The Apple Adapter Classroom Gear Guide

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If you use an Apple device, you are probably increasingly used to using dongles, adapters or whatever else you want to call them. They give you the functionality that Apple doesn’t natively include because of design constraints or a forward thinking approach to new technologies. However, there are dozens of Apple adapters available, and it can be hard to know which ones are the right ones for a given situation. This edtech gear guide was written to help remedy that problem.

The adapters below are ordered by price (from low to high) and include a number of likely scenarios for when you would want to use each one. Official Apple adapters will usually work best and these can be purchased in a number of different places, but third-party versions are available too. The list below is not an exhaustive list, but it does include the most commonly used dongles and adapters for use in Apple classrooms. Whenever possible, links are included to the official Apple product.


I want to… connect headphones to an iPhone 7 or multiple sets to an iPad/iPod Touch.

You need: Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter (Apple price: $9)

More information: This dongle lets you plug 3.5mm headphones into the iPhone 7, (a device that has no traditional headphone jack), however, it can be used with any iOS 10 device that has a lightning port. It can be used to add an extra headphone jack to iPads and iPod Touches, but a dual headphone splitter, or a multi-headphone splitter, would be cheaper (or more efficient) in the long run.


I want to… plug a traditional USB device into a new Apple MacBook.

You need: USB-C to USB Adapter (Apple price: $9)

More information: If you own one of the newer MacBook laptops, you will be missing standard USB ports to plug in Bluetooth mice, a SMART board, or other USB accessories. This adapter restores that ability.


I want to… connect my new MacBook to the internet with an Ethernet cable.

You need: Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (Apple price: $26)

More information: The Ethernet port has been missing on MacBooks for some time now. This adapter is for MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro users who want to connect to the internet with a wired connection.


I want to… connect my older MacBook to the internet with an Ethernet cable.

You need: Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (Apple price: $29)

More information: This is the same adapter as the one above, but it works with older MacBooks that don’t have the USB-C inputs by converting a Thunderbolt port to an Ethernet port. You can also use the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter or the Belkin USB Gigabit Ethernet Adapter that comes with 3 integrated USB 3.0 ports.


I want to… connect USB devices to my iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

You need: Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (Apple price: $29)

More information: The Lightning to USB Camera Adapter was designed to help you transfer photos and videos from a digital camera to an iOS device. However, this handy dongle also allows you to connect a USB microphone for better audio recording, a USB keyboard for better typing, and some other low power USB accessories. It’s a handy adapter to have because of how flexible it is. You can’t use it for all your USB devices, (a mouse and a flash drive will not work), but it’s compatible with more than you think.


I want to… connect my older MacBook to a VGA projector or external monitor.

You need: Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (Apple price: $29)

More information: The majority of projectors used in schools today seem to have a VGA connection. A VGA connector is the trapezoid shaped port with pins on the male side and holes on the female side. This adapter lets you use a VGA cable with your MacBook so you can connect it to a projector, monitor or TV that has VGA connectors.


I want to… connect my new MacBook to a VGA projector or external monitor.

You need: Belkin USB-C to VGA Adapter (Apple price: $29)

More information: This dongle lets you continue to use a VGA projector with the newest MacBooks by converting one of your USB-C ports into a VGA connector.


I want to… connect my iPad 2 or 3 to a VGA projector or external monitor.

You need: Apple 30-pin to VGA Adapter (Apple price: $29)

More information: Many schools still have some iPad 2s in circulation. If you are looking to connect one of these to a a projector, monitor or TV that has VGA connectors, then this is the adapter you need.


I want to… connect my iPad 2 or 3 to an HDMI projector or external monitor.

You need: Apple 30-pin Digital AV Adapter (Apple price: $39)

More information: Displaying an iPad 2 on an HDTV or HDMI projector can be achieved with the aid of this (pricey) adapter. It includes a secondary 30-pin port that allows you to charge your device while displaying it on an external screen. Consider using it to show a looping slideshow on TVs that are mounted on walls around your school.


