How to Use Split View & Slide Over on iPads

slide over split view logo

When Apple introduced iOS 9, it was more of a refinement than an overhaul. However, two of the more useful features for iPad users are Split View and Slide Over. These multitasking additions let you work on more than one thing at one time. Not everyone can take advantage of these new features, and they don’t work with all apps, so here’s what you need to know to get started.

What’s the difference between Split View and Slide Over?

Slide Over lets you momentarily switch to another app by quite literally sliding it on top of the one you are currently using. It appears when you swipe in from the right-hand side of your screen, but it will only take up about a third of your viewing area. When you slide a new app on to your screen, it becomes the active app and the one you were using previously is greyed out and cannot be used until you swipe the Slide Over app back to where it came from. It is a useful way to quickly see your Twitter feed, add a quick note, or check something on your calendar.

Slide Over on the iPad

Split view takes things to the next level by allowing you to have two active apps open at one time. You engage Split View by swiping an app in from the right-hand side of your screen, just like you do for Slide Over. However, if you grab the bar in the middle of that app and pull it to the left, you will be able to snap that app side by side with the one you had open. Once you have the two apps side by side you can switch navigate through each one independently. This is useful for taking notes at the same time you are looking at a website.

Split View on the iPad

Can I Use Split View or Slide Over on my iPad?

Maybe. Slide Over is available on the iPad Pro, the iPad Air (or later), and the iPad Mini 2 (or later). Split View is a little more demanding, so it is only available on Apple’s newest devices – the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2, and the iPad Mini 4. The other thing to consider is that not all apps support Split View or Slide Over. Developers have to enable this functionality in their apps to allow it to work in this way. That said, many of the apps you are most likely to want to use this way have already been updated to allow the use of Split View or Slide Over.

How can teachers and students use this in the classroom?

Split View and Slide Over are essentially productivity enhancements. They speed up your workflow and let you be more efficient at completing tasks that you may otherwise have found easier to do on a Mac or PC. So, things like taking notes while browsing the web is now a lot quicker on the iPad. Teachers might have a spreadsheet of results on one side that they are ready to input into a web based gradebook on the other. The YouTube app works in Slide Over view, but you can use Split View if you visit if you want to take notes side by side with a video.

Split View may also be useful for a classroom backchannel on one side of your screen and a notetaking app on the other. This could be Today’s Meet in a web browser or the new Padlet app. You can use Slide Over in the Camera app for video projects if you need to quickly check on your shot list or a script that you have been working on. You can also put things like Word and PowerPoint side by side so that you can turn your notes into a presentation. The possibilities are seemingly endless and they become even more relevant on a larger screen like the iPad Pro.

Can I disable Split View and Slide Over?

However, as useful as Split View and Slide over are, these features are not necessarily for everyone. Younger students may find it frustrating to have these apps appear when swiping around on the screens of their favorite apps. You can fix this by disabling them under Settings > General > Multitasking > Allow Multiple Apps if required.

The video below has a quick visual tutorial on how to use Split View and Slide Over, as well as a few additional tips.

How to Download, Listen & Subscribe to Podcasts

how to listen to podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? A growing number of people do. According to a recent survey, 46 million Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast in the last month. That’s 17% of the population, (aged 12 and over). Personally, I am not surprised. I love listening to podcasts. It is a great way to expand your knowledge of the world, grow your PLN, or just be entertained for a while. So, if you have never listened to a podcast before, keep reading and discover how you can get started today.

A podcast is like an internet radio (or TV) show. It is an episodic collection of audio (or video) files that you can subscribe to for free, and get new content delivered to to your device as soon as it is available. If you have ever subscribed to blogs in Feedly or Google Reader, it is much the same idea. In fact, they share a common technology – the RSS feed.

There are a number of different ways to access the podcasts that you are most interested in, but you will likely listen on either your computer or a mobile device. Here’s how to set up your podcasts on a computer or a mobile device.

