iPad Solutions

Folder Sharing Via Google Drive

If you are using iPads with students in the classroom, and students are submitting iPad created content for evaluation, then you should have a look at Anthony DiLaura’s Youtube video below. Anthony describes how he uses Google Drive with his students for managing portfolios. It seems like a nice solution. Just make sure your students don’t forget to put their names and/or student numbers in their file names.

What do you think? How would you improve upon Anthony’s system?

iPad Management

Swipe to Agree

One of my small tasks related to managing our iPad program is to set up the devices, including such things as wallpapers and lock screens. When considering options I kept two main ideas in mind:

  1. The backgrounds must be simple enough not to be a distraction.
  2. The backgrounds must be iconic and specific to our university.

So, before the iPad meeting today I went out for a walk and took some pictures.

The plan was to get a nice shot of the monument on campus, and then perhaps a close-up of the iconic tile walls on campus. The use of each is planned out below.

I wanted the lock screen to be immediately identifiable on sight, while also serving another important purpose. I wanted to incorporate a “Swipe to agree” statement to remind users of our iPad usage policies. read more »

iPad Management


We recently purchased 40 iPads for our university Media Center (a.k.a. ‘the library’), and I have been tasked with their management. We only have 30 remaining on our campus, as two sets of five were sent off to our other campuses, but that is still plenty for a small school like ours. We currently have ten black third generation iPads, fifteen black iPad 2s, and five white iPad 2s.

While I have been working with one of the third generation iPads for the past week in order to select apps and such, I have quite enjoyed the natural feel of a naked iPad. I have always been a bit odd about protecting my screens, and actually went as far as to use my iPad 2 in the film it was shipped in for a few days while waiting for my screen protector to arrive in the mail. However, while I have been quite cautious with the screen, I do not feel as confident that all the users who follow me will be, so I spent my morning installing Zagg screen protectors on 30 devices.

Of course, I had some students do some of the work as well…

read more »

Quick Tips

Download YouTube videos on your iPad

Have you ever found the perfect YouTube video for class, only to realize that you do not have an internet connection in the classroom? Or, worse yet, the promise of a LAN or WiFi connection, but insufficient bandwidth to stream videos for your students. I know that I have been stuck up at the podium stalling for time more than once while students stared expectantly at a ‘buffering’ message…

Well, there is an easy solution to that. Rather than go to your desktop or laptop to download the video, only to struggle to find a way to copy it to your iPad, just open up YouTube.com in iCabMobile. iCabMobile, in case you have not noticed from previous posts, is my go-to browser on the iPad. One of the reasons I love it is that it allows for file downloads. This includes YouTube videos as well.

Watch the video below to see how it is done.

Homework: Download this video with iCabMobile and share it with your colleagues. ;^)


iPad Solutions

iCabMobile to the rescue

The problem: You need to share a file from a secure server with a colleague, but it is too large to attach to an email and you only have your iPad.

The solution: Download the file with iCabMobile, upload it to Dropbox, share a link via Mail.

The context: I am on the road with my family, with only my iPad, and a colleague needs a backup copy of my Moodle course right now. He does not have access to the server, so I need to download the file and send him a copy. Easy enough to accomplish in my office, or at home, but a bit more challenging when speeding down the Keiji Bypass in Kyoto.

I appreciate a good challenge, so I sent a mail to explain the situation and promise that I would work it out. After my experience using iCabMobile in the classroom the other day, I knew that it would play a central role in the solution.

The first step was to log in to my Moodle course using iCabMobile and create the backup. The backup process is all run server-side, so doing this from an iPad is no problem. Dealing with the file once created was the issue…

As you can see in the image above, the file size, while only 72 MB, is still a bit large for a quick download and email. Tapping and holding on the link to the file brings up some options.
Quick Tips

Fun folder names

One of the added perks of the variety of international keyboards available on the iPad, is that you can have some fun with your folder names. You can choose from foreign languages (I have used Japanese for work-related and Japanese study folders), Emoji, or even Kaomoji. This is exactly what I was playing with this afternoon (instead of completing that pesky grant proposal).

So, this is what my homescreen looked like before having fun with the folder names.

After taking this screenshot I tapped the Settings app up in the right corner to check that my keyboard settings included “Emoji” (General / International / Keyboards: Emoji).
Quick Tips

A Personal Touch

Is it ironic that I am suggesting the use of technology here to add a “personal touch” to your course materials? It certainly seems odd to me, but it just makes sense. We use so much technology to create the materials we use, but we often limit ourselves to interesting photos, clip-art, and different fonts to make it ‘ours’. Well, if you have the new app Paper, from  FiftyThree Inc, then technology has brought you full circle. What makes this app so useful is that you are able to share images with an alpha channel. This means that the background becomes transparent, so you are able to overlay your image over other things.

I have been using Paper recently to save sketches, text, and charts to add to my course materials. I have used it on my course websites, Keynote presentations, and classroom handouts. It is simply a great way to make your materials more personal.

Check out this short Youtube video to see how I added a self-portrait and some text to a Keynote presentation.

iPad Solutions

A student-centered video process using iPads

The Problem: How to collect, process, and disseminate videos of student performances in a language learning class while protecting student privacy and reducing workload.

The Solution: Camera.app, iCabMobile, and Moodle

  • Students capture the video themselves
  • Students access our Moodle course using the iCabMobile browser
  • Students upload their video to a forum with special permission settings

The Background: One of the things I find important in education is that the assessment should always match the goals of the course. This is one reason why I have always found it rather silly to give students a 90-minute written exam in a conversation class. As such, for nearly ten years now I have concluded each semester of my conversation courses with conversation exams. These conversations were recorded on video for later assessment, and proved to be a bit of a logistical nightmare to process. Long story short, the teacher-hours required to process, assess, and disseminate were slowly convincing me to start giving paper-based tests again. While my colleagues and I had put a lot of thought into it, we had just not come up with a good way to get around the video processing issue while also protecting student privacy.

The Plan: The plan to overcome the teacher-centered nightmare is centered around the new iPad Classroom at our university. We have 20 new iPads set-up in the Media Center, our campus library, where I have been working to help establish the new iPad Classroom.  This video project seemed like a great opportunity to have the students create something with the iPads while testing out their usability. The concept is fairly simple:  read more »

Quick Tips

Cleaning up your homescreen

It seems fitting that the first post to this blog on iPads for Teachers is about starting fresh. One of the advantages of the mirroring ability of the iPad when used with external displays and projectors is that you can share everything. However, this can also be a disadvantage, as your students may be distracted by the full screen of folders and apps on your homescreen.  This is what my homescreen used to look like:

Distracting Homescreen


The problem with this is that it is not really suited for display in the classroom, as the students are certain to react to the background image, and possibly start commenting on the different apps and games they may recognize. While I might welcome this as a conversation starter with a one-on-one interaction, this is not as suitable when the students begin chatting amongst themselves. I learned this the hard way, so I decided to clean things up a bit. read more »