I want to… connect my iPad 4 (or later) to an VGA projector or external monitor.

You need: Lightning to VGA Adapter (Apple price: $49)

More information: Another pricey adapter but a must have if you want to show your iPad on a SMART Board, projector or TV via a VGA cable. Needs no wifi access and is generally very reliable. Includes a lightning port to let you charge your device while it is on screen.


I want to… connect my iPad 4 (or later) to an HDMI projector or external monitor.

You need: Lightning Digital AV Adapter (Apple price: $49)

More information: This is the HDMI version of the adapter above. It works in exactly the same way, but connects to HDMI devices as opposed to VGA. Also includes a lightning port for charging while your iOS device is displayed on screen.


I want to… connect my Apple TV to a VGA projector or external monitor.

You need: Kanex ATV Pro X HDMI to VGA Adapter with Audio Support or the Kanex HDMI to VGA Adapter with Audio for Apple TV 4th generation (Apple price: $49.95-59.95)

More information: The Apple TV only comes with an HDMI output, so if you want to connect it to a VGA projector or a TV or Monitor that has a VGA connections, then you need one of these adapters. The Kanex ATV Pro X HDMI to VGA Adapter works for 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs while the Kanex HDMI to VGA Adapter with Audio for Apple TV is designed to work with the newer 4th generation Apple TVs.


Need more help?

Unsure which dongle or adapter you need? Want to double check that you picked the right one? Leave a comment below, or drop me an email via the contact page, and include as much information about what you are trying to achieve and the devices you want to do it with. If there is an adapter out there that fills that need, I’ll tell you what it is, and where you can buy it.

Note that some Apple adapters are currently on a limited sale until April 1, 2017.

One Best Thing: Free Lesson Ideas for Apple Classrooms

one best thing ibooks

While going through some of my curated articles in Pocket the other day, I came across a link to an iBook created by Dan Goble called Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots: Enhancing Writing Through Multimedia. In it, Don outlines a creative digital storytelling exercise that combines film making skills with the power of language to compile a six shot, six-word story.

So, impressed with what I had read, I shared it on social media and in my iPadography for Educators Google+ Community. Before too long, I received a message from Cyndi Danner-Kuhn telling me that this is actually part of a larger series of iBooks from Apple Distinguished Educators called One Best Thing.

one best thing ibooks

The books are on all kinds of curricular topics. Each one represents a lesson or unit that highlights an innovative use of (Apple) technologies, and readers are encouraged to use any of the ideas they see in their own classrooms as a way to improve teaching and learning with technology.

Some highlights include Don’t Create a Book, Create a Field Trip, by Sean Junkins. I saw Sean give a presentation on how he created this project at ISTE in 2013 and was impressed by his take on how to build engaging, interactive textbooks with iBooks Author. I also enjoyed Photographing History: Archiving With Apps by Cheryl Davis where she describes how to empower students as historians on a quest to archive the secrets of the past with multimedia evidence they capture in the present.

photographing history by cheryl davis

Each of the One Best Thing iBooks are freely available in the iBooks Store. They are short, practical, and creative ways to use technology in the classroom. So, if you are using Macs or iPads with your students and are looking for some new ideas on how to integrate technology into your existing curriculum, you should take a look to see what is on offer. You can find all the books in this series by searching for One Best Thing in the iBooks Store on a Mac or iOS device.

15 Engaging and Creative Ways to Use iPads in a K-12 Classroom

If you are looking for unique and innovative ways to use the iPad in your classroom, then you have come to the right place. In this post I teamed up with Stephen Lai and Meg Wilson to bring you 15 ideas that will help you think outside the box and bring new levels of creativity to your iPad classroom.

