Being the pedantic amateur graphic designer that I am, my palms get sweaty when I think about how messy this post looks. The reason I’ve kept it this way is so you can see the journey, not just the non-existent end.
Originally posted Sept 2010.
Modified June 2011 (I have struckthrough ideas I’ve changed, and put in purple new ideas).
Modified Oct 2011 for iOS 5 update (I have struckthrough ideas I’ve changed, and put in green new ideas).
Modified (pink) May 2012 thanks to Bryan Hughes alerting me to Air Server.
Modified (orange) Sept 2012 thanks to Disp Recorder‘s release. Finally, a way to record your iPad screen in any app!
Modified (red) Jan 2013 thanks to Disp Recorder’s disappearance and other changes.
Modified (grey) Feb 2013 thanks to our class getting an Apple TV!
The Apple Fairy has come to your classroom and given you some iPads and/or iPod Touches to use for learning? You and your students sure are the lucky ones. I know what you’re thinking though: “So what now, technically speaking?” There are many different ways to set your iDevices up. Here is how I’ve done mine:
- Create a school/class iTunes account. It’s so much more coherent to have a dedicated iTunes account that does not mingle with your personal one.
- Dedicate one computer (ideally a Mac) to be the ‘mommy’ of the devices. Having personal apps/music/etc. mingle with your class ones is a recipe for confusion.
Purchase enough USB hubs for multiple-device syncing. They are made by about a million different manufacturers, are sold in every electronics or computer store, and are very inexpensive. Here’s the one I got.Forget the hubs. My macbook can’t sync more than three at once. Sync each device individually for the first time and give each a unique name for identification purposes. I named our class devices ‘Hannah Montana’, ‘Justin Bieber’, ‘Harry Potter’, etc.It’s much better to name them ‘iPad 1’, ‘iPad 2’, etc. Use any drawing app to create number pictures (as you see in my photo above). Save them to the photo library of the device, then set them as wallpaper. Voila: internal labelling!This probably works better with primary students. My grade 7 students love organizing the apps themselves and changing wallpaper. Trying to label them this way is an invitation to mess it up. Let the kids do it.
- Whenever possible, download and install apps on the ‘mommy’. This way, they will automatically get installed on all the devices the next time you sync.
Create a class GMAIL account to use for sending files, set the account up on all the devices, from any of the devices to wherever you need them to go. Students can learn to get into the habit of sharing and submitting work this way.Only problem with this is the blocking of ports in most schools. If you can find an email service that works (I haven’t yet), it’s such an important tool to have on the devices.
- Create a class dropbox account to share files to view on the devices. Essential.
Finally, if you haven’t already updated your iOS to one which does not allow you to use jailbreakme.com, you may want to consider legally jailbreaking them for these reasons.Nah, forget this. Created more problems than anything.
- Set up Find my iPad/Pod in SETTINGS >>
MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDARS >> ADD ACCOUNT >> MOBILE ME >>iCLOUD Then use your iTunesiCloud account. This has already saved me once. One thing I’ve noticed is that Find my iPhone acts funny when you make the switchover from MobileMe to iCloud. Luckily, I double checked after doing it and noticed that none of our devices were being tracked. If this happens to you, do this very strange thing: 1) Check at iCloud.com if the tracking is actually working; 2) If not, remove/sign out of the iCloud accounts on the device(s); 3) re-add the MobileMe account and click the Find My iPhone feature to ‘ON’; 4) Remove the MobileMe account (I know, weird); 5) re-add the iCloud account and click the Find My iPhone feature to ‘ON’.
- Set up restrictions at SETTINGS >> GENERAL >> RESTRICTIONS. The ones I restrict in my class are app deletions, account changes, and explicit music/podcasts.
- Create folders on the ‘mommy’ computer for syncing photos, images, etc. from computer to iDevice. Then, in iTunes sync, go to the Photos tab at the top and indicate which folder you want to sync with. I do it through iPhoto using specific albums. For example, iPad 4 is synced with an album in iPhoto also called iPad 4. Then, whenever I want to upload photos to iPad 4, I stick the images in the iPad 4 album first. Hope that makes sense:-)
- So far, the only thing I am using iCloud syncing for is Find my iPad/iPod. This may change…
- I’ve been looking for an easy way to mirror our iOS devices’ screens on our class computer/projector and finally found one that a) actually works; and b) is easy. See my screencast below:
- Finally, with Disp Recorder’s release, there’s a way to record your iPad screen in any app! Here’s me trying it out for the first time (on my iPhone 4S, because it didn’t work well at all on my iPad 1). It doesn’t capture animation very well, but everything else ain’t too bad.
- Oh no, Disp Recorder is gone, and I don’t know why!
- Put wallpaper design apps (there are so many free ones) on your devices. This encourages students to use these wallpapers, rather than random, gross, and ridiculous ones they find from Safari.
- Long ago I decided not to care about organizing the apps into folders or specific locations. It is impossible to control this with my middle school students, and I have learned that it is also unnecessary on a shared device.
It took me a long time to be convinced to request an Apple TV in my class. I didn’t see the need at the time, and, to be frank, I felt a bit guilty about getting more ‘toys’ in our classroom. There’s no question that there is a disproportionate amount of technology in classes; I didn’t want it any more exacerbated. Plus, we were using Air Server (as described above) – theoretically, an Apple TV alternative. Let’s just say I’ve changed my tune.
Apple TV is far better for me because the MacBook I was using for Air Server had a lot of difficulty coping with mirroring from a memory, processing, and graphics standpoint. Mirrors would frequently go caput, and my laptop would often go into what I call temper tantrum mode. With Apple TV, we have no such issues. It even has a brilliant password system where you can set a random four-digit code to appear every time someone new wants to mirror. This completely squashes the potential of folks outside the room playing pranks on our class (mirroring music or content from other parts of the building).
These days, at any given time, we can mirror anyone’s iOS device or laptop (thanks to Air Parrot), sound included. We don’t associate being in front of the room with necessarily being in front of the room. I’ve anecdotally observed that the students that most request to mirror their device to show their work or thinking happen to be students who I didn’t think felt comfortable presenting in class.
I was going to make an instructional video or sheet on setting it up, but it’s really the most googlable thing there is. In fact, it’s the extent to which it is ‘plug ‘n’ play that makes it so beautiful.