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Apple Chat: Tips for Teachers New to iPads

Chalkup Staff wrote this on Nov 23, 2015

 Many of our users are on iPads or working with them in a 1:1, BYOD, or device cart environment. We decided to dedicate a short set of posts to getting the most out of these devices. Happy tapping, swiping, and learning!

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Welcome to our new series of blog posts full of iPad tips. This is our first go at it, so we’ll be focusing on recommendations for new users. This includes some set-up considerations, tips for buying and organizing apps, getting comfy with the keyboard, and creating shortcuts and bookmarks.

More iPad goodness to follow in the coming weeks, including a deeper dive into shortcuts, choice apps, and assignment ideas.

Volume Purchase Program

Here your first one. If you’re implementing iPads for the first time, you’ll likely be directed to Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. This system allows schools to purchase items from the App Store and distribute, in bulk, across your corps of iPads. Should be one of your first stops as a new iPad classroom.

Boosting Your iPad Battery

Simple tip here for reserving battery life. I like to keep my iPad on airplane mode when I’m traveling, switching back to normal mode whenever I need to perform critical functions. This is a nice battery-saver and a good tip for students when iPads are not in use/not fully turned off.

If you’re not in airplane mode, I’d suggest turning off the push setting for “Fetch New Data” located under “Mail, Contacts, Calendar” within your settings. This will save you some juice.

What To Do With Your iTunes Account

From a purely practical perspective, if you’re new to iPads in your classroom, we recommend setting up a separate AppleID from whatever you’re using outside of school. Syncing iPads will become a part of classroom management, and no need for all of your students to accidentally get the content you downloaded for your own consumption sent directly to their iPads.

Yes, you can technically run two iTunes accounts off of whatever machine you're using to manage and sync all of your devices - but why risk it?

Shortcuts and Bookmarks

As you set up your new iPad (or the army of iPads for your students) you might like to include a few shortcuts or bookmarks for sites you’ll use frequently.

For shortcuts to webpages that will be accessible via your homescreen - and will look like other apps - bring up the page in question. Click the little arrow located on the left of the url bar and select “add to homescreen.”

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You could instead curate a selection of bookmarks saved to your Safari browser. To do that, head to the website and click that little arrow to the left of the url bar again. This time, select “Bookmark” and save.

Keyboard Tricks

Okay, so you’re new to the iPad keyboard. Here’s the most basic typing helpers you need to know. (We’ll give you some tricker ones next time. Today we’re mastering the basics.)

  • Split the Keyboard - Hold down on the keyboard button in the bottom right and select “Split.” Your keyboard will and divide into two parts on each side of your screen. I’ve found this makes it a little easier if I’m going to be typing a lot, so I use it whenever I go into e-mail mode with my iPad.

    • Press the keyboard button and select “Dock and Merge” to go back to your normal keyboard.

  • Periods - Double tap the spacebar to insert a period. (You might need to enable this shortcut.)

  • Apostrophes - Hold down the comma to insert an apostrophe.

  • Quotation Marks - Hold down the period to insert quotation marks.

  • Numbers and Symbols - To insert a number or symbol found on the secondary keyboard, hold down the number button and drag it to the number or symbol you want to use. You’ll return to the main keyboard when you release.

  • Foreign Characters - Hold down letter keys to access symbols/characters needed for other languages.

  • Caps Lock - To turn on caps lock, double-click the shift key (up arrow) on the keyboard. (It will have a blue background when caps lock is activated.) Single-click the shift button to turn off caps lock.

  • URL Typing - When you are entering a URL, a .com key will appear on the keyboard. If you press and hold this button, alternate extensions (such as .net and .org) will be available to select.

And these systems shortcuts should help you manage basic AV settings:

  • F1 - Dim screen

  • F2 - Brighten screen

  • F7 - Back one song

  • F8 - Play/pause

  • F9 - Skip song

  • F10 - Mute

  • F11 - Decrease volume

  • F12 - Increase volume

  • ⌘ Space - lists available languages; to choose one, tap spacebar.


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Topics: Student Engagement, Teachers, Lifestyle, iPads