1. Use your iPad as a document camera! – @jonathanwylie

With the Stage Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera app, and the help of a dedicated, or DIY, mount you can easily use your iPad as a document camera. Better still, you can annotate over anything you set under the camera, and even record what you show. Got another $10? Make your own microscope attachment for up to x175 magnification! It is a great way to use iPads in the classroom.

Stage Interactive iPad app

2. Review academic topics! – @sly111

Quizlet is a completely free app that allows you to create flashcards for your students. Interactive games can also be done on the web. Project them over Airplay for a great review opportunity as a class! An optional Teacher account with extra features is available. Students can also practice individually at home for review for upcoming tests. You do not necessarily need the app, as it is a web-based service as well. Run it on your browser.

3. Collaborate with other classrooms! – @iPodsibilities

We should never let our students think that their classroom is just the four walls around them. It is essential that students know that the world is their classroom, and the iPad is a great way for students to connect and collaborate with students anywhere in the world. Whether students video conference with FaceTime or Skype (both free) to discuss a book in they read together in Subtext (a social reading app), or to do a Mystery Skype, the iPad opens doors to collaborative learning experiences for students of all ages.

4. Create a special effects movie!  – @jonathanwylie

One of my favorite new apps is the Doink green screen app. Recreate your favorite Sci-Fi movies or your own mini blockbuster with the aid of a green sheet and this innovative app. Film your scene in front of a green screen, then layer your background on top if it to create an awesome special effect! Export your video to the Camera Roll and it is ready to be edited further or combined with more clips in iMovie. You might also want to take a look at the Action Movie FX app.

green screen app

5. Use your iPad as a “game show” style soundboard! – @sly111

Play review games (with the aide of technology or without) and use special sound effects in your classroom using iPad apps such as the Game Show Sound Board. Younger students will love these special audio effects.

Continue reading “15 Engaging and Creative Ways to Use iPads in a K-12 Classroom”

What’s New in iWork for iCloud for Apple Classrooms?

Hot on the heels of the recent updates to iOS versions of iWork and iLife, Apple have today announced some new features for their iWork for iCloud suite of online productivity tools. Recently I wrote about how educators could share and collaborate in iWork for iCloud, but as useful as this was, there were still some areas where you would hope for some improvement. Today, Apple addressed some of those issues.

iwork for icloud

The biggest changes are in relation to collaboration on documents. You can now see who is collaborating on a document with you, and where they are in the document. You can also jump to where a collaborator is in the document by clicking on their name in the collaborator list. In addition, printing and folder support has been added. 

Of course, Google has had these features for a while now, but Apple’s willingness to play catch up is clearly evident and hopefully a sign that they are looking to match or better the best that Google has to offer. A full list of changes can be seen below:

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud beta:

  • Collaborator list: View the list of collaborators currently in a document.
  • Collaborator cursor: See cursors and selections for everyone in a document.
  • Jump to collaborator: Instantly jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking their name in the collaborator list.
  • Collaboration animation: Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around.
  • Printing: Print your documents directly from the Tools menu.
  • Folders: Organize your documents in folders.

Numbers for iCloud beta:

  • Reorder sheets: Change the order of the sheets in your spreadsheet, right in your browser.
  • Links: Create links using the HYPERLINK function.

Keynote for iCloud beta:

  • Skip slides: Right-click any slide in the navigator to skip it during playback.

 

Source: Apple via Engadget

The Best Free K-12 iPad Apps You Might Never Have Heard Of!

Looking for some new iPad apps to use in your classroom this year? New apps are released every week, but which ones are really worth your time? Which ones could truly push the boundaries of teaching and learning in your classroom? Sometime I am surprised at what apps people have not discovered yet, but often I am equally surprised at what I see other teachers using.  So here is a quick rundown of the best free K-12 iPad apps you might never have heard of!

StageTellagamiOur StoryToDo MathThinglink

Stage Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera – While it may win the prize for the longest app title in the App Store, it is also a genuinely useful app that helps add yet another useful feature to your iPad. It turns it into a document camera, complete with annotation tools for your to mark up objects over a live view camera. The app is free, but there is an optional $1.99 in-app purchase if you would like to record your live session as a video.