How to Listen to Podcasts on a Computer

The largest library of podcasts is curated by Apple and can be found in iTunes. You can download iTunes for a Mac or a PC and use this software as a way to subscribe, listen and rate the shows that you want to hear. You can search for specific shows, or browse through the store by category, new and noteworthy, featured collections and more. When you find the podcast you want to listen to, you are only a few quick clicks away from subscribing.

The instructions for how to find and subscribe to podcasts are slightly different depending on whether you are using iTunes on a Mac or a PC, so here are a couple of links that include step-by-step instructions for each device.

itunes podcast store

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How to Engage Students Online With Twitter Polls

twitter polls

This week, Twitter added a polling option that anyone with a Twitter account can use to gather opinions on a topic of their choice. Facebook has had polls for a while, but this is still a welcome addition to Twitter. Polls are quick and easy to set up and they could have some useful benefits for teachers who use social media in the classroom. Here’s how they works.

The new polling option can be found when you go to compose a new tweet at or on the mobile apps. Simply type the question or comment that you want people to vote on, and then tap (or click) on the Poll button to add choices. You can have up to 20 characters for each option, and this will not count towards the 140 characters that you can use in the main body of the tweet.

twitter polls screenshot

If you see a poll you want to vote on, all you have to do is tap (or click) on the choice you want to cast your vote. All Twitter polls are anonymous. The person who created the poll will not know how you voted or even who voted, and neither will the other people who participate in the poll. You can only vote once, per account.

Once a poll has been posted, it will remain open for 24 hours. When that time has expired, voting will be closed automatically and the person who initiated the poll will receive a notification that it has now ended, as well as a breakdown of the final results. The winning choice will be highlighted in bold text for everyone to see.

As of today, you can only have two choices for people to vote on, so you will have to be creative with your question or focused with the data you want to collect. You also can’t include any media with a Twitter poll, which is a shame because it might be nice to be able to vote on an image or ask a question about a video.

In the classroom, this might be a useful tool for a quick exit ticket. You could post the question on Twitter with your class hashtag and get students to vote on the answer they think best answers the question. You won’t know who answered what, but you will know how many voted as well as how well your students understood the content that day. You could also use it to help introduce more student voice and choice in your classroom by having students vote on the topics or activities they would most like to cover in class. Student groups like athletic teams, robotic clubs, or student journalists could poll their peers on topics that matter to them.

Schools could use Twitter polls to help engage the community in some of the lighter decisions that administrators have to make on a daily basis. It could also be used as part of a professional development session in the place of something like Poll Everywhere and as a way to encourage your teachers to be involved and on Twitter.

Outside of the classroom, I can see businesses and media outlets taking advantage of this in a number of ways. So, look for The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, America’s Got Talent, and others to be adding Twitter polls in the near future.

Here is a short video from Richard Byrne on how to create a Twitter poll.

Learn more: Twitter Help

Hyper: Inspiring Videos for the Classroom

hyper ipad app

Educator’s looking for great examples of digital storytelling, journalism, and video production should take a look at a brand new app called Hyper: Best Daily Videos. It’s one of my favorite new apps for the iPad and I am going to take a few minutes to tell you why, as well as share some of the videos you can expect to see with this new video app.

I am currently taking some graduate classes as part of a Master’s degree. One of these classes is focused on filmmaking and digital storytelling: skills which I believe are important for students to be exposed to. The class has really opened my eyes to all that goes in to the creation of a great video in terms of the time and effort that is required to tell a really good story.

In essence, this is the goal of Hyper. It is a daily video magazine that consists of 6-12 videos that are hand-picked by real people. Each one is chosen for its quality, production values, visual appeal, journalistic integrity or storytelling prowess. Many are educational and are designed to make you think. For instance, did you know the internet is under water and covered in Vaseline? The video below explains why.

