How to Print with an iPad: Five Options for Schools

The paperless classroom is a great ideal to work towards, but the journey to get there may still involve some printing. So, just how do you print from an iPad? Well, there are several ways, and it may depend on your individual circumstances, but the information below outlines the most common solutions.

1.Email it!

Ok, so this is less of a solution and more of a workaround, but if you can email the document you want to print, you can access it on a desktop computer and print from there. It’s not ideal, but it will work if you get stuck, and LOTS of people do it.

2. AirPrint printers

There are a number of Wi-Fi printers that are designated AirPrint printers. An AirPrint printer will be recognized by all iOS devices when you enter the share or print menu in an iOS app. When they first came out, they were few and far between, but they are not nearly as rare as they used to be. Look for the AirPrint logo on the box the next time you are shopping for a printer, or see if your existing printer is listed on Apple’s AirPrint Support page. However, these are not always the best choices for schools and businesses, because the ink cartridges do not always last as long as laser printers, and replacement cartridges can be expensive.

3. The Middle Man

There’s an app for the Mac called Printopia. It lets your iPad communicate with your Mac and can be a great help with how to print with an iPad. Printopia works as a go-between. You send the print job from the iPad to Printopia, and Printopia sends it to a printer of your choice. It’s a slick and relatively inexpensive solution. Sam Gliksman even put together a workflow for how it can be used for students to submit assignments to the teacher. Read about it here.

printoipia for how to print from an iPad

4. There’s an app for that!

It sounds cliche, but there really are apps that are designed to help you print from an iPad. Most printer manufacturers have their own apps to help you print on their printers, but be aware of the fact that not all printer models are usually supported, and they tend to work with varying success. Still, it can be worth checking the App Store to see if your printer manufacturer has an app to help you print.

Alternatively, you could invest in a popular printing app like Print Central Pro. At $7.99, it is not cheap, but it could be cheaper than buying a new printer. Print Central works in a similar way to Printopia, and is consistently praised for its performance and compatibility.

print central for ipad printing

5. The xPrintServer

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t replace your existing printer just so you can print from an iPad. In fact, most schools and business refuse to do just that because of the increased costs. Enter the xPrintServer from Lantronix. This little box comes in two flavors – a home edition priced at $99, and an Enterprise edition priced at $199. When you plug it into your existing network, it automagically makes all your existing printers compatible with an iPad. Setup is easy. So easy in fact that Lantronix have made a few humorous videos to illustrate just that.

Do you print from an iPad at your school or office? Which of the above methods do you use? Or do you have another solution altogether? Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

The Top 10 Things Every iPad Teacher Should Know About iPads & iOS 7!

Are you new to iPads in the classroom? Are you are looking for some tips to help navigate the new iOS 7? Then this is the post for you! Today we take a look at the Top 10 Things Every iPad Teacher Should Know, so that you have the knowledge and confidence you need to shine in front of your students.

This post is a collaborative piece that was created with the help of Steve Lai, a talented iPad teacher from Canada. You can find Steve on Twitter as @sly111 and read his blog at teachingwithipad.org.

1. How to Multitask and Kill Apps that Misbehave! (by @jonathanwylie)

In iOS 7, multitasking is easier and more powerful than ever. To start, simply double tap the home button, or place four fingers on the screen and push up. This will reveal Apple’s  slick, new multitasking menu. To switch to a new app, simply scroll sideways until you see the one you want. Then tap on the app to go straight to it.

You can also close apps from the multitasking menu. To kill an app that is misbehaving, scroll sideways through the apps until you find the errant app, and swipe upwards with one finger. If you are feeling dextrous, try swiping two or even three apps at once!

Multitasking in iOS 7

2. How to take Screenshots (by @sly111)

Screenshots are incredibly useful for educators wishing to share their iPad screens. We have used this great feature multiple times on this post. You can take a screenshot of ANYTHING that is on your iPad: a website, app, existing photo, etc. Taking a screenshot (a still image of the screen) is quite easy. iOS devices only have two physical buttons (the home and the power buttons). Press and hold both at the same time and you will see your device “blink” and, if it’s not on silent mode, make a camera clicking sound. Your new photo will now be placed in your Camera Roll, where you can send or share it in multiple ways to your students/parents/colleagues etc. Check out some uses of screenshots in this post.

