2 Hidden iPad Gems – Guided Access & Speak Selection

The iPad has a ton of great features accessible to anyone who owns one that are not highlighted in most tutorials. My buddy Enzo Ciardelli showed me the guided access feature and I found out about the speak selection feature at an Apple inservice I attended recently. These are two great features that we teachers will be happy to know about. Spread the word! Continue reading

DisplayNote – Mirror your computer screen to devices

CaptureDisplayNote – DisplayNote is now hands down my favorite app to use in my classroom. This is one of those apps that I think every B.Y.O.D. will love. I use this app constantly in my classroom and can see it gaining even more momentum as funds become available for it. Basically it is a desktop app that mirrors your computer screen to devices set up with the mobile version of the DisplayNote app which is free at the App Store. This gives students access to view and interact with any presentation/lesson you launch from your computer. Continue reading

DropVox – Audio Recorder to Dropbox

DropVoxDropVox – As their website says “Dropbox + Voice Recorder = DropVox.” A friend was recently asking me if I knew of any voice recorders that her students could do “newscasts” on quickly.  Her main concern was getting them transferred over to her computer so she could grade them when time permitted. I found this nifty little gem that not only records audio but then instantly syncs the recording as an MP4 file to your dropbox account making the recording accessible at your convenience.  I love the fact that you don’t have to do anything (airdrop, e-mail, sync iPad) and the memo is instantly in your dropbox, at your disposal. A very simple but effective tool. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropvox-record-voice-memos/id416288287 or http://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/dropvox/

Some Great Music Apps

Capture3So, I’m also a music teacher and wanted to share some of the amazing apps that I’ve come across to save other music teachers who are interested in the iPads some time and money. 

1). Garageband: Garageband is an app that can be used to play, record, produce, mix, edit and share musical creations. It was recently made available for free on the app store.  Definitely worth playing around with if you are a music teacher or enjoy playing music. Single handedly the best app of it’s kind that I’ve found on the app store. Continue reading

Pearson eText – Textbooks and Teacher Manuals

Pearson eTextPearson eText - Tired of lugging around multiple heavy textbooks and teacher resources? Or scanning in pages from your textbooks in order to make your SMARTNotebook lessons look great? Well…  The fine folks at Pearson have made a number of their resources available for digital use via computer web-browser and iPad. They have made it super easy to get and use on both platforms. For iPad: 1) Download the App from the App Store https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pearson-etext/id410315894?mt=8 and 2) Contact Pearson in order to purchase whatever licence it is that you would like http://www.pearsoned.ca/school/product/pearsonetext/purchase/index.html Once you have your licence, you’re ready for business. Wifi/internet is a must for using the eText initially. However, once you have wifi access you can download specific units for offline use on the iPad! I’m super excited about this one!

Socrative – Clicker response system

SoSocrative - Socrative is a student clicker response system that can be used for quizzes. There is a teacher app and a student app for most iPad and android devices. Not enough devices to go around? Well the quizzes can also be accessed via any web enabled computer. With the teacher app, you have the ability to create and edit a variety of different kinds of quizzes. I use this app a lot for exit cards, review and other quick formative assessments in math. My favorite feature is that once all of the kids have finished the quiz, socrative gives you the choice to e-mail yourself an excel spreadsheet with the information collected for quick and easy reference. One of my most used apps in the classroom to date. http://www.socrative.com/

CloudOn vs. Documents to Go – Word, Excel & Powerpoint on the fly

cloudonCloudOn – Until Microsoft comes out with a fully functioning version of Office for the iPad, CloudOn will rein supreme. Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents can all be easily created and edited on the go with this amazing cloud storage friendly app.  The interface looks a lot like the 2007 version of Office. CloudOn uses Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive to access and edit your documents from the cloud. Personally, I use this one to make changes or tweaks to my digital day plans as needed on the fly. The only real snag is that the app doesn’t store the files locally. This means you must have a solid wifi connection to access, create or edit your documents and that occasionally there is a little bit of a lag when typing. http://site.cloudon.com/


UntitledDocuments to Go (Docs to Go) – Docs to Go uses a very simple interface for working on the basics in terms of creating and editing MS office documents. This app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles in terms of customizing your document but what it does do is give you the option to save a document locally. This means that you can work on the document at anytime with or without a wifi internet connection. So until Microsoft comes out with their office suite that let’s you do all of the above, I will be using both of these apps for different purposes and based on wifi accessibility. In my opinion, you can’t have one without the other. I would ideally like CloudOn’s interface with Docs to Go’s ability to save documents right to the iPad. http://www.dataviz.com/dtg_home.html


logoGarageband – Garageband is one of the most exciting music apps available for the iPad and a must have for any iPad friendly music teacher! With this app you can play, create, record, and edit music.There are virtual instrument sets (Smart Keyboard, Smart Guitar, Smart Strings, Smart Bass and Smart Drums) that can be accessed as well as some real instrument options. Guitar Amps, drums, the sampler and keyboards can be used with real instruments with the help of adapters like Jam, iRig or even the iPad Photo card adapter that enables you to plug midi keyboards directly into the iPad. If this isn’t already enough, there is also an audio recorder that can be used to record simple vocals or other live sounds and instruments. The app enables you to play, record and edit up to 8 tracks as well as change tones, sounds and effects within each instrument set. My words can not do this app justice. This app has become a student favorite, allowing new musicians to sound like seasoned veterans in no time. Check out the following video to see a few of the features that garageband has to offer.

Or head on over to http://www.apple.com/ca/apps/garageband/ to see even more of what garageband has to offer.

Notability – Take Notes & Annotate PDFs with Dropbox & Google Drive Sync

NotabilityNotability – I’ve wasted a lot of money purchasing and trying out various note taking apps. So let me save you some time and a little bit of money. Notability is by far the best and most reliable note-taking app that I’ve found to date. Notability powerfully integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, picture importing, typing, and recording. It has the best writing interface I have found in an app. My issue with other note-taking apps has been that the writing is too crude and bulky…  only letting you fit a few words per line and not much on a full page. Notability uses a special enlarged “zoom window” so that you can write easily. Everything from this window then shrinks down so that you can fit a large amount of text on a each line and page. I have seen a couple of other apps with a similar feature but at this point, notability does it the best in my opinion. Continue reading

Printer Pro – Print Documents from your iDevice

Printer ProPrinter Pro - I have spent more time and money than I’d like to admit testing out various iDevice printing apps. In my opinion Printer Pro is by far the best one I’ve found thus far. To my understanding there are three ways to print using Printer Pro:

  1. Straight to a wifi enabled printer.
  2. Remotely through a computer to it’s attached printer as the document appears on the iPad or
  3. Remotely through a computer to it’s attached printer but also using the documents default software (eg. it will actually open microsoft word on your computer and print the document as it would appear there).

Option 3 seems to work the best from what I’ve seen. If you are planning to use option 2 or 3 you will need to download Printer Pro Desktop for your computer. They also have a Lite Version of the app so you can test it out and make sure it works with your printers and computers appropriately before purchasing the pro version.