Looking for examples of great stories? Vimeo has always been a great place to find them. The Staff Picks often contain great stories worth sharing, but there are plenty of other amazing videos on Vimeo that don’t always get the attention they might. The film that is embedded below is from Alex Aimard. It has some amazing shots of a world champion skydiver. It is also less than three minutes long. Can your students tell a great story in three minutes or less? It would be fun to watch them try.

Green screen is all the rage, right? Whenever I show teachers how to use green screens, I like to put it in perspective. I show some of the real world examples that we see today in film and television. The video below is from WIRED and is a behind the scenes look at The Martian, starring Matt Damon. It shows exactly how and why green screen effects were needed to make this movie as authentic as it could be.

Need some interesting talking points for Social Studies? How about this next video. It exposes the true cost of the vast amounts of food that we waste on a daily basis. Is there a way to avoid this? What can governments do to discourage or redistribute the surplus? Your students could help decide.

All of these videos, and many more, are videos that I have watched in the Hyper app for iPad over the last week or so. The app is slick and well-designed. It refreshes with a new set of videos once a day, and if you miss a day, you can go back a few days to catch up on the ones you missed. You can also take advantage of the Weekend Recap which rounds up the best videos of the week.

Not every video is going to be one that you are going to use for in your classroom. In fact, not every video is going to be appropriate for your classroom. Hyper is rated 12+ so you will occasionally find videos that skirt the line between acceptable and unacceptable. That said, the vast majority of the videos that I have seen are just great examples of modern filmmaking. They are inspiring for videographers young and old. In my opinion, that makes Hyper a perfect discovery tool for educators who are looking to teach students the finer points of film making. Try it out for yourself and see what you think.

How to Use Text to Speech on the iPad

text to speech ipad

The iPad is a great device for assistive technology and text to speech is one of the most often used accessibility feature by teachers in special education and general education classrooms. Many teachers are not aware that it exists, but it does, and it has evolved to become a very usable solution with lots of valuable options to customize it to meet your needs. Here’s what you need to know to get started with text to speech functionality on your iPad.

How to Enable Text to Speech on the iPad

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and turn on Speak Selection and Speak Screen by sliding the toggle switch to the right.
  2. Next, adjust the speed of the speech by sliding the speaking rate slider to the right (or the left) until the voice reads at an acceptable pace for your needs.
  3. Turn on Highlight Content. This option highlights words on the screen as they are read aloud by the iPad. It is a great feature that is a real boon for students and is proven to help improve reading skills.

Note: As much as I like the option to highlight words as they are spoken, I do not always have the best of luck getting this to work reliably. Your mileage may vary, especially on certain apps/websites, but it is still worth turning on.

iPad Text to Speech Settings

How to Use Speak Selection on the iPad

  1. Speak selection will read selected text aloud. To try it out, open a website and press and hold on a word and then release to select some text.
  2. Next, move the blue bars on either side of the word to make a larger selection.
  3. Tap Speak to start the text to speech and stop it at any time by tapping Pause.

Speak Selection iPad

How to Use Speak Screen on the iPad

  1. Speak screen reads everything on your screen without the need to select any text. To try it out, open a website and swipe down from the top bezel on the iPad with two fingers.
  2. The iPad will begin reading all the text it finds on the screen, but you can control the narration with the on-screen media controls.
  3. The media controls will auto-hide after a few seconds, but you can bring them back or hide them yourself by tapping the left arrow on the side of the controls.

Speak Screen on the iPad

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Polarr: A Great Free Photo Editor For The Web & More

POLARR Editor for the web

With more and more companies harnessing the power of the web, our reliance on traditional desktop software is not always what it used to be. Photo editors are a great example of that. Photoshop is amazing, but infinitely more powerful than 90% of us need. That’s why free apps like Polarr are becoming so popular. It is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and the web, and it is easy enough for anyone to use. Here’s how it works.