3. How to Enable Speak Selection (by @jonathanwylie)

Did you know your iPad can read text aloud for you? This can be a great support for struggling readers or teachers that work in a special education classroom. To turn on Speak Selection, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection and flip the switch to turn it green. Next, adjust the speaking rate to your preferred speed, and choose whether you want the iPad to highlight words while it reads them, (usually the best choice for teachers).

Speak Selection in iOS 7

To make the iPad read text aloud, you have to select the text you want it to read. This could be in Safari, Notes, iBooks or a number of other apps. Select text by pressing and holding on the first word you want read. Once you see the magnifying glass, let go. Pull the blue bars on either side of the word to select the amount of text you want read, then tap Speak in the black pop-up menu above your selected text.

4. How to use Guided Access (by @jonathanwylie)

Guided Access is great for younger students, special education classrooms, or even when using the iPad at home with your own kids! It locks students on an app of your choice, and will not let them out of it. Turn it on by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access and flipping the switch to turn it green. Next, choose a passcode, and remember it!

To initiate Guided Access, open the app you want and triple click your home button. Check the settings along the bottom of your screen are the ones you want, then tap Start in the top right hand corner. If students press the home button, the power button, or swipe with multitasking gestures, none of those actions will have any effect.

Guided Access in iOS 7

To exit Guided Access, triple click the home button and enter the passcode you set earlier. Then tap End in the top left hand corner of the screen. Forgot the passcode? Press and hold the power and the home button at the same time, and keep them held down until your screen goes black and the Apple logo appears. This restarts your iPad and kicks you out of Guided Access. Just don’t tell your students!

5. How to Set Up Automatic Downloads for App Updates (by @sly111)

An important new feature that will impress most users is Automatic Downloads. With this setting on, people will always have the latest updates for all their apps. I myself (Steve) would rather update them one at a time, in case a good feature is removed, and so I can see exactly what the new features are. However, most people will probably prefer the convenience.

Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store then find Updates in Automatic Downloads. Toggle it to ON (The green will show)

auto app updates in iOS 7
Continue reading “The Top 10 Things Every iPad Teacher Should Know About iPads & iOS 7!”

The Best LMS iPad Solutions for K12 Students and Teachers

With blended and online learning becoming an increasingly popular teaching model for the classroom, more and more teachers are turning to a learning management system (LMS) to help facilitate learning outside of the classroom. Many of these services allow you to access their features on an iPad through a website, but apps are often created for a more user friendly tablet experience. So, here is a roundup to some of the more popular options for teachers using iPads.

canvas

1. Canvas: Infrastructure’s learning management system is designed to be used by all devices. It has an HTML5 website that works very well on the iPad, but if you ever need to add a file, or have a student submit a file as an assignment, you are going to want to turn to the Canvas iOS apps for help.

Canvas has two iPad apps. The first, Canvas for iOS, is designed for quickly checking your course content, looking at the latest announcements, and for uploading files to your Canvas class. The latter is achieved via the Open in another app option that is now commonly found in most of your favorite apps. Canvas has a useful guide for uploading files to the iPad, and you can view that here.

The second Canvas app is the Speed Grader app. With this app you can browse through student submissions, make video, audio and text comments to students, and grade using a point scale or via a rubric that you have previously set up.

Canvas is free for individual teachers to use with a class, but if you want students to have access to multiple courses with the same login and be part of a whole school LMS initiative, then you should really look at the paid version of Canvas that comes with more management features and helps unify the teacher and student accounts under one domain.

edmodo

2. Edmodo: The ever popular Edmodo recently got a makeover to improve the user interface and make it easier to navigate. In the previous version, the Edmodo app looked almost identical to the Edmodo website. Now, the Edmodo app has a more distinct look. It is recognizable and built along the same theme as the website version, but it is not nearly as similar as before. New features are listed here.