Tellagami – If you haven’t tried Tellagami yet, you have got to give this free app a try. It lets you create a Voki-esque talking avatar video. Videos are limited to 30 seconds, but are highly customizable. You can type the text for your audio and have it read by a voice of your choice, or use your own voice. Backgrounds, facial expressions, and gender can also be changed. Videos can be saved to the camera roll for use later in apps like iMovie.

Our Story (for iPad) – This excellent digital storytelling app is simple to use and easy to achieve great results with. Created by the Open University, it allows you to add photos from your camera roll and add text and/or audio to them. It’s perfect for elementary teachers who are looking to introduce their students to digital storytelling for the first time. A good alternative app here is 30 Hands.

ToDo K-2 Math Practice – With activities that are aligned with Common Core State Standards, ToDo Math may be a great option for early years teachers looking to help their student practice some basic math facts. Skills include counting, writing numerals, addition and subtraction, but it has some nice additional touches. For instance, at the end of each level, students are also asked as to whether the questions were too easy, just right, or too hard, and subsequent questions are then adjusted accordingly depending on how they answer.

Thinglink – Welcome to the future of images, proclaim Thinglink, and I think they might be right! With Thinglink, you can add interactive elements to a picture. Web links, YouTube videos, camera roll videos, and text can all be hidden under hotspot targets on an image so that students can give multimedia description of their images.

showbieTouchCastDuolingoMoldivCargo-bot

Showbie – Still struggling with getting student assignments from their iPad to yours? Revolutionize your iPad workflow with Showbie, a (mostly) free service that was built for just that purpose. It is slick, easy to manage, and works  effortlessly. It’s the kind of app that Apple should have built for teachers a long time ago, but they didn’t. It can be used at all grade levels because students do not need an email address to sign up.

TouchCast – With Thinglink, you add interactive elements over a picture. With TouchCast, you add interactive elements over a video! They are called vApps, or video apps, and include the likes of Twitter feeds, web pages, photos, news tickers, polls and more. You can also add filters to your video or experiment with the green screen effect. TouchCasts are shared online.

Duolingo – Looking to introduce a second language to your students? Duolingo might be a good place to start. This popular app starts with the basics, but soon has you translating more and more difficult texts. It might not replace Rosetta Stone yet, but it has a clean, fresh look, and includes gamification elements to boot. Most importantly, it makes learning fun. With Duolingo you can learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

Moldiv – This photo collage editor may have in-app purchases, but it offers so much for free that you may as well forget that they are there. Choose from around 80 frame layouts for your photos, and add stylish fonts or labels to your collage. You can change the background color of your collage and even adjust the spacing, margins and roundness of your collage corners. Finished collages can be saved back to the camera roll or send to other apps for sharing or further edits.

Cargo-bot – Interested in teaching your students about programming, but not sure where to start? Cargo-bot may be just what you need. The premise is simple. Move crates from one side of the screen to the other. The execution, however, is less simple. It starts off easy with some in-app prompts, but soon gets more complicated and requires you to think like a programmer to complete your task in hand. Alternative free programming apps include Hopscotch and Daisy the Dinosaur.

Is your favorite on this list? Do you have an app which you like that most teachers don’t know about it? Feel free to share your comments below.

iWork for iCloud Beta: Hands on With Apple’s Answer to Google Drive

iCloud Home

This week I got an email from Apple inviting me to try out the Beta version of iWork for iCloud. I was keen to see how useful this could be for educators in the classroom, and whether or not it could be a serious contender to my current favorite online productivity suite – Google Drive. So, I logged in to iCloud with Chrome on my Mac and there they were – Pages, Numbers and Keynote – complete with all the documents I had created on my Mac and iPads.