The web version is available at It works in all modern browsers, as well as Chrome OS. You can upload images from your computer, or connect cloud accounts like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Flickr or Instagram and grab images from those accounts. There’s even a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that lets you open any image on the web into the Polarr editor. While this is great for free images, it does have some obvious opportunities for abuse. However,  Polarr does remind you to respect the intellectual property of copyright holders.

The editor is very intuitive if you have used any kind of image editors in the past. In fact, if you have used Lightroom before, you will be right at home and be up and running in no time. It may be a little daunting for beginners, but it is easy to navigate and quick to get used to.

The left panel has a selection of image filters, as well as a History tab that lets you step back in time to reverse any edits you make. The right panel has a wealth of image adjustments. On the Basic tab you get access to sliders for temperature, tint, exposure, highlights, shadows, saturation and more. Further down, you will find a tone curve, HSL adjustments, split toning, sharpening, and other effects like vignettes and film grain.

polarr editor interface

There are also a number of tools available to help optimize your image to your liking. The cropping tool will be familiar to most people, but the radial or graduated filters are usually reserved for premium photo editors. With Polarr, you get those for free. There is even a histogram to help you see the true effect of the adjustments you make.

Not sure what the clarity slider is for? Need some help understanding curves? Fear not. Polarr has you covered. A simple help guide is available with jargon free explanations on each of the sliders and features that area available to you. There are before and after examples as well as a live preview of what happens when you apply a given effect. See the Polarr guide here.

vignette help

Is Polarr good for schools? Absolutely. It’s free, doesn’t require you to set up an account in order to use it, and it interfaces seamlessly with all your favorite cloud services. It is also available for iOS and Android devices, as well as the web, so the chances are very high that you will be able to use it in some form or another regardless of your device. Here’s a video of Polarr in action…


Turn Your iPad into a Document Camera with IPEVO

IPEVO Whiteboard App for iPad

The IPEVO Whiteboard app for iPad is a great, free solution for teachers who want the benefits of a document camera, without the added cost of new hardware. It is an extremely versatile app that gives you yet another way to use your iPad for teaching and learning. Here’s how it works.

Although you absolutely can use the app with a compatible IPEVO document camera, you really don’t need to because the IPEVO app can be used in three additional ways. You can use it with your iPad’s video camera, you can import an image from your camera roll, or you can use a whiteboard. An array of annotation tools (pens, text, and a pointer tools) are available for you in all of these modes.

IPEVO app screenshot

The app itself is very easy to use with intuitive icons and a self-explanatory navigation. However, if you get stuck, you can tap the question mark in the bottom left-hand corner to get an overlay of the functions that each button will perform.

To take advantage of an app like this, you really need the ability to connect your iPad to an LCD projector or an HDTV. In the camera mode, the projector allows the whole class to see something they may not all normally be able to see at once, and give the chance to annotate over a lab experiment in science, a piece of student work, an historical artifact or whatever else you want to show. You even have the option of recording live video while you annotate on your screen.

In the whiteboard mode you have a portable interactive whiteboard that you can use to teach lessons or pass around to students so that they can demonstrate their learning. However, you again have the option of recording while drawing on the whiteboard. This means you can create great looking screencasts quickly and easily. All of your recorded videos are saved automatically to the camera roll for future use.

IPEVO help menu ipad

Of course, if you do use your iPad as a document camera, a stand to sit your iPad on is very useful. However, it needn’t be an expensive outlay. Makeshift items like a spare locker shelf works just as well. Clint Stephens also has a great YouTube video on how to make your own for about $7 in spare parts. Document camera stands can also be great for more than just traditional uses of a document camera. They can also be great for making stop motion movies. Check out the example below from Tami Rondeau’s class and you will see what I mean, or get more ideas by reading this article: Using an iPad as a Document Camera.

IPEVO Whiteboard is an app I have been showing teachers for a little while now, and every time I demonstrate it, I get the same positive response, not least because it does so much for free. It deos the job of several individual apps, and it does it very well. So, if you haven’t tried it out yet, the IPEVO whiteboard app is well worth a look.