Tag Archives: iPads

iPad App Review: Haiku Deck – a Simple & Fun Presentation App

Haiku Deck is a very friendly and easy to use iPad app that helps you to create beautiful presentations. It is so smooth and easy use that creating presentations actually becomes a joy.

It allows for just two lines of text per slide and as you type the text size changes so that it is always filling the slide horizontally. The idea is that the viewer shouldn’t be reading long paragraphs. It should be short and easy to read while the speaker still delivers the main content.

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How to Afford iPads for the Classroom – Refurbished iPads

The Education Institution Discount is not the only way to save on iPads. Apple also sells refurbished iPads straight from their website. You can’t get the latest models but if you don’t mind settling for an iPad 2 or even an Original iPad you can buy them at a discount rate plus you still get the same 1-year warranty you would get when buying a brand new one. The refurbished iPads are also equipped with a new battery and a new outer-shell and they are all Apple Certified not to mention free shipping!

Apple Certified Refurbished

Fast, free shipping on all refurbished products.

We test and certify all Apple refurbished products and include a 1-year warranty.
All refurbished iPad models also include a brand new battery and outer shell.
Limited supplies, but updated frequently. Availability is guaranteed upon receipt of full payment.

The cheapest refurbished iPad is the Original iPad for $279 (with 16 GB and Wi-Fi only). The cheapest iPad 2 is $319 (with 16 GB and Wi-Fi only). This is $60 cheaper than buying them in bulk through the Education Institution Discount! It’s $80 cheaper than buying it brand new! For the cost of the cheapest New iPad (3rd Generation) you can get a 64GB iPad 2! That’s four times more storage space! The caveat is Apple’s site for purchasing refurbished iPads are in sync with their inventory and the cheapest iPads tend to sell out pretty quickly. You may have to keep checking their site to find the exact model you want. Here is the full list of prices:

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How to Afford iPads for the Classroom – Education Institution Discount

To get iPads in the classroom is not an easy task. The latest generation usually starts at $499 and Apple will usually also have available last year’s model at $399. These, however, are not your only options. Apple has special prices for education institutions both for K-12 and for higher education. When buying iPads in bulks of ten Apple discounts the cost for each iPad. For example, buying a 10-pack of the 16gb Wi-Fi only New iPad (3rd Gen) would cost $4790.00 which would be $479 per iPad saving you $20 each or $200 total. If you don’t mind sacrificing the Retina Display and slightly better specs and settling for the 16gb Wi-Fi only iPad 2 (which is not a bad idea) the 10-pack would run you $3790.00 again saving you a total of $200 off the original cost of ten iPad 2’s and $1000 better than the cost of the 10-pack of New iPads which could go towards another set of 10 iPads. The ultimate decision would of course have to be left to whoever handles the money and the technology of the district – probably the School Business Administrator and Director of Tech. Click to see the full list of iPad prices for the Education Institution Discount…

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App Review: OnLive Desktop – A Free Microsoft Office App

I finally found a Microsoft Office app that is actually free! There is no doubt that Quickoffice Pro and Documents To Go are excellent apps in their own regards but as I’ve mentioned before if another app is free, ad-free, and proficient enough for classroom use then it will have to be the go-to app. Paid apps may usually be superior but the cost times the number of student iPads for a classroom can outweigh the benefit. Quickoffice Pro is $19.99 and Documents To Go Premium is $16.99. Times that by a classroom size of anywhere between 10 to 25 students and you can already feel that a free app is sounding like the wise choice. Especially when that money can be used for other educational or productivity apps. So the search continues to find such an app. Enter OnLive Desktop.

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Coming Soon: Guided Access

Today Apple had their annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2012) announcing things like their new Macbook Pro and new updates for the operating system for iPads and iPhones called iOS 6. Among other things, one key feature that stood out to me as a teacher is called, ‘Guided Access.’ Here is the official description from Apple’s website:

“iOS 6 comes with even more features to make it easier for people with vision, hearing, learning, and mobility disabilities to get the most from their iOS devices. Guided Access helps students with disabilities such as autism remain on task and focused on content. It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button, as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen. VoiceOver, the revolutionary screen reader for blind and low-vision users, is now integrated with Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom. And Apple is working with top manufacturers to introduce Made for iPhone hearing aids that will deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience.”

This being a blog for teachers what caught my attention was, “It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button…” This new feature allows a teacher to chose an app and then disable the home button basically restricting the students from exiting the app and then trying to open other things such as youtube, facebook, or whatever else. So if students are given iPads during their Algebra I class to use the Quick Graph app to graph a system of linear inequalities, they will not have the temptation to open the Messages app  and start texting all their friends about how bored they are in math class.

And that is the key factor. Once students become accustomed to fact that the iPad can be restricted then they will lose the distraction of trying to do other things once they get their hands on the iPad. All it takes is one student to open a funny video and the whole class becomes distracted. A teacher’s worst nightmare would be a classroom full of students with iPads who are not on task because they’re too busy on twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube, pandora, draw something, and anything else other than what the teacher needs them to be on.

I look forward to this update which is not due until the fall of 2012. Unfortunately, however, the iOS 6 update is only available for the iPad 2 and the New iPad (3rd Generation) and will not be available for the Original iPad which is sadly what I was given. Regardless of that fact, Guided Access will be a welcomed feature for teachers.

Click to see the full iOS 6 Preview from the official Apple site.

-Mr. Mendo

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No Calculator on the iPad?! Best Free Calculator Apps – Updated

I find it odd that the iPad, clearly one of the most revolutionary computing devices in the consumer market, does not even come with a calculator. The iPhone has a simple calculator when held normally but when held in landscape position stretches to reveal more buttons and becomes a scientific calculator. So clearly Apple understands the need for a calculator. Apple also clearly wants iPads to be used in the classroom so it’s mind-boggling that they left the calculator app out.

The iPhone Calculator:

Well, for whatever the reason, there really is no sense in trying to make sense of it all and if and when they ever do make one then it will be welcomed with open arms by everyone I’m sure but until then we’ll just have to sort through the calculator apps in the App Store. So here are my findings for the best free calculator apps. I stress free because there are good free calculator apps and school budgets need not waste money purchasing calculator apps when that money can go towards other more useful educational apps. I also am quick to disregard any apps that have ads in them so even though there are other free calculator apps that are great, possibly even better, when it comes to ads they can be so distracting and something as simple as that can lose the students’ focus on the task at hand so any apps mentioned here are also ad-free =)

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iOS Tip: How to Take Screenshots

Taking screenshots can be an effective tool for teachers for a number of reasons. Basically, whatever is on your screen can be captured and saved as a picture. For example, a social studies teacher can pull up google maps on the iPad and take a screenshot of a state or country to share with the class as a visual aid. Apple has made it very simple to take a screenshot on the iPad (as well as the iPhone for that matter).

All you have to do is press the home button and the power button at the same time. Done. The screen will flash white (to mimic the idea of a flash) and you can access your screenshot from the Photos app.

Here are some examples:

So there ya go! There are ways to crop, rotate, and edit images which I will cover soon.

-Mr. Mendo

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