Keynote Slide

The interface is familiar, yet different. The menus are a hybrid of the desktop and iOS version of iWork, but they are intuitive enough that you can almost always find what you are looking for without too much trouble. You won’t find all the features you are used to in the desktop (or even iOS) versions, but more functionality will doubtless come in time, and most of the essentials are included in the beta version.

iWork for iCloud runs on Mac or PC and is compatible with the latest versions of Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. For some reason, Firefox is not a supported browser right now, but if you click past the warning messages it does seem to run as you would expect it to in other browsers, so it will likely be supported once it leaves the beta stage of development. iWork for iCloud is an HTML5 environment which Firefox is obviously more than capable of running.

Syncing has worked great, but I have never really had a problem in the past moving between documents on my iPad and my Mac, so that didn’t surprise me too much. Changes made on the web, my Mac, and my iPad were all quickly synced to the other devices.

Pages

Does it beat Google Drive? Not yet, for me at least. iWork for iCloud works well, but right now it still lacks some collaboration and sharing options that I have come to enjoy with Google. For instance, real-time collaboration can be a great boon for teachers and students, as can the ability to leave comments on a document. There are no signs of either appearing in iWork any time soon. That said, the ability to share a link to your document is listed as “coming soon” so the potential for improvements in this area does exist.

Numbers

If you are curious to check out more about what iWork for iCloud can and can’t do, you can check out the newly created Apple online help guides, even if you don’t have access to the Beta program at this time. The links for those are below:

UPDATE: Another important support page to read is Opening iWork for iOS and iWork ’09 documents in iWork for iCloud Beta. This gives more information on what to do if you try to open a document that has features that are unsupported in the current version of iWork for iCloud. Thanks to Kathy Schrock for the heads up on this one.

Have you been playing with the new iWork for iCloud Beta? What do you most like about it and how do you think it could fit into your classroom workflow?

Not an ADE Today? Carry On!

The Apple Distinguished Educator Program

Today, Apple contacted hundreds, if not thousands, of educators who applied for the North American Apple Distinguished Educator program. 75 were chosen to be a part of this elite group, but the majority were left disappointed, and face a two-year wait before they can try again.

To those that were unsuccessful, I say take heart. You applied for the program because of a passion for learning, creativity, and innovation. You applied for this program because you were proud of your achievements in education. You applied for the program to challenge yourself and network with the best. None of that needs to change. Carry on.

Being recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator is high praise indeed, but even if I don’t know you personally, I’d wager that you were already distinguished and well regarded for what you do. I saw countless ADE videos that were shared by candidates on Twitter, and around the web, and each was as inspiring as the next. North America’s Got Talent! Our schools and colleges need this talent. Carry on.

Your enthusiasm for teaching and technology will not wither overnight. The students and teachers you work with will continue to benefit from your knowledge and experience, and your stature in the education community will remain undiminished. You will still meet great educators that will challenge your thinking or inspire you to great heights, and the opportunity to share and showcase your talents will come again soon. Carry on.

So, if like me, you did not get the answer you were hoping for today, know that education is still better because of you. Know that you still make a difference in the classroom. Know that your imagination and invention is valued, and revered. Carry on.

Apple Configurator and VPP Resource Links

I recently attended an Apple workshop on using Apple Configurator and managing a Volume Purchase Program in schools. I am doing both already, but I i picked up a few useful tips. Participants were also sent some links to Apple resources on both Configurator and the VPP, and I don’t think that some of them are all that well known, so I am listing those below for anyone that might be interested.

Another useful thing I found recently was the US phone number for the Apple Enterprise team, who have been very helpful answering questions I had on problems with Apple Configurator. You can call them on 1-866-752-7753. I can’t say enough good things about the people I have dealt with in that team, so I am sure they could be a great resource too.

I realize that these may be a little technical for some people, but please forward them to your IT team to let them take a look at all that Apple has to support educators in the classroom with iOS devices.