability to comment back and forth as the document is revised. If students are doing research they can create a document with inline search capabilities in the right sidebar. Google Drive is a sure proof way to get data on your iPad off in order to access it on another device.

Adobe Reader: Oh you find Adobe Reader is no longer working on the desktop. Have no fear Adobe Reader for the iPad is on the way. The size of the iPad is absolutely perrrrfect for reading pdf's. One added benefit of the iPad version is the ability to highlight and add annotations. If you have pdfs in Google Drive, you can simply open them in Adobe on the iPad. Upload them back and all the highlights and annotations should be there.

Destiny Quest: In the bathroom with your iPad and wish you could search the Library Catalog. Have no fear there is an app for that. Destiny Quest will allow you to search the library catalog, access lists, see if new books have arrived, or even put a hold on a book so it will be ready when you get to the LMC (don't forget to wash your hands).

Pocket: Lets say you found interesting information on the ipad and wanted to follow up later on the computer. Pocket helps you do just that. You can have the app on your iPad, phone, or computer so no matter where you save it you have access on all your devices. On the computer you can read the information in a minimalistic, easy reading, interface.