Edmodo is not quite as full featured as something like Canvas, but its simplicity and ease of use is hard to ignore. I usually tell teachers it is kind of like a private Facebook, but that may be doing it a disservice, because although it looks similar, it really does a lot more. Notes, polls, quizzes, alerts and assignments can all be created inside Edmodo. Students and teachers can send apps to the Edmodo app and add them to their Library for assignment creation or submission, and this is done in much the same way that that you do in Canvas.

If teachers do find fault with Edmodo, then it is usually the organizational side that frustrates them. It is harder to structure an entire online class with modules, assignments, etc. and keep all of it in one place with some kind of hierarchy. It just doesn’t function that way. There is also no way to create or take a quiz on the iPad app right now, however, you can if you go to Edmodo through Safari or another iPad web browser.

However, in the interests of fairness, Edmodo will tell you quite openly that they do not regard themselves as an LMS. Whether you think that is semantics or not is up to you. At the end of the day it really comes down to what you want to do with your class in an online environment. If Edmodo meets these needs, all the better.

schoology

3. Schoology: The last LMS for iPads that I want to mention is Schoology. With the schools that I work with, Schoology is not as popular as Canvas and Edmodo, but don’t let that put you off, because there are plenty of school districts that are very happy with the Schoology platform.

Schoology is comparable with Canvas in many ways, and offers the same “try before you buy” pricing model. It is free for teachers to create a class for their students, but if you want the benefits of having everything under one umbrella, you will want to look at their Enterprise package.

The Schoology iPad app is a free download, and lets you access many of the features you would expect. Assignments can be created by teachers and submitted by students. Teachers can manage their classroom, create assessments, and grade student assignments with custom rubrics that are later viewed by students.

Schoology is a very structured and organized LMS, much in the same way as Canvas is. Assignments, online discussions, a gradebook and even attendance can be take on the iPad app. Push notifications also alert students to the latest updates that you post to your class. There is also a calendar so that students and teachers can keep track of assignments and future events.

So are you using an LMS in an iPad classroom? If so, which one would you recommend, and why?

5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Lots of people enjoyed my previous post with 5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers, so I decided to follow it up with five MORE quick tips that will help you start the school year in the best possible way with Chromebooks. So, see the presentation below for more Chrome OS tricks.

Tips include…

  1. Taking Chromebook screenshots
  2. How to access your Mac or PC from your Chromebook
  3. Printing with Chromebooks
  4. How to connect your Chromebook to a projector
  5. The Hapara Teacher Dashboard

And, if you haven’t seen it already, you may want to check our a previous presentation I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers. Feel free to leave any tips of your own in the comments below.

What’s New for Schools with the Latest Google Drive Update for iOS?

Google has updated its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch version of Google Drive with a clean new interface and a few new features ahead of the impending introduction of the new iOS 7 operating system for Apple’s mobile devices. So, what’s new and what’s still to come? Let’s find out.

Google Drive iPad App Update

What’s new for educators?

Visually, users will notice an immediate change in the layout and feel of the new Google Drive app. It now mimics many of the features you find on the Android app and you can view your files and folders as a list or a grid. The details panel is all new, and includes an image preview of your file at the top. From this panel, you can now copy the link to any document so that you can paste it into another document, app or email. Finally, there is an update for Google Presentation files. You still cannot create or edit these files, but there is a new viewer complete with speaker notes, a slide sorter view, and a true full screen mode.

Google Drive for iOS

What teachers still need

We badly need  support for tables. Why has this taken so long? Android users have it, but iOS users can’t view or edit tables and this can be a major inconvenience. I’d also love to see more sharing options. Why can’t we share documents as “anyone with the link”? Better still, why can’t Google Apps for Education users have domain sharing options to share files with everyone in their organization? And what about Google Presentations or Google Forms? Can we expect to see those added any time soon?

Conclusion

Overall, I love the update. I like the cleaner look, the ability to copy links and the nice new viewer for Presentations, but Google Apps for Education users will continue to seek further updates to increase efficiency with Drive on the iPad in the classroom. Let’s hope that comes sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, be sure to check out my guide to a Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app. It has been updated to include screenshots from the latest version of the Drive app.